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Critical times for Nigeria’s oil money as US-China trade war escalates

Global trade is currently at a standstill, as the Chinese president Xi Jinping and his U.S counterpart President Donald Trump prepare to meet at the G-20 summit in Japan this week.

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U.S-China Trade War

Global trade is currently at a standstill, as the Chinese president Xi Jinping and his U.S counterpart President Donald Trump prepare to meet at the G-20 summit in Japan this week. The two leaders will, once again, hold key talks that may possibly end the bruising on-going trade war between the world’s two largest economies. 

The meeting, which will hold during the G-20 summit in Osaka Japan, has become one of the most globally-anticipated events in recent times. Many analysts and pundits expect that the meeting will help forestall moves by Washington to clamp tariffs on the remaining $300 billion worth of exports from China. 

Some Recent Developments 

Basically, the US-China trade war began in March 2018, when the United State’s President, Donald Trump, announced general tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum. China hit back on US goods with tariffs worth $160 billion.

After the episodes of retaliation and counter-retaliation, recent developments may have forced both parties into another round of negotiation. Last week, President Trump threatened to “immediately” jack up tariffs on the remaining $300 billion Chinese exports to the U.Sshould President Xi fail to show up at the meeting. Ahead of the planned meeting, Trump and Xi reportedly held a phone conversation on June 18th to prepare grounds for the expected truce. 

After the supposed gesture from President Trump, the Chinese President also issued an official statement in agreement to the meeting. 

“I am ready to meet with President (Trump) during the G-20 Osaka Summit to exchange views on fundamental issues concerning the development of China-U’S relations. 

Trade-War Escalates into India 

The U.S-China trade war has largely dominated headlines over time, with little or no emphasis on the escalating issues between the U.S and India, which can be described as an off-shoot of the former. See below;

  • President Trump recently terminated a trade concession which allowed India to export almost 2,000 products to the U.S. duty-free. 
  • Trump’s move ended trade concessions for $5.7 billion worth of goods that India shipped to the U.S.as of 2017. These include imitation jewelry, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics, and some farm items. 
  • Following Trump’s move, India announced on June 15 that it would raise tariffs on 28 categories of imports from the United States. The increased tariffs, on goods worth $1.4 billion, cover almonds, walnuts, apples and finished metal items, among other products. 
  • There is also the issue of the U.S sanction on Iran, which prevents India from buying Iranian oil. This means that India will have to fill the gaps left by Iranian oil with imports from other major oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria, and the USA. 

[READ THIS: Key takeaways from Dangote’s comments at the FT Africa Summit]

China and India are Nigeria’s biggest markets  

The recent foreign trade data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the world’s second most populated country, India, remains Nigeria’s biggest export market as of the first quarter (Q1) 2019. 

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Further analysis shows that two of Asia’s biggest economies (China and India) control a significant part of Nigeria’s foreign trade. Unlike export, Nigeria’s biggest imports come from China. 

According to the recent statistics, Nigeria’s highest import in Q1 2019 came from China and it was estimated at N979 billion. Further insight shows that China maintains a distant top of 26% of Nigeria’s import, followed by Swaziland (N528.8 billion) and the U.S (N325.2 billion). 

Nigeria's top 10 import countries

Nigeria’s top ten biggest export markets 

The top ten rankings of Nigeria’s export market released by the NBS shows that a total of N3.13 trillion worth of goods were exported in the first quarter of 2019. 

  • For the first quarter, India imported N744.9 billion worth of goods from Nigeria to rank first, and this is dominated by crude oil (N684 billion). A further breakdown shows that India now import16.43% of Nigeria’s total exportas against 15.53% recorded in the previous quarter (Q4 2018). 
  • Meanwhile, it should be noted that the U.S has completely fallen out of Nigeria’s top 10 export market. 
  • In recent times, the U.S has continued to cut down oil importation in the country and it appears that it may have already cut ties with Nigerian crude. 

  • Meanwhile, Angola is the only country that imported zero crude oil from Nigeria but imported the highest non-crude oil products from Nigeria, estimated at N202.6 billion in Q1 2019. 
  • Also, Sweden has just joined one of Nigeria’s biggest exporting nations, as it ranks ten with crude oil worth N151 billion. 

