Stocks to watch this week comprises the top gainers and losers of the prior week, as well as companies having corporate actions.
Nigerian Breweries Plc
Nigerian Breweries Plc has the top spot on our watchlist by virtue of a board meeting holding on February 15, 2019.
On the agenda, among other things, is the consideration of the company’s audited results for the 2018 financial year, and a proposal for the payment of a dividend.
Regency Alliance Insurance Plc
Regency Alliance Insurance Plc takes the second spot by virtue of being the best performing stock last week.
The rally in the stock (which gained 19% last week) may be due to a possible bonus. Investors may continue to take position, in anticipation.
Royal Exchange Plc
Royal Exchange Plc has a spot on Nairametrics’ watchlist, by virtue of being the worst performing stock last week. The stock shed 13.33% last week, but could bounce back if positive market sentiments are maintained.
United Capital Plc
United Capital Plc has a spot on our watchlist by virtue of the company’s board of directors holding a board meeting on February 15, 2019. Issues for discussion include the consideration of the company’s full year audited results for the 2018 financial year.
Golden Guinea Breweries
Golden Guinea Breweries takes a spot due to its releasing its results on Saturday after trading hours.
Investors may offload their holdings in the stock, as no timeline was provided for the company’s resumption of operations, as well as its posting a loss.
Dangote Cement Plc
Dangote Cement Plc takes the last spot on the watchlist this week, by virtue of the company declaring a closed period starting from today. While the company has not given notice of a board meeting, this could be an indication that a board meeting may be close by.
BEWARE: Harmful products are on your local store shelves!
Consumers are to look out for the manufacture and expiry date before consuming a product.
Time was when the seal on a product bearing a NAFDAC registration number was considered the ultimate seal of authentication. Nowadays, not only are substandard and adulterated products dragging the market share with genuine products, some of them now falsify the NAFDAC seal of approval – registration number.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently advised consumers to beware of some products with fake registration numbers being sold in stores and outlets. The agency advised Nigerians to always examine a product thoroughly (particularly food, drugs, medical devices, or packaged water) before purchasing. Consumers are to look out for the manufacture and expiry date before consuming.
The agency’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr Jimoh Abubakar, while speaking during a recent interview said: “examine the content of the product, the seal of authority or the approved registration number from NAFDAC which is sacrosanct; NAFDAC registration number is not just a number, it is not plate number of a vehicle.
“The number is a rigorous scientific elaboration of a product through our laboratory analysis and through certain compendium references, and after all these by NAFDAC, a product will then be certified for safety, efficacy and wholesomeness”.
In summary, the registration number from NAFDAC is a confirmation to consumers that the product (content and processes) has been examined and is now certified fit for human consumption. The certification process ensures first that good manufacturing practice has been followed, in the right location and environment, and with the right contents, before the product can be labelled.
A recent experience
I purchased a multi-vitamin from an online store recently, and the product was delivered four days later. I was about to break the seal and consume when I noticed there was a slight difference in the name.
I examined the packet closely and discovered that even though the product had been packaged in exactly the same orange-coloured package, the name was different and the details showed that it was manufactured somewhere in Lagos state (the expected product was supposed to be manufactured in the USA).
I wanted to return it outright but then I convinced myself on the need to patronise locally made brands as well if it could give me the same results. I typed the registration number into the NAFDAC verify page and this was the result; “Warning! This product is fake. – report product”.
The scourge of fake registration numbers
In as much as registration numbers are a key differentiator between approved and uncertified products, NAFDAC has admitted that there are fake registration numbers out in the market.
According to Abubakar, the agency is also on the lookout for perpetrators of this deceptive act, even as consumers have been urged to take an extra step in examining a product before consuming it.
He added that technology had made most things easier now and urged Nigerians to visit NAFDAC’s website to get more information about products.
He noted that some products are listed on the website, especially sachet water, as the agency’s staff strength is not enough to be everywhere or to police the country’s population.
“Public awareness and information are very cardinal for people to help themselves; NAFDAC leverages so much on public sensitisation. So, people must help themselves on the consumption of these products,” he said.
Harmful products alert!
Sometime in July, the agency sent out a public alert notifying consumers that the “Pure Tassie Organic Apple and Blackcurrant Juice originating from Australia” had been examined and considered unsafe for consumption, due to unacceptable level of patulin (a mycotoxin) which had exceeded the maximum limit in fruit juice.
The agency’s verdict had also been confirmed by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, before the alert was sent out.
According to the notice, the level of patulin content in the juice is high enough to “induce liver, spleen and kidney damage”, and also toxic to the human immune system, causing nausea, gastrointestinal disturbance and vomiting.
