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Business News

NSE fines 38 firms N429.5 million over 52 offences

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Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE lifts suspension on Lasaco Assurance, NSE suspend companies, NSE lift suspension, NSE lift suspension on Conoil, Conoil and SEC, Ellah Lakes appoints new Managing Director, Ellah Lakes appoints Chuka Mordi, Ellah Lakes acquires Telluria Limited, Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE, NSE X Compliance report, Great Nigeria Insurance, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Delisting, VAT

No fewer than 38 firms will pay a fine totalling N429.5 million. The fine was imposed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) over the firms’ failure to file their financial statements as of when due last year.

According to a recent report from the bourse, the fine was slammed on the firms for 52 offences at different times.

The NSE, in its X-Compliance Report, said the sanctions were applied in accordance with the exchange’s rules for the filing of accounts and treatment of default filing.

Amongst the erring firms are Unity Bank Plc, FTN Cocoa Processors Plc, Academy Press Plc, Union Dicon Salt Plc and Standard Alliance Insurance Plc.

Unity Bank got the highest fine of N79.7 million, while FTN Cocoa Processors was slammed with a fine of N78.7 million. Unity Bank and FTN Cocoa Processors were penalised for failing to file their audited financial statements for 2017, the first quarter of 2018, half-year 2018 and the third quarter of 2018.

Academy Press was fined N35 million for failure to submit its audited 2017 financial statement at the due date.

Union Dicon got the fourth highest fine of N30.8 million for late submission of its first quarter and half-year 2018 financial statements.

Standard Alliance was fined N28.7 million for failure to file its audited financial reports for 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.

Recall that the NSE had threatened to sanction 28 companies for failing to meet post-listing requirements. This included defaults in the timely release of operational reports and financial statements.

The defaulting firms include Unity Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc, Staco Insurance Plc, African Alliance Insurance Plc, Goldlink Insurance Plc, UNIC Insurance Plc, International Energy Insurance, Aso Savings & Loans Plc, Resort Savings & Loans, Union Homes Savings & Loans Plc, Deap Capital Management & Trust Plc, R.T Briscoe Plc, Smart Products Nigeria Plc, Afromedia Plc, Roads Nigeria Plc, Nigerian German Chemical Plc, Thomas Wyatt Nigeria Plc, Golden Guinea Breweries Plc, Anino International Plc, Juli Plc, Ekocorp Plc, Union Dicon Salt Plc, FTN Cocoa Processors Plc, Evans Medical Plc, Omatek Ventures Plc, and Dn Tyre & Rubber Plc.

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Financial Services

Ratings agency, Moody’s reveals it is reviewing First Bank’s ratings

Moody’s explained why it might downgrade First Bank’s ratings.

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Moody’s Ratings agency said on Thursday that it has put First Bank of Nigeria on review for a downgrade after the central bank sacked the board of directors and replaced them with new directors.

Moody’s made this statement in a report titled ‘Removal of Non-Executive Board Members Highlights Governance Shortcomings.’

In a quote, Moody’s said:

“Moody’s Investors Service, (“Moody’s”) has today placed all long-term ratings and assessments of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (First Bank) on review for downgrade. The review will focus primarily on an assessment of evolving governance considerations at First Bank, specifically corporate governance developments. The rating action follows the dissolution of First Bank’s board by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the bank’s primary regulator, on 29 April 2021. As a result of this action by the CBN, all the non-executive directors were removed while the executive management remained in place.”

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had last week announced the sack of the entire board of directors of FBN Holdings Plc and its subsidiary, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd following the initial removal of its MD/CEO Dr Sola Adeduntan. Following his sacking of the board, he set up a new board for the bank holding company and its subsidiary and also reinstated Adeduntan as MD/CEO.

Moody’s mentioned that the regulatory actions demanded of First Bank by the CBN introduces a clould of uncertainty over the outlook of the bank. For example, the CBN had asked the bank to divest from its holdings in two listed companies while also recovering its loans from one of them.

