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Transcript of VFD Group’s conference call for FY 2019 results presentation

VFD Group plans to defer loan repayments by up to 90 days for businesses directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

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VFD Group Limited, Vbank

VFD Group Plc recently held an earnings call to discuss  its audited full-year 2019 financial statements and Q1 2020 unaudited financial statement. Below is the transcript of the conference call.

Operator: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the VFD Group Plc Financial Year End (FYE) 2019 and Q1 2020 results presentation. All participants will be listen-only mode. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions at the end of today’s presentation. If you should need assistance during the conference, please signal an operator by pressing star and then zero. Please note that this conference is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to Niyi Adenubi, the Executive Director, Institutional Banking and Investor Relations of VFD Group Plc. Please go ahead, sir.

Niyi Adenubi: Thank you. I welcome you all to VFD Group Plc’s Full Year 2019 and Q1 2020 Earnings Call. We have prepared detailed presentation highlighting our financial performance vis a vis regulatory changes and macroeconomic environment in FYE 2019 and Q1 2020. This has previously been shared with you and will also be projected here. With me here are: Nonso Okpala, the Group Managing Director; Mobolaji Adewumi, Executive Director, Finance; Gbenga Omolokun, Executive Director, Risk & Compliance; Azubike Emodi, Executive Director, Commercial; and Dipo Adeoye, the Chief Operating Officer.

Let me begin this presentation with a summary of our journey to building a solid and reputable investment firm with a global reach. VFD Group Plc has grown significantly in the last 10 years from a financial service holding company to a well-diversified investment firm with an aim to have a foothold in all sectors of the financial services industry and other industry such as the hospitality business. Our subsidiaries include: VFD Bridge; VFD Microfinance Bank; Everdon Bureau De change; Anchoria Asset Management; Dynasty Real Estate; Kairos Capital and recent investment in Atiat Leasing Limited and Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc.
I will now turn the call over to Bolaji for the review of the financial performance.

Bolaji Adewumi: Thanks, Niyi, and good day all. I refer you to Slide 10-17 of our presentation material, where you will find summary financials for FYE 2019 and Q1 2020. Today we will examine our financials for both FYE 2019 and Q1 2020 simultaneously.

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Our Gross Earnings grew significantly in 2019 by 132% due to 94% growth in the interest income and 173% growth in the Non-Interest Income on a year on year basis. However, in Q1 2020 we saw a decline in the Gross Earnings by 27% due to the significant decrease in Non-Interest Income by 35%. The high Non-Interest Income recorded in Q1 2019 is due to disposal of a material stake in NEM at a profit in Q1 2019. Also, the interest income declined by 11% due to declining yield environment. Income from trading and placement dropped significantly by c688% and 199% yoy respectively. We also witnessed in Q1 2020, a fall of 7% in interest expense from N317 million to N293 million as the Group benefitted from repricing customers’ Deposit rate due to declining interest rate environment in the country.
The Operating income grew by 136% in FYE 2019 due to significant growth in Net interest income and other operating Income. A key driver of the growth includes: a 1,067% growth in Fees Income from N54 million to N636 million; 525% growth in Gain from disposal of shares; and 5,700% from other income. In Q1 2020, the Operating income fell by 30% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2019 due to fall in Non-interest Income as mentioned earlier.

In terms of total expenses, the OPEX rose on a year on year basis by 155% in FYE 2019 and by 158% in Q1 2020. This is due to increased Staff cost which includes a continuous human capital capacity enhancement via strategic hires and promotions across the Group and also increase in marketing cost. However, despite increasing operating expense the firm has demonstrated effort to improve our operational efficiency through the increase in revenue base. The cost to income ratio fell from 61% in FYE 2018 to 56% in FYE 2019.

READ ALSO: VFD Group meets nutritional needs of residents of Olowogbowo community

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The growth in the PAT seen in FYE 2019 of 127% was driven by efficient balance sheet Management, improved treasury management, increased income generating activity and effective deployment of cost optimization strategy across the Group. Although in Q1 2020, the PAT fell by 75% due to increase in OPEX and decrease in Gross Earnings, however, as at end of Q1 2020 the Group was on track to ensure achievement of the forecast for the 2020 financial year.
In terms of Asset, the firm continually grew its asset base for both its Interest Earning and Non-Interest Earning Asset. The composition of the Interest Earning Asset and Non-Interest Earning Assets as FYE 2019 is put at 60% and 40% respectively while in Q1 2020 contribution of Interest Earning Asset fell to 53%. Drop is due to deployment of liquidity to potentially higher earning investments (equity investment, arbitrage type transactions).

Due to relative improvement in the lending environment in 2019 following the conduct of general elections and improved macroeconomic variables, our Loans and advances rose to N4.48 billion, a 76.38% increase from N2.54 billion in FYE 2018. Also, the narrative was the same in Q1 2020, as loans and advances rose by 28.89% YTD to N6.29 billion. We are committed to strengthening our credit culture while putting in place robust risk management framework even during the period of Covid-19 and post Covid-19 pandemic.

