The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debited twenty-six banks, including merchant banks, to the tune of N459.7 billion for failure to meet their CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) obligations. The fresh debit, which Nairametrics reliably gathered occurred yesterday, has left many stakeholders in the banking sector very upset.
The details: Among the banks that were most affected are United Bank for Africa Plc (N82.3 billion), First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (N59.3), Zenith Bank Plc (N50 billion), First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited (N45 billion), and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N40 billion). The rest of the affected banks can be seen in the table below.
Note that the latest CRR debits are coming barely one month after a lot of banks were collectively debited to the tune of N1.4 trillion for the same reason in April. Between then and now, a lot of other minor CRR debits have occurred. Nairametrics understands that the apex bank now debits banks on a weekly basis.
Some backstory: During the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that was held last month, committee members voted to retain CRR rate at 27.5%. The rate was increased in January this year by 5% to its current level after the apex bank cited inflationary pressure concerns. What this means, therefore, is that Nigerian banks are required to keep 27.5% of their deposits as CRR with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
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But banks are silently upset: Sadly, this move, in addition to similar policies by the CBN, has left many banks cash-strapped and unable to pursue various profitable ventures. While reacting to the latest development, a banker who refused to be identified, said:
“What we’ve seen in recent times is that the CBN just indiscriminately debits banks, usually towards the stale-end of every week. They will look at your bank account and if your liquidity is plenty, they will debit you.
“You know the central bank also does what we call retail FX intervention, that is when they sell FX to corporates. Now, because they don’t want banks coming with huge demands, what they do is that a day before the FX sales, they debit the banks so that the naira you have available is small and you cannot put them under pressure because of your FX demands. That has really been the driver.
“We understand that the central bank had set up a special CRR team that is supposed to monitor banks’ CRR once a month. But now, the team monitors banks’ CRR on a weekly basis. This is why the central bank is effectively debiting banks on a weekly basis. Some weeks ago, they debited some banks about N1.4 trillion. That was one of many. Between that time and now, there have been more debits that have happened. But the debits that are huge/significant are what is troubling the banks. There was a N300 billion that happened about two weeks ago. and then yesterday that was this N459.7 billion that was also debited.
“These are huge amounts that are leaving the banking sector. It’s a squeeze on the banks. A bank like First Bank, for instance, has about N1.4 trillion in CRR with the Central Bank. And there is Zenith Bank with equally as much as N1.5 trillion. These are monies that banks can potentially put in loans at 52% at 30%, or even put in money market instruments at maybe 10%. So, for a shareholder of these banks, this CRR debits are impairing the banks’ ability to increase their earnings because now are not able to use the funds that are legitimately theirs to create money for their shareholders. And the question is that under what framework is the Central Bank choosing to take people’s money?”
Heterodox Policies: The CBN has deployed several policies in the past two years that defy conventional solutions wisdom all in a bit to contain the devaluation of the naira and support fiscal measures that are yet to be complimentary.
This is why some analysts suggest this CRE policy is another one of those policies. An analyst with knowledge of this matter inform Nairametrics that it appears the CBN no longer relies on the 22.5% CRR charge but rather arbitrarily debit bank accounts.
Understanding CRR: The cash reserve requirement is the minimum amount banks are expected to retain with the Central Bank of Nigeria from customer deposits. In January, the CRR was increased by 5% to 27.5% by the CBN Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who explained that the decision was intended to address monetary-induced inflation whilst retaining the benefits from the CBN’s LDR policy.
Fidelity Bank to raise N50 billion in bonds in Q4 to refinance existing debts
The new issue will be made to redeem the existing N30 billion bond which was issued at 16.48%.
One of Nigeria’s second-tier commercial banks, Fidelity Bank Plc, has concluded plans to issue up to N50 billion ($131.3 million) in local bonds by the fourth quarter of 2020, in order to refinance existing debts as the yields drop.
The disclosure was made by the Chief Operations and Information Officer, Gbolahan Joshua, during an analyst call on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
The crash of crude oil price globally, which was triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic, has led to a decline in bond yields on the local debt market. This has made foreign investors to dump their local assets, leaving excess liquidity in the money market. This has also put a lot of pressure on the foreign exchange market as they look for dollars to repatriate their funds.
The Fidelity Bank top executive disclosed that the new issue will be made to redeem the existing N30 billion bond which was issued at 16.48%.
The global economic situation has seen yields in the debt market drop from as high as 18% about 3 years ago to less than 5% for the one-year treasury bill.
Fidelity Bank had revealed that it expected to see a 15% drop in profit this year when compared to 2019 result due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its profit after tax increased by 21.9% to N12 billion for the half-year 2020.
The second-tier bank also disclosed that its income declined in the second quarter due to a downward review of lending rates on loans as a result of the economic downturn.
Heineken buys more units of Nigerian Breweries Plc
The Dutch firm has invested N276 million in NB since August, to increase its stake in the Brewer by 0.10%.
