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Blurb

African nations sitting on debt volcano

A series of debt defaults will return Africa to the era of the 90s when poverty was rampant and nations defaulted on debt.

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Slower recovery in key markets will drag growth in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021- United Capital report

Africa’s public debt has doubled to nearly half of Africa’s economic output since 2008.

The IMF warned before the coronavirus pandemic in December 2019 that high commodity prices and low demand has forced many African nations to borrow as they did in the 90s. But some will struggle to pay back. 20 of the 54 countries in Africa are near distressed levels or already there, according to the IMF.

Up until 2018, African Nations raised $56 billion in debt. China alone has handed $143 billion to the continent between 2000-2017, raising fears of a new “debt trap imperialism”.

Africa’s debt payment was about 13% of total government revenue before the coronavirus and just 4.7% by 2010.

Meanwhile, Nigeria allocates over 60% of its budget to debt servicing in 2019.

The Head of United Nations Economic Commission For Africa, Vera Songwe says, “ Our leaders have two choices, you either pay obligations to the bondholders or you buy medicine, food, and fuel for the population”.

READ MORE: U.S.A calls for an independent probe of AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina

This has led to debt freezing for African Nations, thanks to the Paris Club, the debt freezing aims to free up cashflow. 25 African Finance Ministers wrote a letter to global economic leaders in April asking for delays in $44 billion worth of debt payments. The Paris Club proposed an eight-month suspension of debt payments valued at $11 billion.

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The Coronavirus has created major setbacks for the global economy as the World Bank expects global economic output to shrink by 5.2% in 2020. Expanding debts in Africa with reduced Economic output to pay for it cannot be ignored.

A series of debt defaults will return Africa to the era of the 90s when poverty was rampant and nations defaulted on debt.

About 29 million Africans are expected to join the already 400 million Africans living in extreme poverty, of which over 80 million of those are in Nigeria.

In 2005, rich nations led by the Paris Club wrote off $100 billion in loans owed by African nations, which was accumulated since the 1960s when newly formed African nations spent heavily on infrastructure and subsidies aiming to create national identified and modernize their nations.

READ MORE:Nigeria needs a bailout

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Some critics believe debt suspension for African nations just postpones the trouble, not solve it. Some countries in Africa did not sign the new debt freezing deals fearing it may affect their credit ratings if they don’t pay on time.

The “elephant in the room” is China. China’s loans to Africa has surpassed the IMF’s and the World Bank’s. Almost 20% of Africa’s entire external debt comes from China. China usually demands collateral in the form of state assets in place of debt relief which leaves African nations without much leverage.

While the West has the leverage of Quantitative Easing to support failing economies during the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa doesn’t. Ghana Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori seeks 3-year suspensions for Africa.

The African debt problem needs an economic output answer, the easiest way to solve that is for African Nations to expand GDP through trade. However, the African Free Trade Agreement has been suspended due to coronavirus.

 

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Blurb

Buy what? Dangote vs BUA Cement

Dangote Cement has a market capitalization of N3.65 trillion, while BUA posts a N2.49 trillion capitalization, but does size win?

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I want to review the performance of the largest quoted companies in Nigeria.

On the Nigerian Stock Exchange, they don’t come any bigger than Dangote Cement (Dangote) and BUA Cement (BUA). Only MTNN stands with both cement companies in terms of market capitalization. Dangote and BUA are both blue-chip companies, in the same sector and both enjoy federal import protection, they also both serve a local market with huge demand for cement.

Which is a better investment? Let us assume I have N100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira,) which should I buy? Let us review both stocks with FY 2020 results they posted. For consistency, I am going to use my trading view terminal numbers.

READ: Dangote Cement joins MTN in the trillion-naira club, as 2020 revenue surpassed N1 trillion

Market Capitalization

First, we talk about capitalization, (Market cap is the number of shares issued x market value of shares ). Dangote Cement has a market capitalization of N3.65 trillion, while BUA posts a N2.49 trillion capitalization. Does size win? Dangote is bigger? Not yet!

Market Price

With N100,000 I can buy about 465 shares of Dangote at N215 a share and 1,360 shares of BUA at N73.50 per share. Is BUA cheaper? do we have a winner? Not quite. Let us dig deeper.