In the alert, NAFDAC implored importers, distributors, retailers and consumers to immediately stop the importation, distribution, sale and consumption of the affected fruit juice, urging them to turn in all current stock of the product to the NAFDAC office, although no mention is made as to compensations for their losses.
A month before this, there was a similar alert from the agency about three cosmetic products namely “Sifu Kunyit Day Cream, Sifu Kunyit Night Cream and JJ Skincare Glowhite Night Cream”.
The products were confirmed by the agency to contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, betamethasone valerate and mercury, all of which are targeted at lightening the skin and changing the pigmentation.
Given the quantity used in these products, NAFDAC confirmed that they can cause damage to the kidney, get absorbed into the blood circulatory system and increase the risk of skin cancer along with other ailments.
Apart from harm caused to the user of products containing mercury, NAFDAC confirmed that mercury can disrupt the brain development of unborn children when consumed by nursing mothers, and also inhibit brain development of young children.
This time around, the products originated from Malaysia and had been imported into Nigeria. Deducing from the notice, one can see that the product had already been banned by the Malaysian Ministry of Health before ever it was imported to Nigeria.
In April, it was a World Health Organisation (WHO) alert on falsified Chloroquine products in circulation in Africa, all originating from three African Countries are Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.
Why would people buy banned products?
A trader who spoke to Nairametrics confirmed that it is possible for such products to still be imported despite being banned. Tolani, who manages a warehouse where she sells consumables (snacks and drinks ) in wholesale quantities affirmed that when supplies are being made, the suppliers sometimes introduce new products at ridiculously lower prices.
“Some of these brand names that we know are very expensive and their price continues to increase without regulation. So, sometimes when we make to buy new stocks, the supplier can show us a new and similar product that is even less than half the price of the popular brands we know, so we buy them as well.
“They are all imported products, and people like to try out foreign products so we know for sure that they will buy it from us,” she explained.
She added that there was no way to confirm at such times whether or not the product was original, imitated, safe or harmful since the traders are no experts.
“They are foreign products, and I believe that if they passed through customs officers and entered the market, then they should have been checked there” she added for emphasis.
Any synergy between NCS and NAFDAC
Consuming harmful products is bad enough, but exchanging hard-earned money for things that could be detrimental to one’s health is even worse.
NAFDAC already has to combat imitated or harmful drugs produced locally. Doing same for imported products means they have even more on their plate to deal with. The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is responsible for manning the borders of the country and monitoring what goes in or out, and if unsafe products still find their way into the country, it means that there are gaps that need to be sealed.
Tweets on the NCS twitter handle shows that much of the organisation’s activities have been centred around the impounding of smuggled bags of rice, kegs of vegetable oil, cartons of spaghetti/macaroni, bags of foreign sugar, cartons of soap, bales of textile materials, parcels of India hemp, NPK fertilisers and vehicles among others.
There is a striking absence of activities around the importation of fake or harmful drugs or other consumables, and all the focus has been on the more lucrative items contained in the import prohibition list such as frozen or live poultry, refined vegetable oils, cocoa butter, bagged cement, etc.
Even though pharmaceutical and consumable items make up 5 out of the 25 item list, it would appear that the list has not been updated recently in line with the recent public alerts from NAFDAC.
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Clearly, consumers will have to take precautions themselves as NAFDAC has advised because the agencies appear to be overwhelmed with the amount of criminal work going on in the space. Thankfully, some products now include a sealed number on the packet which the consumer is meant to text to the unique code and confirm the authenticity. Unfortunately, consumers are often in a hurry and not many are patient enough to wait for the confirmation message.
From creams to drinks, foods, drugs and other things that are used in or on the body, an extra minute for verification might just be the deciding factor at the end of the day.
Dangote Cement: “Our Pan African operations is performing well”
Dangote Cement also explains that the recent devaluation by the government has not had a negative effect on its finances
Dangote Cement has stated that its Pan African operations performed well in the first half of 2020. This was contained in a message sent to Nairametrics after an inquiry related to the performance of its Pan African operations.
The cement behemoth noted that its African operations contributed positively to its Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA). EBITDA for the Pan African operations was N12 billion even though it ended up posting a loss of after-tax of N17 billion.