Our shareholders’ fund closed at N5.98 billion in FYE 2019 from N1.54 billion in FYE 2018 following the successful conduct of private placement and right issues and as Retained Earnings increased. In Q1 2020, a 2% YTD increase was added to the shareholders’ fund due to increase in Revenue Reserve by 3.5% YTD.

I will now turn the call over to Nonso for the strategic review and focus for Q2 2020

Nonso Okpala: Thank you, Bolaji. Good day everyone and trust you’ve been staying safe. You must agree with me that at an unprecedented time like this, we must come together and help each other navigate through it by showing more empathy to our people, clients and shareholders.

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As such, one of our subsidiaries, VFD MFB has created COVID Relief package, solely designed to offer succor to clients whose businesses may be adversely affected by the pandemic through the following:

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1) Deferring loan repayments by up to 90 days for businesses directly affected by the pandemic.

2) Restructuring of loans to reflect the deferment and ensure credit bureau records are not impacted negatively.

3) Waiving restructure and default fees.

4) Provision of adequate online support to ensure seamless financial transactions.

5) Offering of special loan packages for our existing clients (with good borrowing records and no current loans).

Moving to our core Q1 2020 strategic achievement, the firm has successfully concluded its first phase of its digital bank initiative through a soft launch of VFD Digital Bank App which has recorded over 100,000 downloads with positive reviews from users, media houses and industry experts as at the end of Q1 2020. Also, in line with the firm’s aim of acquiring a commercial banking license, we are pleased to announce that we successfully acquire 35% stake in Abbey Mortgage bank. This synergy presents us both new client base, expansion in geographical reach and a strong value chain to our real estate subsidiary, Dynasty Real Estate.
Still on acquisition of companies, we successful invested in Atiat Leasing Limited which is in line with our strategic objectives of establishing a foothold in all sectors of the financial service industry. Atiat Leasing Limited specializes in various forms of vehicle and equipment leasing. We intend to expand the company’s business to include vehicle sales and servicing. This we believe will complement our existing auto lending business in addition.
With respect to our strategic outlook for Q2 2020 we are committed to driving an effective and sustainable business growth despite an unprecedented time like this by:

1) Acquiring more customers and ensure that our retention strategies are on track.

2) Establishing a global investment structure in order to become a more commercially viable proprietary investment company with global influence focused on building positive and socially conscious ecosystem.

3) Operationalizing our newly established tech arm – VFD Tech, VFD Tech will focus on providing all technology related services to VFD Group and its subsidiary companies.

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4) Optimizing our hospitality businesses for increase profitability and efficiency.

Before I close, I would like to speak on the guidance for Q2 2020 which is presented on page 17 of the presentation. We expect the Gross Earnings to grow to N1.92 billion in Q2 2020 from N1.27 billion in Q1 2020. The Non-interest income is expected to contribute 79% while interest Income contributes 21%. Profit before Tax (PBT) is expected to close the quarter at N0.55 billion.
This concludes the performance overview. I will now leave the lines open for questions. Thank you very much.

Operator: Thank you very much sir. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time if you would like to ask a question, you’re welcome to press star and then one on your touchtone phone or the keypad on your screen and that will place you in the question queue. If however you decide to withdraw the question you are welcome to press the star then two on your touchtone phone to remove yourself on the question queue. Just a reminder, should you wish to ask a question, you’re welcome to press the star and then one. For the benefit of the participants who have joined via the webcast, you are welcome to pose questions in the question box provided on your screen…


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Economy & Politics

Nigeria needs $3trillion in 30 years to reduce infrastructure deficit – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that Nigeria will need $3trillion in the next 30 years to reduce its infrastructural deficit.

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Solar, FG to slash import duties on tractors, buses, others in 2020 Finance Bill, Nigeria will not issue Eurobonds, says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, FG guarantees mortgage loan to low income buyers at low interest rate, FG inaugurates gold refinery project in a landmark event

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said Nigeria will need $3trillion in the next 30 years to reduce its infrastructural deficit.

He disclosed this while featuring at a webinar organized by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

Osinbajo told the webinar that Nigeria needs to adopt new models of investments for infrastructural developments because relying on public expenditure alone is not sustainable.

READ: How digital transformation will impact Nigeria’s projected $8.79 billion economic expansion

The seminar discussed the roles of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in developing Nigerian infrastructure. The Vice President said Nigeria still face a huge infrastructural deficit, despite government investment which is a roadblock to rapid economic growth.

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The Federal Government recognizes this fact, which is why we are considering other approaches to complement and boost financing for the development and maintenance of infrastructure in Nigeria.

READ: Nigeria’s Broadband subscriptions peak at 82.7m – Prof. Danbatta

“It is clear that this deficit can only be made up by private investment. Private sector is 92 per cent of GDP, while the public sector is mere 8 per cent. So, the synergy between the public and private sector through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) is really the realistic solution.