Dangote Cement posted a Net Income figure of N276 billion, if we divide this earning by the number of issued shares which is 17 billion, we get an Earnings Per Share (EPS) of N16.14, so every share of Dangote Cement earns (not pays) the investors N16. Similarly, the Earning Per Share of BUA is N2.0

READ: BUA Cement loses N162 billion in market value in a week

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Thus when I buy Dangote Cement N215 per share, I am buying 16 times the earnings of Dangote. We can simplify this by simply comparing the price I pay per share of Dangote to the EPS of Dangote (Price to Earnings Ratio), thus I invest my cash of N215 to buy 16 times the earnings of Dangote, thus the Price to Earnings Ratio of Dangote is 13.31 (P/E). Using the same calculation, the price for each earnings of BUA (the P.E.) is 35.38. This means even though I am paying more cash for each share of Dangote, I am paying less to buy the earnings of Dangote, thus Dangote is cheaper than BUA.

So our first milestone is reached, we have used the Net Income, Market Price, and Number of Issued shared to get the Earnings Per Share, we have then determined what amount of earnings we are buying to determine which stock is at a bargain.

READ: Oba Otudeko’s stakes in Firstbank and Honeywell are worth over N10 billion

What else?

Let us look at the earnings that will be paid in cash. Remember, Earnings, is just the Net Income of Dangote, we as equity holders have the opportunity to share in any portion of the Net Income.

Dangote in 2020 paid out from earnings N272.69 billion as dividends, this translates to about N16 per share or in terms of returns 7.44%. We get this Dividend Yield return by comparing the dividend paid to the market price per share (D/P). BUA also in 2020 paid out N59.26 billion as dividends from earnings, this translates to a dividend yield of 2.81%.

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So, if I invested N100,000 in shares of Dangote Cement, I would earn a cash return of 7.44%, if I did the same with BUA I would earn a cash return of 2.81%.

READ: Jumia: In search of the elusive break-even sales

Let us go a bit deeper…

When you buy a stock, you are buying into the earnings and cash flow. Dangote Cement in 2020 earned N276 billion and paid N272 billion as dividends meaning they retained about N3 billion for that FY while generating over N248b in Free Cash Flow. Similarly, BUA earned a net N71.52 billion, paid out N59 billion in dividends, retained N19 billion but posted a negative Free Cash Flow of (N95.49 billion). Should BUA cement have simply used that cash to finance working capital rather than paying it as dividends? Perhaps. Let us speak more of Cash flow.

Cash retained is cash not paid to you the investor. You have to ask how well your company is utilizing that cash retained. Should it all be paid out as dividends? Or retained in the company to fund expansion and growth?

READ: Three things Nigerians can learn from Warren Buffet’s latest letter

Look at it this way, if Federal Government Bonds were offering a Yield of 15% and we see that Dangote is offering a yield of 7.44%, then as shareholders you should demand that Dangote pays more cash to you to allow you to invest in FGN bonds because you get a higher return (at lower risk). The point is any company retaining cash or paying cash at a lower yield than the market is hurting the investors, who are missing the opportunity of investing higher elsewhere.

Let us score both company managers by how well they have managed the revenues and capital of the companies

 

 Return on Assets %Return on Equity %Return on Invested Capital %EBITA Margin %Net Margin %Debt to AssetsLong Term Debt to Assets
Dangote Cement14.6231.2126.9244.0424.310.240.08
BUA Cement11.1519.1215.3541.8732.030.360.23
FY 2020

Across the board, the management of Dangote Cement has done a better job when compared to BUA Cement in managing the assets of the company. Dangote Return on invested capital is higher with a much lower recourse to debt and of course a higher FCF number.

Overall, on Earning, Returns and Efficiency, it appears Dangote Cement posts better fundamentals…

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Do follow @FinPlanKaluAja1

This is not investment advice, this is not a recommendation to buy or sell. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Speak with your adviser before investing. Equity is risky.

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Blurb

Is something fishy going on at Custodian Plc?

Custodian stock hit a year high just as it announced a Convertible Loan Instrument set to be approved at its AGM.

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Custodian Investment Plc. announces board meeting and closed period, Custodian Investment Plc. announces board meeting and closed period

Custodian Plc, one of the largest insurance companies in Nigeria is currently trading at a new year high of N7.10 and is up 21% year to date. Nairametrics Blurb team has in recent days noticed an upsurge in its share price especially since the company announced its AGM.

As we pen this article, about 2.9 million units have exchanged hand at a share price of N7.

The stock is included in the Pension Index and by some measure quite illiquid. It is also one of the stocks recommended in our Premium Service Stock Select Newsletter thus the need for further introspection.