The major shareholder of the largest brewer in Nigeria, Heineken Brouwerijen B.V, has increased its stake in Nigerian Breweries, with the purchase of 233,110 additional units of Nigerian Breweries shares. This was disclosed by the company in a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which was seen by Nairametrics.
According to the notification, which was signed by the Company’s Secretary, Uaboi G. Agbebaku, the purchase was made on the bourse over two transactions on the 2nd and 3rd of September.
This disclosure is a regulatory requirement that must be reported to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially when a major shareholder or director of a publicly quoted company purchases shares in the company they own.
The analysis of these transactions indicates that the purchase consideration for the 233,110 additional units of Nigeria Breweries shares at an average price of N39.94 is put at N9.3 million.
This purchase and previous purchases further cement Heineken Brouwerijen B.V’s status as a major shareholder; the company has accumulated a total of 7,720,236 since 30th June.
As of June 30th, when Nigerian Breweries released its Half-year financial results and reviewed its shareholding pattern, the company had exactly 7,996,902,051 outstanding shares, with Heineken Brouwerijen B.V being the majority shareholder with 3,019,363,804 units, which amount to 37.76% of the total shares of the company outstanding.
Hence, with the current purchase of 233,110 additional units, and previous purchases in August and September 1, which amount to 7,487,126 units, Heineken’s ownership percentage of Nigeria Breweries is now put at 37.85%.
Insider transactions, both sales and purchases, are often an indication of how shareholders perceive a company’s valuation. It could also mean a possible capital raise or that the majority shareholders are strengthening their existing holdings.
In like manners, the purchase of the shares of Nigerian Breweries by Heineken and other majority shareholder has mopped up stray volumes on the bourse, and pushed the stock price higher by 29% or N9, from N31 it closed at on the 3rd of August to its current value of N40 with 38.2x earnings.
About the company
Nigerian breweries is the largest brewing company in Nigeria. It engages in the brewing and marketing of lager beer, stout and non-alcoholic malt drinks, and the bottling of the Schweppes range of soft drinks and Crush Orange. Its brands include Star, Gulder, Legend, Heineken, Maltina, Amstel Malta, Fayrouz, Climax, Goldberg, Malta Gold, and Life. These products are mainly sold in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.
Key takes on NB’s financials
Nigerian Breweries was affected by the disruption in the global and domestic demand and supply chain, as profit after tax of the largest brewer dropped by as much as 58%, at the back of the adverse impact of the sharp contraction in economic activities.
The knock-on effect of the COVID-19 lockdown, which affected the trade segment of the business, affected the company sales and this triggered the 11% drop in revenue in the first half of the year.
Nestle’s parent company increases stakes in Nestle Nigeria in August
The purchase consideration for the 748,047 additional shares at an average price of N1,174.74 is put at N878.8 million.
Nestle S.A, Switzerland, the parent company of Nestle Nigeria Plc and the majority shareholder of the company, has increased its stake in the Nigerian subsidiary, as it purchased about 748,047 additional shares in August.
This was disclosed by the company in a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which is seen by Nairametrics.
This disclosure is a regulatory requirement which must be reported to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially when a major shareholder or director of a publicly quoted company purchases shares in the company they own.
The analysis of this development shows that the purchase consideration for the 748,047 additional shares at an average price of N1,174.74 is put at N878.8 million.
Importantly, this purchase increases the ownership percentage of Nestle S.A, this adds significantly to the multinational’s investment in the company as the parent company now owns 66.27% of Nestle Nigeria Plc.
The 66.27% ownership share of Nestle S.A. total amounts to 525, 307, 504 ordinary shares worth N617 billion out of the 792, 656, 252 shares outstanding.
Meanwhile, insiders’ transactions both sales and purchases are often an indication of how shareholders perceive the company’s valuation. It could also mean a possible capital raise or the majority shareholders strengthening their existing holdings.
About the company
Nestlé Nigeria PLC is one of the largest food and beverage companies in Africa. Nestlé Nigeria Plc engages in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of food products including purified water. It also exports some of its products to other countries within Africa.
It has three product segments: Food, Beverages and seasoning. The Food segment engages in the production and sale of Cerelac, Nutrend, Nan, Lactogen and Golden Morn. The Beverages segment engages in the production and sale of Milo, Chocomilo, Nido, Nescafe and Nestlé Pure Life. While the seasoning segment engages in the sale of Maggi cubes.
Key takes on Nestle financials
Nairametrics had earlier published after perusing through the company’s half-year unaudited financial report that the increase in the cost of sales, Administrative expenses, low finance income coupled with high costs coloured the bottom line of the company as earnings per share dipped from N33.11 to N27.53.
This shows the knock-on-effect of the pandemic on a giant like Nestle, despite grappling hard to keep revenues flat year on year, the increase in key costs still ebbed earnings.