READ MORE: Dangote pays 90% of net profits as dividend
“In total, Dangote Cement’s Pan-African business is not dragging the Group down. Pan Africa is contributing net positive Earnings before interest, tax depreciation, and amortisation as shown in note 4 to our interim financial statements. As also shown in that same note, Pan Africa is contributing positively to Profit from operating activities. When you go below the operations profit line and consider the funding the Nigerian business records income for the funding it provided to Pan Africa while Pan Africa picks finance costs for the funding it got from Nigeria and this is intergroup and will eliminate on consolidation.”
The company also explains that the recent devaluation by the government has not had a negative effect on its finances especially as most of its dollar loans to its Pan African Businesses was an exchange rate gain to the Nigerian Parent entity. It also indicates that most of its loans are in Naira.
“The Nigerian business has dollar investments in Pan-Africa. Owing to the naira devaluation in H1:2020, the Nigerian business gained more naira for its dollar investment. As such, there is an FX gain in the Nigerian business and an FX loss in the Pan-Africa business. Furthermore, our finance cost shall not be materially affected by the devaluation as we have limited dollar debt exposure, with only 14% of our debt in dollars.”
Impact of COVID-19
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the company also showed strong performance in its Pan African operations. It claims margins remained strong volumes also increased. According to Dangote Cement, there was volume growth in 5 countries where it currently operates with Senegal as one of the best performing.
“Our Pan-Africa operations performed well in the first half of 2020, with an increase in volumes and revenues, despite the impact of COVID-19. We have reduced our cash cost in 6 of our 9 Pan-African operations this year and recorded a record high EBITDA and EBITDA margin of ₦31.5B and 22% respectively. We had strong volume growth in 5 countries, with Ethiopia and Senegal performing particularly well. In fact, the output at our plant in Senegal continues to exceed its rated capacity.
READ MORE: Lafarge Africa is cutting it all out
“We have a vast opportunity to make West and Central Africa cement independent, and this is why we are deploying our ‘export to import’ strategy. Nigeria has an abundance of quality limestone, while much of West Africa is lacking it. As successfully delivered for Nigeria by Dangote Cement leadership, we are aiming at making Ecowas and CEMAC regions clinker and cement independent and eventually next exporters with Nigeria as the main supplier.”
How to protect your crypto from cyber robbers
Nairametrics proffers some vital solutions on how best to protect your crypto assets.
The recent bullish run in the crypto industry has attracted some bad actors whose motive primarily is to rob investors, crypto traders, and larger entities of their crypto-assets.
Just yesterday, India TV News reported that cyber-criminals targeted high-income individuals across India. Victims received messages through their social media groups asking them to sell and buy Bitcoin via a mobile app.
Manan Shah, Founder and CEO of Avalance Global Solutions, told IANS that the rich are not immune to these growing menace. He said:
“I have seen so many wealthy Indians falling into the trap of such fake cryptocurrency wallets in the recent past. One gentleman just came to me who lost $50,000 (over Rs 37 lakh) while dealing with one such fake platform.”
Recall that about a month ago, Nairametrics reported that crypto scammers gained $24 million worth of BTC in H1 2020.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has kept a lot of individuals more active online, scammers are pulling various types of scams such as fake ICOs, BTC recovery, fake exchanges, giveaways, video scams, fake tumblers, Ponzi schemes, malware, and many more.
Nairametrics proffers some vital solutions on how best to protect your crypto assets in the midst of all the scams. They include:
Always make sure you know the individual you are dealing with. If an individual is offering you an investment opportunity, check if they have a proper website and a Linkedin account. Read the white paper, and Google the project to see what others are saying about it.
If an individual is asking you for cryptos or your money, they are probably trying to defraud you. But if you are not sure, try to verify their claims and ask for proof of their identity. If you are still not sure if you are dealing with a scammer or not, you can send an e-mail to a relevant regulatory authority.
Always be sensitive. If it sounds or feels too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam; even when it sounds reasonable, it could be a scam. If someone claims to have a recording or something else belonging to you, ask for proof.
Do proper background checks
Before sending your cash to any crypto exchange or online wallet, make sure you are using the correct website. If an entity or individual tells you they will make you rich, ask them for evidence. Scammers don’t like to waste time, so they will probably move on to the next victim once they notice you are not easily deceived.
Never release your private keys
Never give out your private keys to anyone, including your family members, and don’t keep your private keys where others might find them. Write down your keys and put them somewhere safe.
If you use a crypto exchange, use as many of their security measures as possible (like an authenticator, phone verification, or others) and make sure your passwords are complex. These measures will not make it impossible to be hacked or scammed, but they will make the scammers have a very hard time defrauding you.
Using cold wallets or a proprietary smartphone is recommended. These are specifically designed tools to keep your bitcoin from falling into the hands of hackers on the internet.