Top 10 exports market

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[READ FURTHER: CBN is going after any company that imports banned items]

Cost and benefits – Nigeria needs to trudge smartly 

It is important to note that Nigeria generates over 70% of its total revenue and 91% of its foreign exchange revenue from Oil. Hence, the interplay of the trade war between U.S-China with escalation into India will greatly affect Nigeria’s oil money and the economy at large. 

  • President Trump may announce another tariff on Chinese goods, which will escalate the war. Sources have revealed that China may devalue its currency to sustain U.S sanctions and Nigeria may benefit from this through importation. 
  • Also, as stated earlier, India can no longer import oil from Iran which currently stands at 23.6 million tons. This portends a big opportunity for Nigeria to tap into the supply gap for more revenue. 
  • Meanwhile, a critical downside, irrespective of the U.S-China trade war outcomeis the escalation of trade war into India. 
  • U.S may employ its economic power to redirect a significant portion of India’s oil import to the U.S shale oil. What this suggests is that Nigeria’s biggest oil importer will be forced to reduce what it buys from Nigeria, which means that Nigeria revenue may lose billions, and this may critically affect the Nigerian economy. 

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Analysis: Total Nigeria needs a financial overhaul

 Total Nigeria’s Q1’20 results are a testament that some might have it worse than others as it recorded a revenue drop of 9.3% to N70.2 billion

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Total Nigeria, Analysis: Total Nigeria needs a financial overhaul

The Oil Industry has had a particularly tough year, owing primarily to the novel pandemic. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the global oil demand is expected to further decline this year as Covid-19 spreads around the world, constraining travel as well as other economic activities.

Organizations like Total depending on international trade will be forced to scale down operations until restrictions ease off. However, Total Nigeria’s Q1’20 results are a testament that some might have it worse than others.

The period recorded a revenue drop of 9.3% to N70.2 billion in the first quarter of this year compared to Q1 2019. Total earns its revenue from three main sectors namely: Networks, General Trade, and Aviation. Revenue from Aviation fell by 39.5%. The decline in Networks is attributed to the reduced demand as a result of the enforced lockdown and restriction on travel across the nation.

READ ALSO: Analysis: MTN’s blow out Q1 profit vs Covid-19 headwinds  

Yet, it is clear that the company had its own challenges pre-COVID-19. In the quarter, it attained a loss after tax of N163 million which was 65.6% better than the loss after tax of the comparative quarter; it is overwhelmed by a myriad of distinct issues.

First off, its revenue has experienced a steady fall over the years; reasons for this is tied largely to its lack of importation of petroleum products.

It is also burdened by inefficiencies in its operations evident in its high operational and direct expenses, as well as its high debt over the past years. The company has carried on huge loans and borrowings in its books: N40.6 billion in 2019 and only a marginal reduction of N2.2 billion in the current year.

(READ MORE:Nigeria’s Bonga crude oil export terminal shut down)

Even higher are its expenses after an 8.38% reduction in the just-released results, it arrived at N69.7 billion for Q1 2020. Amongst its high operational expenses is the high and increasing technical fees it pays to its parent company. From N251 million in the first quarter of last year, it incurred around N700m in the year under review. It also has cash flow issues with about N22b in negative cash and cash equivalents. In its 2019 report, it revealed that the year had been tough with its cost of doing business rising exponentially as evident in its interest expense, 395% higher than the previous year as a result of repayment for products and a high level of borrowing.

Total Nigeria records loss for the first nine months of 2019, Analysis: Total Nigeria needs a financial overhaul

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The company, in its last full year annual report, noted that to make significant savings to both operational and capital expenditure costs, a series of initiatives relating to cost efficiency, process optimization, and significant reduction of working capital requirement and finance costs, were put in place and are in motion for this year.

READ ALSO: STERLING BANK: Reduced fee income, weak operating efficiency drives steep decline in pre-tax profit

As Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA’s Executive Director put it “The coronavirus crisis is affecting a wide range of energy markets – including coal, gas, and renewables – but its impact on oil markets is particularly severe because it is stopping people and goods from moving around, dealing a heavy blow to demand transport fuels.”

