Fidson Healthcare Plc held its 21st Annual General Meeting last weekend at the Conference Centre, Fidson Towers in Obanikoro, Lagos. The AGM was held by proxy, to comply with the Federal government’s directives on social distancing and rules limiting social gathering to a maximum of 20 people. Shareholders approved a dividend of N0.15 per share while commending the company for ensuring that investors continue to get good value on their investments.
Fidson grew its profit for the year by 518% from a loss of N97.45 million in 2018 to N407.19 million in 2019. This is despite a decrease in Revenue of 13%, from N16.23 billion in FY2018 to N14.06 billion in FY2019, which is largely as a result of the impact of the rescheduled national elections on its business operations in the first half of 2019, as well as the ensuing consumer passivity.
According to the Chairman of the Board, Mr Segun Adebanji, the company adopted several cost optimization initiatives that ultimately led to the profitability increase. Gross margin improved from 39% in FY2018 to 42% in FY 2019, administrative and sales expenses reduced by 13% while finance cost dropped by over 10%. He reported that proceeds from the company’s Right Issue in July 2019 were used to repay expensive loans, finance capital expenditure and working capital needs.
Fidson continues to leverage its WHO-compliant factory, introducing 10 new products in 2019, and went into an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline Plc to contract manufacture for them from 2021 onwards. This will ultimately drive an increase in output and efficiency, and bring variable costs of production down.
Looking into the future, the Board is committed to implementing strategic initiatives like international collaboration and Research & Development to drive sustainable growth as well as cement its leadership position in the industry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has provided opportunities to explore the development of new products and with the increasing support of the government for the healthcare sector, the company anticipates that it would successfully mitigate some of the shocks caused by the pandemic and emerge successful in the months ahead.
“We enable ATM withdrawals without a card” – Ecobank
With Xpress Cash, customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked.
Ecobank has stated that cash withdrawals can be made at all its ATMs, without a card. The Ecobank cardless withdrawal concept, Xpress Cash, enables users to withdraw cash from ATMs using only a mobile phone, no ATM card is required.
The solution is seamless, secure and is driven by the generation of a code (e-token) by an account holder via the bank’s USSD code *326# or mobile app, Ecobank Mobile. The e-token can be sent to customers, non-customers and even people without bank accounts for cash withdrawal at all Ecobank ATMs nationwide.
Speaking in Lagos, Head, Consumer Banking, Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi said, “Digital payments are fast evolving. Customers want seamless experience across channels. We are committed to providing suitable options for our customers. Forgetting your card at home should not be a showstopper when you need cash.”
She went on to explain that the concept recognises the needs of the unbanked. In her words, “With Xpress Cash, our customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked. You can send money to your domestic servants or unbanked staff just by generating a code and sharing the code.”
“As a bank, we are not only keen to make our services accessible, but also affordable. Xpress Cash attracts only a flat charge of N50. Our USSD code, *326# offers zero session charges; and transfers of N5000 or less using our digital channels are absolutely free of charge. Also, people abroad who need to send money to their loved ones can do so without paying transfer charges using the Rapidtransfer app,” she said.
LSETF re-launches Idea Hub for tech start-ups
The programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas.
In line with its mandate to provide entrepreneurship solutions, training, and upskilling opportunities to innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Lagos tech ecosystem, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has re-designed the Idea Hub Programme, under its Lagos Innovates Programme.
The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub Programme is a 12-week incubation programme designed to support tech-enabled businesses with relevant skills, networking opportunities and mentorship from seasoned industry experts; geared towards building a competitive and sustainable brand.
It is expected that the programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with tech solution with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas. The benefits include business incubation and coaching by Lagos Innovates experienced and seasoned Mentors; an opportunity to pitch for Lagos Innovates Workspace Vouchers for 6 or 12 months (valued between ₦120,000 – ₦1,800,000); and access to Lagos Innovates network including Government, corporates, start-ups, local and international investors, etc.
