On Saturday, April 13, 2019, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) hosted the fifth in its series of free capacity building programmes, tagged “Business Enterprises and Sustainability Training (BEST)” organised for existing and start-up SMEs in Lagos. This followed the success of the previous editions of the training last year across the country.
The initiative covered various topical areas such as identifying business opportunities, surviving in a harsh business environment, improving productivity, raising capital, optimizing sales, cost and revenue management, among others.
The Bank urged small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to take the lead in driving the diversification and growth of the Nigerian economy. This is due to the catalytic role they play in the lives of people and the society. SMEs over the years, have stimulated national and economic development in the areas of production, exports, employment and income generation.
Speaking on the BEST initiative, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said the Bank recognises the increasing role and impact of SMEs. According to her, ’the BEST initiative is one of the innovative ways we support the growth of our SME customers because without effective training and exposure, resounding success could be quite difficult to achieve. In FCMB, we are passionate about helping our customers thrive in a sustainable manner. We believe this comprehensive training programme will go a long way to impact positively on the SME operators who have participated in our training. It will propel them to further develop themselves”. The participants at the capacity training expressed gratitude to FCMB for living up to its core values of Execution, Professionalism, Innovation and Customer-focus (EPIC). Pictures from the training below
Austin Avuru retires as CEO of Seplat petroleum, to receive huge benefits
According to the notice, Avuru will be considered a “good leaver” on his retirement.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Austin Avuru has retired as CEO of the company, but will remain on the board as a Non-Executive Director.
According to a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the company secretary Mrs Edith Onwuchekwa, the resignation took effect on July 31, 2020.
What this means
According to the notice, Avuru will be considered a “good leaver” on his retirement and receive his remuneration and benefits as such.
The Remuneration Committee has confirmed that Avuru will receive “a lump sum payment in lieu of notice equal to his salary, benefits, and pension allowance until November 18, 2020” as well as other security and travel benefits.
He would also receive a loss of office payment equal to 12 months’ salary, as compensation and in accordance with the Nigerian market practice.
In line with the provisions of the Directors’ Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders of the Company at its 2018 AGM, he will also receive a pro-rata bonus (in cash) to reflect his time as CEO during the financial year, and same “will be provided in the Company’s Directors Remuneration Report for 2020 and subsequent years”.
Seplat will also vest awards made in form of deferred shares in 2019 and 2020 at the normal vesting dates, and subject to the achievement of the relevant performance conditions, and Avuru will be subject to the post-employment shareholding requirement for two years.
The company management and board appreciated Avuru for his ‘excellent leadership’ in growing the company to become a notable player in the Nigerian and wider African hydrocarbon industry.
On November 18 2019, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc announced that Mr Austin Avuru will be retiring as CEO at the end of July 2020.
This is in line with Avuru’s earlier plans to retire sometime around his 62nd birthday.
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UBA denies N41 billion NITEL fraud allegations
United Bank for Africa (UBA) has described the alleged N41 billion fraud levied against its Chairman, Mr Tony Elumelu, as untrue, misleading, malicious, and libellous.
The Management of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) has described the alleged N41 billion fraud levied against its Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, as untrue, misleading, malicious, and libellous, and said that it should be disregarded in its entirety.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the bank to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the company’s secretary, Bili Odum, on Friday. Media reports in some online blogs alleged the former CEO of the bank was indicted” prompting the bank to issue a denial via a press release.
In the press release stated Statement To The Nigerian Stock Exchange on False Reports in the Media, the bank stated that “it has set in motion all appropriate legal actions to ensure that the misleading reports are retracted and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions”.
It also stated that it will “continue to conduct its business in line with global best corporate governance practices, extant laws, and regulations,” as it has done in over 70 years of operations.
Back story: The counsel to NITEL, J.U Ayofu petitioned the Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions about the alleged fraud. The committee chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, claimed the ”the N41billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct Telecommunications company and National Carrier, NITEL”
They alleged the amount was withdrawn “systematically from NITEL for nine years” under the leadership of the bank.
Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Mr. Ayo Akinyelure, reportedly said, “The N41 billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct telecommunications company and national carrier, NITEL.
According to the reports, in view of this, the senate committee has summoned the Group Managing Director/CEO of UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, to appear before it on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.
UBA denies wrongdoing
Despite the allegations, the Management of the Bank denied all the allegations and will use all legal means to clear its name. “We have set in motion all appropriate legal actions to ensure that the misleading reports are retracted and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions.”
UBA’s 2020 second-quarter result is expected to be released next week. The market appears to have shrugged off the allegations as thee company’s share price closed at N6.2 gaining 3.3% week on week.
Airtel Africa’s profit up 12.9%, customer base reaches 111.5 million
Airtel Africa had risen in customers’ base by 11.8% to 111.5 million in spite of the pandemic.
Airtel Africa on Friday posted an impressive Q1 ending June 2020 financial statement with an operating profit of $210 million up by 12.9%which showed a 111.5 rise in customers’ base of 11.8% to 111.5 million in spite of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. The Company also reported an operating profit of $210 million up by 12.9%.
Airtel reports its year end March 31st 2020.
Key highlights of Airtel Africa Q1 2020 include;
- Customer base grew by 11.8% to 111.5 million.
- Revenue increased by 6.9% to $851m, with constant currency revenue growth of 13.0%
- Constant currency revenue growth was recorded across all key business segments, with voice revenue up by 2.2%, data by 35.7%, and mobile money by 26.3%.
- Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9% to $375m, with constant currency growth of 14.6%
- The reported underlying EBITDA margin was 44.1%, up by 40 bps.
- Operating profit increased by 12.9% to $210m, an increase of 21.5% in constant currency
- Free cash flow was $96m compared to $62m in the same period last year.
- Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents.
- Net debt to underlying EBITDA was 2.2x, compared to 3.0x in June 2019.
Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, Airtel Africa explained the company’s business was to survive the COVID-19 pandemic amid all odds. He said;
“During the last quarter, our business was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socializing were introduced to contain the spread of infection. In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities.
“We focused on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.”
Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, Airtel Africa spoke about growing concerns on the resurgence of COVID-19, but he was optimistic based on Airtel Africa’s present result and investment. He continued by saying ;
“The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so-called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event. However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses.”
The stock is presently trading at N348 with a market capitalization of N1.308 trillion, dividend yield at 3.38%, price/earnings ratio at 10.63 at the time this report was drafted.