However, Total’s position goes beyond the impact of the pandemic. Its rebound rests on its ability to carry on with cost control and lower debt commitments, together with the speed of the containment of the virus. That said, the company might need to raise capital soon while also coming up with formidable strategies to strengthen its business model.

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Merger, Tax incentive boosts BUA Cement FY 2019 result

BUA Cement Plc recently released financials reveal a 47.5% increase in revenues of N175.52 billion up from N119 billion in 2018.

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BUA Cement gives succour to host communities in Edo

One of the industries set to experience the downsides of the Covid-19 pandemic is the construction industry. Given the slowdown in construction activities as a result of the lockdowns and constrained economic activities, the reasons are not farfetched.

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Globe Newswire had predicted an accelerated growth pace of the global construction industry from 2.6% in 2019 to 3.1% in 2020. This growth has now been revised to 0.5%. What is even more daunting is that the revised growth rate is based on the assumption that the outbreak will be contained across all major markets by the end of the second quarter of 2020.

It is only after that (including freedom of movement in H2 2020) that events could facilitate reverting to the normal course of activities to foster businesses in the industry like BUA Cement or those that depend on it to restart activities.

Nigeria’s third-largest cement company, BUA Cement Plc, however, still has its 2019 victories in order. Involved in the manufacturing and sales of cement, BUA Cement has 3 major subsidiaries and plants in Northern and Southern Nigeria.

(READ MORE:Update: BUA Cement Plc lists N1.18 trillion shares on NSE)

With a market capitalisation of N1.18 trillion ($3.3 billion), BUA is the third most capitalised company on the NSE. Its recently released financials reveal a 47.5% increase in revenues of N175.52 billion up from N119 billion in 2018.

Kalambaina Cement Line 2, BUA Group, Kalambaina Cement, CCNN, Merger, Tax Incentive Boost BUA Cement FY 2019 Results

The company’s profits also increased by 69.1% from N39.17 billion in 2018 to N66.24 billion in 2019. Core operating performance was strong, and this was supported by strong cement sales in the domestic market, impairment writes back, and other income.

Deal book 300 x 250

The main reason for the company’s increased earnings is from the cost synergy and increased revenue as a result of the merger that took place between CCNN Plc and Obu Cement Company Limited.

There was also a striking jump in its income statement on its tax for the year. For FY 2019, it incurred a tax expense of N5.6 billion, in comparison to the N24.9 billion tax credit it received in FY 2018.

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This was as a result of a reversal of previous tax provision made on Obu Line 1; it received approvals for an extension of the company’s pioneer status on Obu line-1 and Kalambaina line-2 in February 2020, to leave effective tax rate at just over 8% in 2019. The pioneer status will help the company save funds that will otherwise have been spent on higher taxes.

(READ MORE:Dangote Cement to access more debt funding)

BUA reported an impressive FY’19 result. Its performance shows the growing strength of the company and its increasing market share. On the back of the strong performance, management declared an N1.75 dividend per share that translates to a dividend yield of 5.5% on current prices.

Cash flow position was also robust with a strong closing cash balance – from N2.8 billion in 2018 to N15.6 billion as at year ended 2019. The company’s growth, as well as the impact of its merger, present a great buy opportunity of the highly capitalized, low-cost stock. As of today when the market closed (21st May) its share price stood at N35.60 from a 52-week range of N27.6 and N41.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Best and worst case scenarios for the Nigerian economy

What we see is a great growth stock further heightened by the population expansion and increased urbanization. However, we expect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to be felt from the Q1 results of the company.

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The industry could slow down for the year as the level of commercial construction also slows down. Yet the best part of holding stocks like this is that even with stalled operations for a period, a resurgence will always emerge.

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Analysis: Airtel Nigeria is winning where it matters

Airtel has left no stones unturned in ensuring that its provisions are top-shelf – subscribers to the network, of course will have their own ideas.  

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Analysis: Airtel Nigeria is winning where it matters.

Airtel might have won our hearts over with internet-war adverts starring our favourite tribal in-laws, but its fundamentals are what will make us the bucks that keep us happy. Airtel Africa Ltd is a subsidiary of Indian telecoms group, Bharti Airtel Ltd; the group has left no stones unturned in ensuring that its provision of prepaid plans, credit transfers, mobile internet services, messaging, roaming facilities and more, are top-shelf – subscribers to the network, of course, will have their own ideas.

