Access Bank Plc, in partnership with She Leads Africa, has concluded the first phase of #SheMeansBusiness, a Facebook programme aimed at empowering female SMEs on how to leverage digital platforms to drive growth in their businesses.
The training, aimed at scaling up the skills of small business owners to take advantage of the captive market on social media platforms in Nigeria and beyond, kicked off in the month of June and has held in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu and Ibadan with over 500 female business owners in attendance.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja during the start of the training series, Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, said “As one of the fastest-growing retail banks in the country, Access Bank is always at the forefront of leveraging technology to drive emerging businesses.
[READ ALSO: Access Bank launches Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton 2019]
“The idea behind this partnership and empowerment programme is to give our SME customers an opportunity to expand their access to market and increase their visibility to potential customers.
“There are over two billion people on Facebook globally and over 65 billion WhatsApp messages exchanged globally on a daily basis. With the right knowledge, our customers can showcase their products to large audiences as well as get leads that will take their businesses forward.”
Etuokwu further said, “We intend to actualise our promise as the largest retail bank in Africa to provide not just financial services but also non-financial services which we provide knowing that when our customers succeed it will trickle down to us.”
During an interview with Chigozie Onyeocha, the Regional and Sales Director of Lagos Mainland at Access Bank, it was learnt that the bank has a strong interest in Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to Onyeocha, Access Bank believes that if SMEs are well supported, the country’s economy will benefit in return.
“We have millions of SME businesses in Nigeria in this category, employing over 60 million Nigerians presently, for us, we believe if we support the SME sector right, we will have a better economy.” He went further to disclose that the programme was initiated because of the bank’s belief that women are better managers.
“Women are better managers, and if we engage them well and provide them with the necessary materials and opportunities to grow their businesses, it will help our mission, which is to boost the nation’s economy.
“We actually have a division in the bank that caters to women, and we have opportunities that we expose our female customers to. We have loan facilities for women at a low-interest rate, encouraging them to do their businesses right. Our goal is to have more empowered women which we believe will deliver a better economy” Onyeocha concluded.
She Leads Africa’s Digital Marketing Trainer, Adeyemi Adedayo, said the programme is specifically designed for women to upscale and boost their businesses and focuses on how to use Facebook’s family apps, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Adedayo stressed that feedback from the business owners engaged so far has been tremendous. “We have since recorded remarkable growth in engaging these women and the results derived from these engagements have been very remarkable. The women have responded well so far, and it is encouraging for the trainers” he said.
While Adedayo stated the initiative has birthed futuristic businesses that will thrive the economy, he lauded Access Bank Plc for keying into the objective of Facebook’s human empowerment.
“Access Bank has been great in this collective responsibility with She Leads Africa and Facebook to empower in order to have a robust economy.”
One of the participants, Bolanle Alabi, CEO, Easy Flight Travels in Lagos, said, “I have learnt how to market products online by locating my audience and giving them direct information. Sometimes when you go on Facebook, you do not give the specific details to be able to attract the required audience, I have learnt how to restructure and how to create the right profile.”
The second phase of the Access Bank, Facebook and She Leads Africa training will continue in Abeokuta on Wednesday, July 17, Jos, July 23, and Benin, July 26, 2019.
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UACN’s major shareholder sells substantial shares
This is coming a few days after UAC Nigeria Plc announced a deal to divest 51% of its shares in UPDC.
One of the 3 major shareholders of UAC Nigeria Plc (UACN), Blakeney LLP, has substantially reduced its stakes in the conglomerate with the sale of 80 million additional shares.
This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by UAC Nigeria Plc. The notification was signed by the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Godwin Samuel.
Note that this is coming a few days after UAC Nigeria Plc announced a deal to divest 51% of its shares in UACN Petroleum Development Company (UPDC) to Custodian Investment Plc.
An analysis of this current sales and reduction of its stake shows that Blakeney LLP reduced its shareholding in the conglomerate through a deal on August 5, at a price of N5.75 per share. A further breakdown of the transactions shows that the 80,000,000 units were sold at N5.75 amounting to N460 million in purchase consideration.
Back Story: It can be recalled that UACN had earlier sent notifications to the NSE announcing sales of 75 million shares by Blakeney between the months of April and June
- In an earlier notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other stakeholders in February 2019, UAC of Nigeria Plc announced the emergence of three major shareholders with more than 5% stake in the company. The three major shareholders include Themis Capital Management (8.08%), Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited (7.27%), Blakeney GP 111 Ltd (7.55%).
- Nigeria’s oldest conglomerate has gone through some major restructuring in recent times following investments by these core investors and other major shareholders. In September 2019, UACN announced the outright dissolution of its interest and restructuring of UAC Property Development Company (UPDC) with the transfer of its interest directly to the shareholders.