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“The fact that only N2.49 trillion was appropriated for capital expenditure in 2020, reflects the importance of deliberate and pragmatic action to boost infrastructural spending.

READ: #EndSARS: Infrastructure and Works, Education, 3 others are prioritised in Lagos’ 2021 budget

“It seems to me to be quite clear that the financial outlay and management capability required for infrastructural development and service delivery outstrip the financial and technical resources available to government.

“In other words, the traditional method of building infrastructure through budgetary allocations is inadequate and set to become harder because of increasingly limited fiscal space,” he said.

READ: FEC okays FMBN’s request to purchase banking application software for N487.39 million

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He revealed that the FG has launched a series of PPP’s to enable Nigeria meet its infrastructure deficit needs, citing the roles of agencies like the BPE with PPP’s.

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The Federal Government has recently issued a circular on the administration of PPP projects in the country to provide the much-needed clarity.

READ: AfDB to support FERMA with $10 billion for roads, others 

“The circular re-emphasises that the BPE shall be responsible for the concession of public enterprises and infrastructure already listed in the First and Second Schedules of the Public Enterprises Act.

“The circular equally stipulates that the BPE shall act on behalf of the Federal Government, as the counterparty on all infrastructure projects being developed on a PPP basis,” he said.

READ: CBN launches Private Sector-led Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme

He disclosed that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) would continue to act as the regulatory agency for PPP transactions, with directives including inspections and monitoring PPP projects.

“It is expected that this new policy direction would provide clarity to stakeholders and foster the improvement of PPP programmes in the country.

“Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the multilateral agencies and our development partners are urged to support the PPP policy objectives and institutional arrangements already put up by government,” he said.

READ: FG says vehicle owners to pay N250,000 to convert from petrol to autogas

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What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last month that Moody Investors Services revealed that Nigeria needs to spend about $3 trillion in over 30 years to bridge the infrastructural gap experienced in the country.
  • The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, revealed that the Federal Government needs at least N500 billion annually for the next 3 years to develop and fix its 35,000 kilometres road network, as work continues on 13,000 kilometres of the network.
  • Nairametrics also reported last month that the FG approved the establishment of an infrastructure company that will be wholly focused on critical infrastructural investments in the country.

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Tech News

Stripe plans corporate banking services for merchants, vendors

Stripe Inc is partnering with American elite banks in offering corporate-banking services to its merchants and vendors.

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Stripe Inc, one of the most valuable start-ups on this planet, is partnering with American elite banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. in offering corporate-banking services.

This is as the fast-rising startup, known for simplifying payment, seeks to diversify its business offering, amid a competitive ecosystem that includes PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Adyen.

What this means

Stripe, best known for handling millions of online businesses and e-commerce web pages, will soon start offering some of its client’s interest yielding bank accounts, debit cards, and other cash-management services, according to a report credited to WSJ.

However, these service offerings listed are for its merchants and vendors that do business with Stripe.

  • Recall Nairametrics revealed how Stripe had raised $600 million to invest and acquire payments companies in developing nations. It disclosed that Nigerian startup, Paystack, had been on Stripe’s bucket list for a while since 2018 when Stripe led an $8 million funding round for it.
  •  Stripe acquired Paystack for an undisclosed deal believed to be worth over $200 million, making it the biggest fintech startup acquisition to date to come out of Nigeria, as well as Stripe’s biggest acquisition to date.

Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, spoke on the company’s strategy at the time it acquired Paystack. He said:

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“Stripe thinks on a longer time horizon than others, because we are an infrastructure company. We are thinking of what the world will look like in 2040-2050.”

He added that Stripe also planned to understand the ecosystem and keep its eyes open so it would see where help was needed, as the company did not tie up its investments into “complicated strategic investments.”

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 3rd of December 2020, 343 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 68,303 confirmed cases.

On the 3rd of December 2020, 343 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.

To date, 68,303 cases have been confirmed, 64,291 cases have been discharged and 1,179 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 779,708 tests have been carried out as of December 3rd, 2020 compared to 756,237 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 3rd December 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 68,303
  • Total Number Discharged – 64,291
  • Total Deaths – 1,179
  • Total Tests Carried out – 779,708

According to the NCDC, the 343 new cases were reported from 14 states- FCT (123) Lagos (106) Kaduna (72) Nasarawa (14) Rivers(5), Bauchi (4), Imo (4), Ogun (4), Ekiti (3) Edo (2), Oyo (2), Plateau (2) Akwa Ibom (1) and Kano (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,545, followed by Abuja (6,991), Plateau (3,904), Oyo (3,730), Kaduna (3,245), Rivers (3,001), Edo (2,705), Ogun (2,237), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,799), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332),  Kwara (1,110), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,030), Osun (947), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (778), and Borno (745).

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Imo State has recorded 681 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (493), Bayelsa (456),  Ekiti (377), Akwa Ibom (340), Jigawa (331), Niger (298), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (166), Taraba (163), Yobe (100), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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