Once again, the patriotism of Nigerians towards Made-in-Nigeria goods has been put on the spotlight after a clash ensued among Nigerians over the market value of Innoson SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). There was also an accusation that the vehicle was a replica of a Chinese vehicle brand, BAIC Motors.
Made-in-Nigeria products have been struggling to gain acceptance among Nigerians for years. While cement manufacturers like Dangote and BUA have succeeded in making the cement market theirs, manufacturers of some other products especially in the automobile industry have struggled to compete foreign-made products. One of these manufacturers is Innoson, the manufacturer of Innoson Vehicles.
Despite being the pride of Nigeria, which is cost-effective compared to foreign brands in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicles is still fighting for relevance among Nigerians, and the latest outburst towards the worth of one of its cars and the creative design of Innoson’s engineers show that some Made-in-Nigeria goods still have a long way to go.
Collison against Innoson
In the era of support Naija-to-grow-naira, it is surprising that the condemnation was almost deafening. The Nigerian automaker had supported the Big Brother Naija reality TV show that was organised for Nigerians, so one would think it was a collaboration from heaven but some Nigerians did not see it that way.
The criticism of Innoson brands was based on the company’s originality in the design of its vehicles and its price. The Innoson SUV has a striking resemblance with the Chinese car, BAIC BJ80.
Innoson IVM80 vs Chinese BAIC BJ80
— 🔥Sàngó Olúkòso🔥 (@Otunbakush1) October 9, 2019
Make we no lie…..this Innoson motor ugly die https://t.co/MISRZU9fkb
— 🔥Sàngó Olúkòso🔥 (@Otunbakush1) October 8, 2019
Finally someone says it! They honestly need to come up with finer designs not all these war-like vehicle designs
— Tall Fine Boy 🔥 (@DarrenViktoh) October 8, 2019
Exactly! C’mon 25 million for this?? Innoson can do better now haba
— Tall Fine Boy 🔥 (@DarrenViktoh) October 8, 2019
@innosonvehicles This is Very Welcome And Commendable ..I want to advise that your designers of Cars Need to be Sack..
— Blessed 🙏🙌 (@ibeh_ALIBABA) October 8, 2019
It's like Nigeria is synonymous with mediocrity, even private businesses, because I don't get how you want to build a car brand, and not hire mad designers.
— DaRth ToBi BoY 🥴 (@fthsya) October 8, 2019
Sey na this car they value 30mil. They have scammed us after all the huge Manet made.
— Olubambo adetayo (@olubamboadetayo) October 8, 2019
Upgrade Honda Element
— Cookies Policy (@trendyatso) October 8, 2019
25 million go buy me better C300 2016 with some change instead of this towing van
— U•M•D (@_Makoji) October 8, 2019
Did it inform of hummer, dude been copying lots of old designs lately…
— ☀FELA¤▲THE AVIATOR ⚓️🗽⚔️🛫🛬 (@lagoshrine) October 9, 2019
😂😂😂😂, this is not different from what Kantanka's doing. Rebranding Chinese cars and boasting at the same time, SMH! https://t.co/FnuRELu1f7
— Yeujiin Galison (@yeujiinIOI) October 9, 2019
Many insinuated that the negative reactions towards the Innoson vehicles were tribal sentiments. Some Twitter users said those who condemned the manufacturer did so because Innoson vehicles are manufactured in Anambra, and if the manufacturing factory was located in other regions in the South-West and North, there wouldn’t have been criticism. However, the critics distanced themselves from such a notion.
Supporters of MIN
Innoson was, however, well supported, regardless of the critics’ attempts to belittle its design. According to Nigerians who condemned the criticism of Innoson, there’s no goods or product that doesn’t bear a resemblance to existing brands irrespective of the sector.
I really don't know what you hope to gain in thrashing Innoson vehicles.
Yes they may not be as sleek as the Benzs and Toyotas but what did you expect?
These other guys had almost a century headstart in automobile manufacturing.
You Nigerians are something else 😩
— Adunni Achebe (@_Adadioramma) October 9, 2019
Innoson is better than Benz!
Why do we have problem in supporting made in naija? Be like say na this yamayama talk make Tunde ednut music career collapse. pic.twitter.com/s6BYSStnuu
— League of Gamers (@lxg_fpl) October 9, 2019
When Techno started producing android phones, what was the physical difference with Samsung.?
You see y'All think any of you can bring Innoson motor's down but I'm sowie bro that company is going to get bigger and bigger.
You ethnic bigot. https://t.co/0Lz5zGnQI8
— 👑 Obong Ekpe 🐯🤴🐅 (@Ody_johnson) October 9, 2019
There's an unholy agenda to bring the pedigree of innoson motors to disrepute.
Try to read up the specifications of innoson cars instead of jumping on bandwagon.
I'd advise y'all promote what you love instead of killing what you hate. pic.twitter.com/StRDVPxXOr
— Afam bu Ogbuefi🇳🇬 (@MistaChika) October 9, 2019
What Tunde Ednut said about the Innoson SUV is surprisingly how a lot of Yoruba's view Igbos.
If its fake then its Aba Made.
Permit me to say this.
Ndi Igbo are the most creative, enterprising and hardworking tribe in Nigeria did I even add Richest too. pic.twitter.com/iAxX9kuT37
— South East Focus (@SouthEastNaija) October 9, 2019
Innoson is better than benz pic.twitter.com/6yTBC5ElTz
— Ifi Matthew (@IfiMatthew) October 9, 2019
If we can't appreciate or hype our own home made vehicles (innoson motors) then i don't think we are ready to move forward in this country. No wonder our leaders keep messing around with us cuz they already know that we don't love ourselves. 😥
— I G O D O (@IG0D0) October 9, 2019
— Mary Efombruh (@Mary_Efombruh) October 9, 2019
Innoson's car is ugly??
Even toy car you never produce you dey here dey castigate person product wey even if they sell you three times e no go reach buy am.
— MaziOlisa✍🏽🦁RN (@nee_dles) October 9, 2019
Innoson is ugly but you go collect if dem dash you abi? 🤔
Thunder faya your left yansh dia! pic.twitter.com/IeUm97iA7B
— 🔯 OTUNBA LAMBA 🕉️ (@Elhay16) October 9, 2019
I saw a lot of comments by supposed celebrities, Tunde Ednut and Omo Akin especially on the Innosson jeep given to Mercy. The only reason they are condemning the car is because it's Nigerian made or should i say made in the South East.
— League of Gamers (@lxg_fpl) October 9, 2019
Innoson Vehicles. Made in Nigeria yet despised by Nigerians. Hate all you want but you can’t stop a good thing! ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/Jft2hVnKID
— Umeh (@UmehWrites) October 9, 2019
Copycat in the automotive industry
Replica is not allowed in the automotive industry globally and any automaker involved in copycat design can be sued for copyright infringement and in some cases, unfair competition because the replica is often cheaper and more affordable compared to the original. However, a handful of Chinese automakers have been sued and the court ruled against them.
With the free trade agreement already signed and likely to kickoff soon, it’s important for Nigerians to embrace Made-in-Nigeria goods in order not to be swept away by goods made in other African countries. The acceptance of Made-in-Nigeria goods will improve the production level and reduce unemployment in Nigeria.
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.