“The review for possible downgrade reflects the rating agency’s view that the removal of all non-executive directors of the bank’s board by the regulator demonstrates corporate governance shortcomings and weaknesses in board oversight. The bank also needs to implement regulatory directives concerning the resolutions of loans to, and shareholding in non-banking related parties, which reportedly had not been executed in the recent past.

Moody’s notes that the outcomes of these developments are uncertain at this point, and the final and long-term governance, reputational and financial implications of the events for First Bank are also unclear.”

The central bank directive sacking the board of the bank also retained its executive management perhaps suggesting that the CBN had confidence in the ability of the MD and his team to manage the bank. Moody’s also noted this in its briefing.

“While the bank’s executive management team remained the same, the rating agency believes these developments could distract management’s focus on implementing the bank’s strategic plan and road to recovery. First Bank management’s immediate key target was to reduce nonperforming loans (NPLs) to levels comparable with domestic peers. The rating agency recognises that, in the context of asset risks, the bank took steps to reduce its stock of problem loans, with its reported NPL ratio falling to 7.7% at year-end 2020 from 25.9% in 2018.”

Will Moody’s downgrade First Bank?

The rating agency explained that the decision to downgrade will depend on how strong the bank’s corporate governance structure is and whether the CBN will impose additional sanctions. If any of these crystallizes, it could downgrade its ratings.

“The bank’s long-term deposit ratings can be downgraded if flaws in the bank’s governance systems exist, and if the CBN imposes additional sanctions on the bank, including, but not limited to, conditions to address any vulnerabilities that may be discovered. Financial output that is less than anticipated could also result in a rating downgrade.”

Moody’s, however, poured water on any optimism around a rating upgrade.

Given the review for downgrade and the pessimistic outlook on the government of Nigeria, there is a slim chance that First Bank’s ratings will be upgraded. Stronger solvency progress than currently reflected in the ratings, combined with a stabilization of the sovereign outlook, could result in the outlook being stabilized.

Why is rating important?

Corporate Organizations desire positive ratings because of the effect it has on their ability to raise capital as well as the cost of capital. A high credit rating typically attracts positive investor sentiments helping organizations tap the debt and equity markets, especially from institutional investors.

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Spotlight Stories

Tip Jar, Twitter’s new giveaway feature that lets users send money to you

Twitter has introduced a new feature called Tip Jar that allows you send money to your favourite tweeters.

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US Elections: Twitter, Facebook suspend several news accounts

Twitter has introduced a new feature called Tip Jar that allows you send money to your favourite tweeters.

According to the blog post, “Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money.”

The new feature utilizes different payment platforms like PayPal, Venmo, Patreon, CashApp, and others.

Users can link their Twitter accounts with Tip Jar to any of these payment providers. Twitter takes no cut.

READ: Facebook is creating an audio chat product similar to Clubhouse

You’ll know an account’s Tip Jar is enabled if you see a Tip Jar icon next to the Follow button on their profile page. Tap the icon, and you’ll see a list of payment services or platforms that the account has enabled. Select whichever payment service or platform you prefer and you’ll be taken off Twitter to the selected app where you can show your support in the amount you choose.

Twitter has released series of features this year as part of its efforts to grow Twitter’s user base to 315 million daily active users by the end of 2023.

The company also launched Twitter crop where images don’t get crop again on Twitter for Android or iOS. Standard aspect ratio images (16:9 and 4:3) will now display in full without any cropping and images will look just like they did when you shot them.

Hotflex

READ: Does YouTube stand a chance against TikTok?

Lauren Alexander, a Twitter spokesperson said, “Today’s launch is a direct result of the feedback people shared with us last year that the way our algorithm cropped images wasn’t equitable, The new way of presenting images decreases the platform’s reliance on automatic, machine learning-based image cropping.”

Twitter has tested several features and more will be rolled out soon.

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