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Companies

Lasaco Assurance blames COVID-19, remote working for late filing of financial statement

The auditors working on the report gave reasons why they could not meet up with the deadline.

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Lasaco Assurance

Lasaco Assurance Plc announced, yesterday, that its inability to meet the deadline for filing its audited FY 2019 financial statement is because of the unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a public disclosure that was signed by the Company Secretary, Gertrude Olutekunbi, as seen by Nairametrics, the auditors working on the report could not meet up with the deadline because they were working remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The statement further disclosed that the auditors were finally able to submit the audited financial statement on June 2nd, 2020. In the meantime, the financial report is expected to be filed with the NSE, latest by June 29th, after the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) must have given its approval.

READ ALSO: Why these companies remain on NSE’s delisting radar

“Lasaco Assurance PLC (the Company), hereby informs The Nigerian Stock Exchange, distinguished shareholders and the general public, of the Company’s inability to submit its Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the year ended 31st December 2019 within the stipulated period. 

“This unavoidable state of affairs arose out of the necessity of working remotely during the Covid-19 lockdown period. The conclusion of the audit was thus affected, as the Auditors were only able to present the Audited Financial Statements on Wednesday 2nd June 2020,” part of the statement said.

It should, however, be noted that this is not the first time Lasaco Assurance Plc is missing the regulatory deadline for filing its financial statement. An earlier report by Nairametrics noted that the insurer was among the companies that were recently filed by the Nigerian bourse to the tune of N150 million for various regulatory breaches.

More so, the Compliance Status Indicator Code for Lasaco Assurance Plc says “MRF”. This simply means that the company is guilty of missing a regulatory filing deadline.

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Lasaco Assurance Plc is a Lagos-based financial services firm that offers insurance and brokerage services. The company has a market valuation of about N1.9 billion, according to information obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Its stock opened trading today on the Nigerian bourse at N0.26.

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.

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Companies

First Bank’s board replacement won’t affect profitability – Fitch

CBN’s remedial actions will not have a material effect on the group’s asset quality, profitability and capitalisation.

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Fitch Ratings has affirmed that the recent First Bank board replacement will not affect the bank’s profitability and asset quality, as it rates the bank at B- with a negative outlook.

This was disclosed by the rating firm via a statement seen by Nairametrics.

According to the rating firm, the development reflects its view that the impact of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s replacement of FBNH and FBN Ltd boards, the identification of corporate governance failings and the imposition of corrective measures are tolerable at the rating level.

What Fitch is saying

It stated, “We have assessed the near-term financial impact of these actions on FBNH and FBN and believe this is tolerable at the rating level, even though the final outcome is uncertain. In our view, any remedial actions imposed by the CBN, including a potential reclassification of related-party exposures as impaired, will not have a material effect on the group’s asset quality, profitability and capitalisation.

However, this does not consider any possible additional actions by the CBN, especially if FBN fails to implement the regulator’s corrective measures or if there were any further uncovering of corporate governance irregularities.

The Outlook remains Negative, reflecting FBNH’s pre-existing asset quality and capitalisation weaknesses as well as the group’s corporate governance weaknesses highlighted by the CBN. These could put pressure on the ratings.”

What drives First Bank’s rating

FBNH is the non-operating holding company that owns FBN. FBNH’s ratings are aligned with those of FBN (which represents around 90% of consolidated group assets) due to high capital and liquidity fungibility within the group, and low double leverage (at 95% at end-1H20) at the holding company level.

It added that FBNH’s IDR is driven by its intrinsic creditworthiness, as defined by its ‘b-‘ Viability Rating (VR). The rating, according to Fitch, considers the group’s exposure to Nigeria’s volatile operating environment and also factors in vulnerability in its capital position in the context of moderate earnings generation and asset-quality pressures, where headroom above the minimum regulatory capital requirements is also moderate. Capitalisation is a factor of high importance to VR.

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“The new boards appointed to FBNH and FBN comprise individuals with sufficient experience and expertise. However, we view such major change as hugely disruptive. There are no changes in FBNH and FBN’s executive management team.

“We believe the governance shortcomings cited by the CBN reflect poorly on FBNH’s reputation and on the group’s governance and control practices. As a result, we have revised down our assessment of FBNH’s Management and Strategy score to ‘b-‘ from ‘b’.

“We also assigned a negative outlook to this factor, which reflects the uncertainty surrounding additional remedial actions that the CBN may impose due to these related party exposures as well as the potential for further uncovering of governance irregularities. It also captures the lack of track record of the new board and its ability to restore confidence in FBNH and FBN,” it added.

Asset quality remains a rating weakness. FBNH reported an improved impaired loan ratio of 7.9% at end-1Q21 (end-2020: 7.7%). However, FBNH’s reported reserve coverage of 54.5% at end-1Q21 (end-2020: 48%) remains significantly weaker than domestic peers’.

“Our assessment indicates that if the related-party loan highlighted by the CBN were classified as impaired, the ratio would be unlikely to be above 10% (excluding any new impaired loan generation from ordinary business),” Fitch added.

What you should know

On 29 April 2021, the CBN removed the non-executive directors on the boards of FBNH and FBN and replaced them with new individuals appointed by the apex bank, according to Nairametrics.

The CBN gave a series of reasons for its action including the unjustified and unapproved change of the bank’s MD/CEO by the former board, corporate governance failings pertaining to long-standing insider loans that were affecting the bank’s capitalisation and failure to comply with regulatory directives.

Jaiz bank

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Appointments

Airtel Nigeria announces appointment of Surendran as new Chief Executive Officer

Airtel Nigeria, has announced the appointment of Mr C. Surendran as the new MD/CEO with effect from August 1, 2021.

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Like MTN, is Airtel Nigeria considering listing?

Telecommunications giant, Airtel Nigeria, has announced the appointment of Mr C. Surendran as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer with effect from August 1, 2021.

Surendran would be replacing the outgoing Managing Director and Chief Executive of Airtel Nigeria, Olusegun Ogunsanya, who has been elevated to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc with effect from October 1, 2021.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria, this disclosure is contained in a statement issued by Airtel on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Lagos.

READ: Airtel Africa signs new $500 million loan with Bank of America, HSBC, others

The statement says that Surendran would also be appointed to the Executive Committee (ExCo) as Regional Operating Director, reporting to the CEO of Airtel Africa plc, and onto the Board of Airtel Networks (Nigeria) Limited.

Airtel in its statement said, “Surendran has been with Bharti Airtel since 2003 and has contributed immensely in various roles across customer experience, sales and business operations.

He was the Chief Executive Officer of Karnataka, which is the largest circle in Airtel India, with over one billion dollars in revenue.

Surendran delivered an exceptional performance with significant movement in Revenue Market Share (RMS) over the last few years, currently at 54 percent. He has over 30 years of business experience, including 15 years at Xerox.’’

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Airtel said that Surendran would transition into his new role from June 1, 2021, and spend the time onboarding into the business until July 31, 2021.

READ: Meet the latest billionaires on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

In case you missed it

It can be recalled that a few days ago, Airtel Africa Plc, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Nigeria and 13 other countries, announced the appointment of Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya as the new Chief Executive Officer, following the notice of retirement given by the current Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Raghunath Mandava, to the Board.

In the notification sent by Airtel Africa to the Nigerian Exchange, Ogunsanya is expected to join the board of Airtel Africa with effect from October 1, 2021.

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