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Blurb

One of Nigeria’s oldest publishing houses is worth less than a million dollars 

It may surprise you to know that Academy Press Plc, which is one of the oldest and “biggest” publishing houses in the country, is currently valued at less than a million dollars. 

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Academy Press Plc

Over the years, there have been many arguments and counter-arguments about whether Nigerians read as much as they are supposed to. Believe it or not, there is even a book titled “Why Nigerians Don’t Read Anymore: The Catastrophe That Awaits A Non-reading Nation. While the plausibility of some of the arguments raised in this book remain suspect to those who believe that Nigerians read enough, the truth is that the Nigerian publishing industry hasn’t been thriving as much as it is supposed to. One of the reasons is that people aren’t buying books. It may surprise you to know that Academy Press Plc, which is one of the oldest and “biggest” publishing houses in the country, is currently valued at less than a million dollars. 

Details about Academy Press Plc’s market capitalisation 

Information available on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s website shows that the company has a market capitalisation of N211, 680, 000.00. In dollar terms, this converts to $584, 253. The company has the lowest market cap, when compared to the two other publishing houses on the NSE, namely University Press Plc and Learn Africa Plc. As a matter of fact, it is one of the least capitalised companies in Nigeria. 

Year to date, Academy Press stock price has shed N0.15, having declined from N0.50 in January this year to N0.35 on Friday September 20th. A simple multiplication of the company’s outstanding shares (which stands at 604,800,000) by the current share price of N0.35, was used to arrive at the above-stated market cap. 

Academy Press Plc

Chart showing the company’s stock performance YTD as seen on Bloomberg.

About the company and its business model

Established in July 1964, Academy Press Plc is a Nigerian printing/publishing company which is headquartered in Lagos. The company claims on its website that it came into business with the mission of redefining the status quo of the Nigerian publishing industry, which had been hitherto dominated by British-owned firms. However, going by present circumstances, it is highly doubtful that it has accomplished this mission.  

[READ: These companies aren’t generating wealth for shareholders]

Products and services: As a fully-fledged publishing company, Academy Press engages in the publication of both academic materials and corporate documents. Information available on its website indicates that not only does it publish books (i.e., academic, religious, biographies, etc.), it also prints stuff like annual reports of companies, invoices, waybills, deposit/withdrawal forms for banks, posters, calendars, etc.  

The company’s target market 

Based on the foregoing, it is obvious that Academy Press has a wide range of market audience which includes the likes of schools (nursery, primary, secondary, and tertiary), libraries, students, quoted companies, banks, etc. However, is the company making enough money? We shall see soon.

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[READ:  Academy Press Plc records losses for the second year running]

A look at the company’s financials 

The company’s unaudited financial statement for the first quarter period which ended on June 30th, 2019, shows that it ran at a loss of N175.2 million after earning total revenue of N423.4 million. For the full-year period ended March 31st 2019, the company reported a revenue of N2.4 billion and a profit after tax of N34.6 million, thereby marking a decline from a PAT of N63.6 reported in the preceding year.  

This shows that not only is the company not making enough money, it is also struggling to remain profitable.  

Academy Press Plc

The company’s ownership structure 

According to information available in its 2018 financial resultsAcademy Press is owned by the following entities: 

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  • Alidan Investment Limited: 84,078,546 units of shares which represent 13.9% of the total shareholding. 
  • West African Book Publishers Limited: 62,880,000 units, representing 10.4% of the total shareholding 
  • Humbleside Limited: 60,443,208 units, representing 9.99% 
  • Others: 397,398,246 units, which represent 65.71 units of total shareholding.  

Board of Directors 

  1. High Chief (Sir) Simeon. O. Oguntimehin: Chairman 
  2. Mr. Wahab. B. Dabiri: Vice Chairman 
  3. Mr. Olugbenga Ladipo: Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer 
  4. Mr. Oyewole Olaoye: Non-Executive 
  5. Mrs. Folashade B. Omo-Eboh: Non-Executive 
  6. Mr. Omosola Sokunbi: Executive 
  7. Mr. Femi Akingbe: Non-Executive 
  8. Mr. Ivor Hutchinson: Non-Executive 

Here are some of the company’s competitors 

The Nigerian publishing industry is rife with intense competition among the old players, as well as the new entrants in the business. Besides the quoted ones, other old publishers include the likes of HEBN Publishers Plc, Evans Brothers Nigeria Publishers Limited, and Literamed Publications Nigeria Limited. There are also newer publishing houses such as Kachifo Limited, Cassava Republic Press, Parresia Publishers, to mention a few.  

