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Mines Secures $13M Series A to Grow Digital Credit Platform for Emerging Markets

Mines is a robust platform used to construct and power consumer-facing digital credit products.

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Mines, a fintech startup re-inventing credit in emerging markets, has closed a Series A round of $13M led by The Rise Fund, a global fund managed by TPG Growth. Also participating are Velocity Capital, Western Technology Investments, First Ally Capital, X/Seed Capital, NYCA Partners, Persistent Capital, Singularity Investments, Trans Sahara Investments, and the Bank of Industry. Mines plans to use its investment for talent acquisition, continued growth in Africa, and expansion to South America and South-East Asia.

Mines provides a Credit-as-a-Service digital platform that enables institutions in emerging markets to offer credit products to their customers; no smartphone is required. Leveraging their own data sets, domestic institutions are able to serve loans to customers ignored by available credit systems and open up entirely new revenue opportunities.

“There are more than 3 billion adults globally without access to credit. Our vision is that every one of them will have instant access to credit in the next 10 years.” explains Ekechi Nwokah, Mines CEO. “We believe the best way to realize this vision is to partner with banks, retailers and mobile operators and power digital credit products tailored to their markets so they can create the customers of tomorrow, today.”

LR: Adia Sowho, Ekechi Nwokah, Kunle Olukotun

By mining high-volume data like phone records, bank records, and payment transactions in real-time, Mines can instantly assess credit risk in markets that lack robust credit bureau infrastructure. It then integrates its risk models with identity, origination, payments, loan lifecycle management, and customer service to form a holistic platform. The net result is a seamless user experience where partners’ customers can apply for and receive a loan in less than 60 seconds or make instant purchases with virtual or physical credit cards.

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The company has hardened its proprietary technology in Nigeria where it has been used by over 1 million customers since launching in 2017. It is now the leading provider of consumer credit in the country, counting mobile operators 9mobile and Airtel, payment processors Interswitch and NIBSS, along with several banks amongst its partners. “What we have done differently is take Silicon Valley technology and built it into a product that is robust enough for emerging markets like Nigeria, Brazil, or Indonesia”, says Chief Scientist Kunle Olukotun. “We can extend credit to all types of customers, including customers without smartphones or even bank accounts as these are the people who need credit the most.”

As part of the financing, Yemi Lalude from TPG Growth and Willem Willemstein from Velocity Capital have joined Mines’ Board of Directors. Lalude says, “Mines combines world-class artificial intelligence and extensive use of data with a strong focus on local partnerships to build financial inclusion. We are excited to partner with them to drive financial access across the world.”

Mines started out as a research project on high performance artificial intelligence led by Olukotun, a professor of computer engineering at Stanford University. It came to life after a chance meeting with Nwokah, a computer scientist working on big data projects at Amazon Web Services, after which they teamed up to direct the technology towards solving the grand challenge of financial access. Both founders grew up in Africa and understand the challenges facing technology companies trying to solve problems in emerging markets without a deep respect for the complexities of local culture, knowing they need to take a different approach. They have been joined by VP Commercial Adia Sowho, who has successfully scaled several digital financial services at one of Nigeria’s largest mobile operators, to grow the business.

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Sowho says “Scaling a digital product in Africa requires a deep understanding of two things – distribution and partnerships.  In Nigeria, Mines has demonstrated that its platform is flexible enough to enable partners with consumer reach across the income pyramid, activate a wide swath of distribution channels, from rudimentary USSD to more advanced web-based ones. We look forward to building more partnerships in Nigeria and beyond”.

About Mines

Founded in 2014, Mines is a robust platform used to construct and power consumer-facing digital credit products that engage the world’s population currently underserved by formal financial services. The platform includes components such as APIs, frameworks, consumer insights tools and expertise on best practices that local enterprise partners can use to build transformative credit products for their own markets. Mines has offices in San Mateo, CA and Lagos, Nigeria.