Since last year when Airtel Nigeria became the second telecommunication company in Nigeria listed on the NSE, the company has experienced a steady level of growth. With a presence in 14 African countries, the group’s strength lies in its diversity with stronger companies mitigating the poor performances of others.

Performance Overview: Airtel Africa 

Airtel Africa’s report for the year ended March 2020, revenue jumped by 10.9% from $3.1 billion at the year ended 2019 to $3.4 billion in 2020. The consolidated profit before tax also jumped by 71.8% from $348 million in 2019 to $598 million in 2020. However, profit for the period dropped by 4.23% with earnings of $408 million in 2020 from the $426 million it had earned in 2019. A reason for this is the tax figure that moved from a credit of $78 million in 2019 to tax payments as high as $190 million in 2020. Total assets also jumped by 2.41% from 2019’s value of $9.1 billion to $9.3 billion in 2020 primarily as a result of their acquisition of more property, plant, and equipment (PPE). The total customer base grew by 9.3% to 99.7 million for the year ended.

Full Report here.

Revenue growth of 10.9% was driven by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa. However, the rest of its African operations experienced a decline in revenue. Its success in Nigeria is especially commendable, considering the fact that the company lost more than 100,000 subscribers in Nigeria between December 2019 and January 2020. Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer, remarked that the results which were in line with the group’s expectations, “are clear evidence of the effectiveness of our strategy across Voice, Data and Mobile Money.”

(READ MORE: NCDC and NNPC-IPPG reinforce #TakeResponsibility theme with multi-lingual campaign)

Behind The Numbers – Nigeria

Airtel Nigeria’s performance indicates the company is making the right calls in a very competitive industry. Nigerians are fickle when it comes to data and voice but will spend if the service is right. The company grew its data revenue by a whopping 58% to $435 million a sign that its strategy to focus on data is working. Voice Revenues for the year was up 15% to $850 million. In total, Airtel Nigeria’s revenue was up 24.4% to $1.37 billion. Ebitda margin, a number closely watched by foreign investors 54.2% from 49% a year earlier. Operating profit for the year ended also jumped by 52.6% for the year from 2019 and 32.4% from Q1 2019. Total customer base in Nigeria also grew by 12.5%.

Regulation forces Airtel Africa to initiate shares listing in Malawi , Analysis: Airtel Nigeria is winning where it matters.

Deal book 300 x 250

Nigeria is surely critical to Airtel Africa’s future seeing that it contributes about one-third of its revenue. Recent results thus indicate it is winning where it matters most and it must continue to stay this way if it desires to survive a brutal post-COVID-19 2020. Telcos are expected to be among the winners as Nigerians rely more on data to work remotely but there are other players in this game. Concerning the impact of the pandemic, he explained that at the time of the approval of the Group Financial Statements, the group has not experienced any material impact arising from the impact of COVID-19 on its business.

On cash flows…

The group has also taken measures to enhance its liquidity. The CEO explained that it is moving its focus to enhance liquidity towards meeting possible contingencies.

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“Having considered business performance, free cash flows, liquidity expectation for the next 12 months together with its other existing drawn and undrawn facilities, the group cancelled the remaining USD 1.2 billion New Airtel Africa Facility. As part of this evaluation, the group has further considered committed facilities of USD 814 million as of date authorisation of financial statements, which should take care of the group’s cash flow requirement under both base and reasonable worst-case scenarios.”

To this end, they have put in the required strategies to preserve its cash as its cash and cash equivalents, consequently, jumped by 19.1%.

(READ MORE: COVID-19: MTN says it has put strict measures in place to preserve resources)

Buying opportunity

Investors looking at this impressive result will be wondering if this portends a buying opportunity. Airtel Nigeria closed at N298 on Friday and has remained at this price for about a month. The stock is quite illiquid and is not readily available to buy.

It’s the price to earnings ratio of 4.56x makes it quite attractive. Further highlighting this opportunity is its price-to-book ratio which is as low as 0.5273, suggesting that the stock could be undervalued. Whether it is available to be bought, is anyone’s guess.

 

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