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[READ: The place of Learn Africa Plc in today’s dynamic publishing industry]

But there is a bigger challenge than competition 

Maybe Nigerians are, indeed, not reading as much as they are supposed to. This partly explains why Academy Press is struggling to maintain profitability. Another way to examine the situation is by considering whether Academy Press is doing enough to facilitate growth. Like most publishers in the country, complacency has often been a major issue. Some of these publishers are known to take less publishing risks even as they rarely advertise. As such, profitability is hampered.  

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It is, therefore, time for Academy Press Plc to rejig its business model in order to stay relevant and profitable. For one, the company needs a very aggressive marketing approach. It may also consider raising capital to facilitate its necessary expansion. 

[READ: With $1 million, a delivery startup could acquire Trans-Nationwide Express Plc]

Academy Press Plc

A peek inside the company’s printing press.

 

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Otito

    October 2, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    I’m suprised this write-up did not mention digitalisation (e-books) as a key threath to the continued existence of Academy Press (and indeed other old Publishing companies). Ability to incorporate digitalization in its strategy should have some positive impact.

  2. SAMMY

    September 15, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I am sure Academy Press Plc will do better and profitably well if it can diversify its business even within the printing industry. There are several other areas of print-publishing which the company can venture into. After all, it already has a good name (GOODWILL) which automatically places it in a vantage position in the industry. Candidly, the company needs to announce itself by means of re-capitalization, and advertisement. More importantly, the company has to take staff welfare to a higher level as this will enable it retain its capable and well-trained workforce. Finally, AP should work on its pricing policy – to remain competitive. never forget, smaller and cheaper printing outfits are coming up and foreign competitors are not sleeping.

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Blurb

Nigerian Breweries leveraging, but stacking cash through rising input costs

The marathon continues for Nigerian Breweries with its 2020 financials.

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Humanity might need more booze to survive the increasingly daunting intricacies of life, but Nigerian Breweries 2020 financial statement is proof that even the best can get caught up in the reality of changing business lifecycles.

Nigerian Breweries Plc had floored the market providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic premium quality beverages across the nation. But with brands like Star lager beer launched as far back as 1949, Gulder lager beer launched in 1970, and even the family-friendly Maltina introduced as far back as 1976, it is only natural that both the old and new generation competition gives them a run for their market share.

Much like other old money companies, Nigerian Breweries has done its bit to remain relevant in the industry from creating new variants of existing favoured brands to paying dividends consistently annually for the past few years. Yet within the same period, the company’s financial statements have been a testament to its streamlined market share and reducing profits. The marathon continues with its 2020 financials. The industry giant may as well be setting itself up for a debt quagmire peradventure its projections do not match the true reality of events.

READ: How COVID-19 has changed Nigeria’s consumer goods & industrial markets –KPMG

2020 financials: A tale of higher costs & larger debts

2020’s unfavourable financial/ business environment led to the increase in the prices of raw materials and disruptions in logistics for many Nigerian-domiciled businesses including Nigerian Breweries. Raw materials and consumables witnessed a 17% increase despite the marginal growth in revenue.

While the group’s 2020 results revealed a 4.35% increase in revenue from N323 billion in the prior year to around N337 billion, these gains were curtailed by a higher-than-par increase in cost of sales which had risen by 13.9%, from the N191.8 billion expended in 2019 to N218.4 billion as its 2020 financials reveal and interest rates going way up.

READ: Flour Mills and its diverse challenges

The company’s lower operating expenses were not enough to salvage the disruption caused by the raging interest expense following increased charges paid on bank loans and overdraft facilities as well as the significant increase in overall debt. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, long term loans and borrowings increased by 974% from N4.8 billion to as much as N51.8 billion. Even trade and other long term payables increased by 35%.

In its financials, the company noted that it has revolving credit facilities with five Nigerian banks to finance its working capital. The approved limit of the loan with each of the banks range from ₦6 billion to ₦15 billion (total of ₦66 billion) and each of the agreements had been signed in 2016 with a tenor of five years. The Company had also obtained Capital and Working capital finance from the BoI in 2019.