READ: Buy what? GTBank vs Zenith Bank

Custodian Investment AGM

Typically, when companies announce AGMs we are keenly curious as this is where decisions that can ultimately affect shareholders (especially smaller retail investors) are approved.

In its recent filings, the company stated as follows in item 10.

That the Board of Directors of the Company be and is hereby authorised to:

(a) raise the Naira equivalent of up to $15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million US Dollars), as additional capital through a convertible loan instrument;

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(b) convert the loan in the Naira equivalent of up to $15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million US Dollars) into shares in the Company (the “Conversion Shares”) at a conversion price, being the higher of N6 per share or the 12-month historical average daily share price of the Company derived from the Daily Official List of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (for the period ending on March 23, 2021), subject to adjustment upon the occurrence of certain adjustment events;

(c) allot the Converted Shares to the Lender upon the exercise by the Lender of its right to convert the Loan into shares in the Company, subject to applicable law; and

(d) take steps necessary or reasonably desirable to give effect to the foregoing resolutions and for effecting any transactions pursuant thereto, including the appointment of professional advisers, and the obtention of relevant regulatory approvals.

READ: Notore Chemicals is swimming in debts – company to access equity market in Q2 2021

What this means?

In simple English, the directors of Custodian are seeking the approval of its shareholders to borrow $15 million (N6.1 billion) in convertible loan instrument.

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A convertible loan instrument is simply a loan that you can convert into shares if the lender so wishes. The share price for conversion are predetermined and in this case, they stated N6 per share or the 12-month historical average daily share price of the company’s stock.

If the lender does decide to convert the loans to shares at the current share price of N6 per share, it means about 1 billion shares will be offered to the lender, an equivalent of 17.4% of the total outstanding shares of the company. This loan is in effect, a potential dilution of existing shareholders of the company if it is approved at the AGM.

So why is the company seeking a convertible loan or even diluting its shareholders?

READ: Gains on quoted investment stocks rescued Custodian Investment Plc from loss in Q3 2020

Fishing around for why

Typically when a company decides to raise money via a convertible loan instrument, they are looking for lower interest rates, debt that avoids the burden of periodic repayment, and/or looking to delay when the actual equity is issued. There are also tax considerations at play but not as significant as the ones mentioned above.

Except, Custodian is looking to purchase another asset, after it bought UPDC, we do not understand why it will be looking to raise capital huge enough to dilute existing shareholders. It also did not explain why it is seeking to raise the said capital in its AGM Notice, a slight departure from the norm in cases like this.

  • Custodian is also highly capitalized with a Net Asset of about N46 billion and a balance sheet size of N176.1 billion (after the acquisition of UPDC) as of 2020.
  • Suffice to add that the company recently paid shareholders about N2.6 billion in dividends, making us wonder why it is seeking to dilute shareholders when it could have just ploughed that amount to its capital raising needs.
  • In fact, the dividends paid in 2020 was just 21% of profits, meaning it had retained about N10 billion in profits made during the year. Again, why does it need N6.1 billion in loans?
  • Custodian also has a thriving insurance business which fetched it about N58 billion in gross premium income out of which N32 billion was from non-life. Again, why does it need N6.1 billion on convertible loans?
  • The company currently carries a debt of about N5.5 billion which was inherited from its acquisition of UPDC. The debt is mostly a bond issued at an interest rate of 16% per annum and due for full liquidation in 2023.
  • There is no rush to pay down this debt.

READ: NPF Microfinance vs C&I Leasing: A tale of two rights offer

What then?

We are lost as to why the company is looking to raise this capital and can only now think of two reasons. Firstly, could it be the existing shareholders looking to tighten their stake in the company? Custodian’s majority shareholders are Gratitude Capital Limited and Mikeade Investments Limited with 22.48% and 15.72% respectively.

  • The company CEO Oluwole Oshin represents Gratitude Capital while Business Mogul Micheal Ade (Elizade) owns Mikeade Investments Limited. Could it be either of these two investors looking to up their stakes?
  • There could also be a reason for this back door approach. About 74.5% of the company is owned by just 20 shareholders so it is clear that increasing majority stake will be difficult to achieve.
  • The other reason is perhaps an institutional investor looking to acquire a significant stake in the company through the backdoor. Is this plausible?

READ: Investors react to Fidelity’s bond listing, as it gains N1.74 billion

Well, these are speculations that only Cusdotian can confirm. We hope they do so as soon as possible.

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