About The Rise Fund

The Rise Fund is the world’s largest global fund committed to achieving measurable, positive social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns — what we call  “complete returns.” The Rise Fund is managed by TPG Growth, the global growth equity and middle market buyout platform of alternative asset firm TPG. The Rise Fund is led by a group of influential thought leaders with a deep personal and professional commitment to driving social and environmental progress. The Rise Fund invests in education, energy, food and agriculture, financial services,  growth infrastructure, healthcare, and technology, media, and telecommunications companies that deliver complete returns.

NM Partners represent articles published in paid partnerships with corporate organisations. They include press releases, targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications on behalf of our Paid Partners.

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Companies

Fidelity Bank to raise N50 billion in bonds in Q4 to refinance existing debts

The new issue will be made to redeem the existing N30 billion bond which was issued at 16.48%.

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Fidelity Bank Plc ,CEO Nnamdi Okonkwo, Fidelity Bank Plc growth plan, SMEs funding

One of Nigeria’s second-tier commercial banks, Fidelity Bank Plc, has concluded plans to issue up to N50 billion ($131.3 million) in local bonds by the fourth quarter of 2020, in order to refinance existing debts as the yields drop.

The disclosure was made by the Chief Operations and Information Officer, Gbolahan Joshua, during an analyst call on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

The crash of crude oil price globally, which was triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic, has led to a decline in bond yields on the local debt market. This has made foreign investors to dump their local assets, leaving excess liquidity in the money market. This has also put a lot of pressure on the foreign exchange market as they look for dollars to repatriate their funds.

READ: Guinness Nigeria finding it hard to refinance its loans due to dollar scarcity

The Fidelity Bank top executive disclosed that the new issue will be made to redeem the existing N30 billion bond which was issued at 16.48%.

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The global economic situation has seen yields in the debt market drop from as high as 18% about 3 years ago to less than 5% for the one-year treasury bill.

READ: GTBank, Zenith Bank, UBA record losses, investors down by N12.2 billion

Fidelity Bank had revealed that it expected to see a 15% drop in profit this year when compared to 2019 result due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its profit after tax increased by 21.9% to N12 billion for the half-year 2020.

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The second-tier bank also disclosed that its income declined in the second quarter due to a downward review of lending rates on loans as a result of the economic downturn.

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Companies

Heineken buys more units of Nigerian Breweries Plc

The Dutch firm has invested N276 million in NB since August, to increase its stake in the Brewer by 0.10%.

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Heineken scoops more Nigerian Breweries shares in insider disclosure

The major shareholder of the largest brewer in Nigeria, Heineken Brouwerijen B.V, has increased its stake in Nigerian Breweries, with the purchase of 233,110 additional units of Nigerian Breweries shares. This was disclosed by the company in a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which was seen by Nairametrics.

According to the notification, which was signed by the Company’s Secretary, Uaboi G. Agbebaku, the purchase was made on the bourse over two transactions on the 2nd and 3rd of September.

This disclosure is a regulatory requirement that must be reported to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially when a major shareholder or director of a publicly quoted company purchases shares in the company they own.

READ: GTBank revenue for H1, 2020 rises to N225.14 billion

The analysis of these transactions indicates that the purchase consideration for the 233,110 additional units of Nigeria Breweries shares at an average price of N39.94 is put at N9.3 million.

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This purchase and previous purchases further cement Heineken Brouwerijen B.V’s status as a major shareholder; the company has accumulated a total of 7,720,236 since 30th June.

READ: Vitafoam’s 2020 oncourse to make light–work of 2019

As of June 30th, when Nigerian Breweries released its Half-year financial results and reviewed its shareholding pattern, the company had exactly 7,996,902,051 outstanding shares, with Heineken Brouwerijen B.V being the majority shareholder with 3,019,363,804 units, which amount to 37.76% of the total shares of the company outstanding. 

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Hence, with the current purchase of 233,110 additional units, and previous purchases in August and September 1, which amount to 7,487,126 units, Heineken’s ownership percentage of Nigeria Breweries is now put at 37.85%.