In her remarks on the initiative, the Executive Secretary/CEO, LSETF, Mrs. Teju Abisoye said; “The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub is a programme under one of our delivery mechanism tagged Tech Start-ups (Lagos Innovates), primarily responsible for cementing Lagos’ position as the leading destination for tech and innovation in Africa. With the recent global economic challenges due to the pandemic, we believe technology will be critical in proffering recovery and adaptive solutions as the world embraces the new normal.
“I am confident that with the Idea Hub initiative providing the institutional support, our young innovators in Lagos would be able to pivot toward this paradigm. We encourage growing entrepreneurs in the digital and tech space to take advantage of this programme to create compelling solutions that would accelerate the Lagos economic, business and lifestyle recovery trajectory”, she added.
Some of the seasoned mentors and industry experts of the programme are Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder, We-Cyclers, and DG, Lagos State Records and Archives; Olu Akanmu, Executive Director Retail Banking, FCMB; Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, CEO, Future Software Resources Ltd; Ponmile Osibo, Partner, Platform Capital; Wale Ajiboye, Associate Director, Acumen; Oluwatoyin Oshinowo, Co-founder and VP Product, Field Insights; Dr Olanrewaju Phillips, Enterprise Account Manager, HP, Central Africa, and Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder and COO, Piggyvest.
Other mentors are Olutosin Oni, Principal, Echo VC; Damilola Thompson, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Echo VC; Oluwatoyin Emmanuel-Olubake, Associate Director of Portfolio, Acumen; Dayo Kolewole, Partner Microtraction, and Simeon Ononobi, Co-founder/CEO, Thank U Cash.
Interested applicants must run an early-stage start-up with viable and solution-driven ideas; technology must be the core or the enabler of the enterprise, and the founder must reside in Lagos State. Applicants should visit https://ideahub.lagosinnovates.ng to apply before the deadline date, Sunday 16th August 2020.
About Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)
Established in 2016, LSETF’s vision is to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce unemployment in Lagos State. LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), formulating policies and actively intervening to improve the business environment. The Agency also trains and places unemployed Lagos residents in jobs, while driving innovation within the Lagos ecosystem.
United Capital Asset Management explains mutual funds’ positive performance
Available data showed that the funds surpassed the market realities and beat the benchmarks.
United Capital Asset Management mutual funds have recorded significant growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the economy and headwinds in the financial markets. Data made available showed that the funds surpassed the market realities and beat the benchmarks.
According to the fund managers, all our funds are actively managed to generate alpha regardless of the market conditions. For instance, the current return on the United Capital Money Market Fund is 5.7 per cent, which is better two per cent yield on the 91-day Treasury Bill in the secondary market.
Also, the United Capital Bond Fund and Eurobond Funds’ yields stand at 8.9 per cent and 6.9 per cent compared to benchmark returns of 6.0 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively. The benchmark for the two funds are 3-year average FGN Bond yields and LIBOR+2 per cent respectively.
The company said the funds grew mainly on the back of its robust distribution network. “We have been able to complement our physical touchpoints with effective online sales model that allows clients to subscribe and redeem funds seamlessly. Our superior returns also set us apart our funds continued to return above industry average and benchmarks. For our Eurobond Fund, another key driver of the growth was investors demand for FCY due to the weak outlook for the naira especially amidst the pandemic. We have also maintained a strong A credit rating for our Money Market Fund, which gives investors comfort in investing in our funds,” the firm explained.
Commenting further, the Managing Director/CEO United Capital Asset Management, Odiri Oginni, the firm has constantly supported its clients on their journey to financial independence through our mutual funds. “Our mutual funds have grown much faster than the overall market in the last 18 months while returns on the funds consistently outperformed benchmarks, placing us amongst the top five Asset Managers by mutual funds size in the market. We hope to continue in this streak and even surpass it in the months and years ahead,” he said.
Explore Advanced Financial Calculators on Nairametrics
Also commenting, the Group Executive Director, United Capital Plc, Sunny Anene, stated: “the strong growth in the funds under management of our Asset Management subsidiary points to a high level of investor confidence in our brand as we continue to reward our clients with above-market returns regardless of challenges in the market. With an investment-grade credit rating, asset under management in excess of N150 billion, cutting across privately managed funds and 6 collective investment schemes, we remain positioned as a fund manager of choice in Nigeria today.”