READ: Manufacturing sector in Nigeria and the reality of a “new normal”

It is no news that the company is involved in diversified lease arrangements. Following reclassifications made in 2019 to some of its lease assets, the 2020 asset base also witnessed significant increase in Right of Use Assets which increased by 288%% from N11.1 billion to N42.9 billion. Yet, the fact that in one year, interest expense on Lease Liabilities rose from N19.7 million in 2019 and to a whopping N4.171 billion shows that the company is taking way more debt than its books require.

But what’s it using all the cash for?

Beyond rising material costs, borrowing costs have been huge and the annual interest payment by virtue of these loans make the possibility of higher profits for the company a mirage. That said, the overall increase in total liabilities might not have been such a bad idea if the funds were being used to increase revenue and profits. But having a huge chunk of all that money in cash creates a different kind of challenge. Cash and bank values in its statement of financial position significantly increased by 377% from N6.4 billion in 2019 to N30.4 billion in 2020.

Is the cash being held to mitigate possible challenges of the volatile economy or are they being used to pay dividends? Even at a share price of N52 per share, the company’s price-to-book value sits at 2.5816, testament of its dire overvaluation. Consequently, there is an ardent need for the company to come up with newer ways to attract the wider market and keep its book in the green with a little less external funding.

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Secret behind MTN’s blistering performance

Despite COVID-19 disruptions, MTN Nigeria’s 2020 financials showed marked improvements compared to its 2019-year-end.

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NCC, MTN’s parent company faults regulator’s recommendation for data price reduction, MTN Nigeria reacts to poor internet as network issues go beyond Nigeria 

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) released its audited financial results for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.

Despite a challenging 2020 to individuals and businesses caused by COVID-19 disruptions, MTN Nigeria’s financial and non-financial information showed marked improvements compared to its 2019-year-end as well as prior quarters of 2020 results that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indeed, the evolving pandemic which intensified lockdown, remote working, and work-from-home procedures, appeared to have led to increased adoption of MTN Nigeria data and digital services.

Specifically, year-on-year on non-financial information, mobile subscribers increased by 12.2 million to 76.5 million; active data users increased by 7.4 million to 32,6 million while the company’s mobile money business continued to accelerate with a 269.2 % increase in the number of registered agents to over 395,000 and 4.7 million active subscribers from approximately 553,000 in 2019.

Year-on-year on financial information, service revenue increased by 14.7 % to NGN1.3 trillion driven principally by voice (with revenue growth of 5.9 %) and data revenues (rising by 52.2 % led by increased data use and traffic); profit before tax (PBT) grew by 2.6 % to N298.9 billion; profit after tax (PAT) increased by 0.9 % to N205.21 billion; while Earnings per share (EPS) rose by 0.9 % to N10.1 (N9.93, 2019).

Nonetheless, significant increases were noted in its operating expenditure as well as capital expenditure. First, there was a 2.3 % increase in operating expenses arising from the rollout of new sites and the impact of naira currency depreciation affecting the costs of MTN Nigeria lease contracts. Secondly, EBITDA margin declined by 2.5 %age points to 50.9 % (from 53.4 % in 2019) There were also other significant cost rises including a 25.4 % increase in net finance cost, and 19.4 % increase in capital expenditure which had a 11.7 % knock-on increase in depreciation and amortization costs.

On the back of the year-end result, MTN Nigeria has proposed a final dividend per share (DPS) of N5.90 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable income and brings the total dividend for the year to N9.40 kobo per share, representing an increase of 18.7 %. MTN Nigeria paid N4.97 as final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019. This was in addition to an interim dividend of N2.95, which brought its total 2019 dividend to N7.92 per share.

The proposed dividend implies a yield of 3.4%. Having paid an interim dividend of NGN3.50 in 2020, the proposed dividend, if approved, will bring the total dividend per share to NGN9.40 or c.19% higher compared with 2019.  We expect a positive reaction from the market due to the marked improvement in earnings. However, the market’s reaction may be dampened by negative investor sentiments on equities arising from the uptick in yields on fixed-income securities.

We expect that the introduction of additional customer registration requirements requiring subscriber records are updated with respective National Identity Numbers (NIN), and the continued suspension of the sale and activation of new SIM cards will affect subscriber growth.

MTNN share price remains unchanged at the end of trading yesterday at N174 per share.


 

Tade Fadare PhD, is an economist, and a professionally qualified accountant, banker and stockbroker. He has significant experience working or consulting for financial institutions in Europe, North America, and Africa.

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