- Over the years, UACN has transformed from a very large conglomerate with footprints in different sectors of the economy to a leaner organization with interest in Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Logistics, Agro-allied Industry, Paints and Chemicals.
- Blakeney Management is one of the oldest and largest institutional investors in Africa and the Middle East. They are based in London and have been managing funds since 1995 for some of the largest institutions in the world.
AXA Mansard insurance divests from AXA Mansard pension as new owner emerges
This disclosure was made in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
AXA Mansard Insurance Plc has announced its divestment from its subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pension Limited, after agreeing to sell its stake to Eustacia Limited, a member of the Verod Group.
This is part of the insurance firm’s plan to focus on and grow its insurance businesses across all parts of the country.
This disclosure was made in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on August 8, 2020, by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and signed by its Company Secretary, Mrs Omowunmi Mabel Adewusi.
AXA Mansard Insurance disclosed that Eustacia Limited was selected as the preferred bidder, after the completion of a bid process. AXA Mansard along with the minority shareholder agreed to sell the entire issued ordinary share capital of AXA Mansard Pensions comprising of 60% shareholding (2,067,672,000 shares) held by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and 40% shareholding (1,378,448,000 shares) held by the minority shareholder.
The statement from AXA Mansard Insurance reads, ‘’AXA Mansard Insurance Plc announces the divestment from its subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pensions Limited. After obtaining the Shareholder’s approval at the Company’s Extra-Ordinary General Meeting held on the 13th of February 2020, the Company commenced the process of divestment by appointing Messer Rand Merchant Bank as the Financial Advisers while Aluko & Oyebode acted as the Legal Advisers on the transaction.’’
‘’Upon completion of a bid process, Eustacia Limited (a member of the Verod Group) was selected as the preferred bidder. The Company along with the minority Shareholder entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Eustacia Limited to divest the entire issued ordinary share capital of AXA Mansard Pensions comprising of 60% shareholding (2,067,672,000 shares) held by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and 40% shareholding (1,378,448,000 shares) held by the minority shareholder.’’
The insurance firm, also in its statement said that the divestment has received letters of no objection from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
It should be noted that the completion of the divestment is, however, subject to the receipt of the final approval of the National Pension Commission.
In his reaction, the CEO of AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, Kunle Ahmed, said that this transaction marks a new step in the insurance firm’s broader strategy to focus on and grow their life, property & casualty and health businesses across all its geographies. He said that the AXA Group sees great potential in the Nigerian insurance market and believes they are ideally placed to capture these opportunities due to its market leadership position.
On his part, the CEO of AXA Mansard Pension Limited said that they are confident about Verod’s strong commitment to providing the company with the requisite support to actualize their promise to its clients and stakeholders.
A partner at Verod Group, the new owners, Eric Idiahi, said, ‘’We strongly believe that this is the ideal time to enter the market and that AXA Mansard Pensions provides an excellent beachhead from which to establish a consolidated position and gain market share.’’
Nairametrics reported early this year that AXA Mansard Insurance Plc announced that its shareholders have approved the company’s plan to sell its pension management subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pensions Ltd and some undisclosed real estate investments.
Africa’s largest telecoms firm, MTN, to divest from its Middle East operations
The MTN Group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder.
Africa’s largest telecoms firm, the MTN Group, has announced its plans to exit the Middle East. This is part of the wireless carrier’s strategic plan to shift focus entirely to its home continent, Africa.
The mobile operator said that as part of its medium-term strategy, it will be leaving the Middle East, starting with the sales of its 75% stake in MTN Syria. Overly reduced revenue from war-torn Syria and the complex nature of the operating environment in the country are part of the reasons MTN is divesting.
MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter, noted during a conference call with reporters, that “the Middle East environment is becoming increasingly complex and it contributes less to the group’s earnings.’’
Shuter disclosed that the disposals in the Middle East region will be done in a phased manner, with its 3 consolidated subsidiaries in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria earmarked to be sold first. These markets only contribute about 4% to the group’s earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation, and amortization.
The MTN Group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder, TeleInvest, who has 25% stake in the firm, according to the CEO. He believes that the telecoms firm is better served to focus on its Pan-African strategy and simplify its portfolio by leaving the Middle East region in an orderly manner.
In the medium term, the group will also dispose of its 49% stake in MTN Irancell, one of its largest markets.
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The South African firm plans to exit the entire portfolio in time, which will then leave it with 17 subsidiaries in Africa.
Just yesterday, Nairametrics reported about MTN’s plan to sell its stake in Jumia Technologies. MTN will also be divesting from telecommunications infrastructure firm, IHS Towers. The divestments from Jumia and IHS Towers were informed by the decision to raise funds in order to reduce MTN’s debts. It will also help the company to refocus its operations.