Insider transactions, both sales and purchases, are often an indication of how shareholders perceive a company’s valuation. It could also mean a possible capital raise or that the majority shareholders are strengthening their existing holdings.

READ: Heineken scoops more Nigerian Breweries shares in insider disclosure

In like manners, the purchase of the shares of Nigerian Breweries by Heineken and other majority shareholder has mopped up stray volumes on the bourse, and pushed the stock price higher by 29% or N9, from N31 it closed at on the 3rd of August to its current value of N40 with 38.2x earnings.

About the company

Nigerian breweries is the largest brewing company in Nigeria. It engages in the brewing and marketing of lager beer, stout and non-alcoholic malt drinks, and the bottling of the Schweppes range of soft drinks and Crush Orange. Its brands include Star, Gulder, Legend, Heineken, Maltina, Amstel Malta, Fayrouz, Climax, Goldberg, Malta Gold, and Life. These products are mainly sold in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.

READ: Flour Mills and its diverse challenges

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Key takes on NB’s financials

Nigerian Breweries was affected by the disruption in the global and domestic demand and supply chain, as profit after tax of the largest brewer dropped by as much as 58%, at the back of the adverse impact of the sharp contraction in economic activities.

The knock-on effect of the COVID-19 lockdown, which affected the trade segment of the business, affected the company sales and this triggered the 11% drop in revenue in the first half of the year.

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Companies

Nestle’s parent company increases stakes in Nestle Nigeria in August

The purchase consideration for the 748,047 additional shares at an average price of N1,174.74 is put at N878.8 million. 

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Nestle releases FY financial statement for 2019, proposes huge dividend, Nestlé S.A buys additional shares of Nestlé Nigeria worth N287 million

Nestle S.A, Switzerland, the parent company of Nestle Nigeria Plc and the majority shareholder of the company, has increased its stake in the Nigerian subsidiary, as it purchased about 748,047 additional shares in August.

This was disclosed by the company in a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which is seen by Nairametrics.

According to the document, which was signed by the Company’s Secretary, Bode Ayeku, the purchase was made on the bourse over two transactions on 20th and 26th of August. 

This disclosure is a regulatory requirement which must be reported to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially when a major shareholder or director of a publicly quoted company purchases shares in the company they own.

The analysis of this development shows that the purchase consideration for the 748,047 additional shares at an average price of N1,174.74 is put at N878.8 million. 

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Importantly, this purchase increases the ownership percentage of Nestle S.A, this adds significantly to the multinational’s investment in the company as the parent company now owns 66.27% of Nestle Nigeria Plc.

The 66.27% ownership share of Nestle S.A. total amounts to 525, 307, 504 ordinary shares worth N617 billion out of the 792, 656, 252 shares outstanding.

Meanwhile, insiders’ transactions both sales and purchases are often an indication of how shareholders perceive the company’s valuation. It could also mean a possible capital raise or the majority shareholders strengthening their existing holdings.

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About the company

Nestlé Nigeria PLC is one of the largest food and beverage companies in Africa. Nestlé Nigeria Plc engages in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of food products including purified water. It also exports some of its products to other countries within Africa.

It has three product segments: Food, Beverages and seasoning. The Food segment engages in the production and sale of Cerelac, Nutrend, Nan, Lactogen and Golden Morn. The Beverages segment engages in the production and sale of Milo, Chocomilo, Nido, Nescafe and Nestlé Pure Life. While the seasoning segment engages in the sale of Maggi cubes.

Key takes on Nestle financials

Nairametrics had earlier published after perusing through the company’s half-year unaudited financial report that the increase in the cost of sales, Administrative expenses, low finance income coupled with high costs coloured the bottom line of the company as earnings per share dipped from N33.11 to N27.53.

This shows the knock-on-effect of the pandemic on a giant like Nestle, despite grappling hard to keep revenues flat year on year, the increase in key costs still ebbed earnings. 

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