One challenge that is peculiar to all Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is that of funding. Of course, the level of challenge depends on the size of the business and the plan that needs to be executed. It is even more so for start-ups looking for funds to bring their business ideas to life.
To solve this challenge, entrepreneurs and business managers explore several sources including applying for loans, grants, partnerships and so on.
Equity financing is a reliable funding option. It basically involves giving out some equity or ownership in your business, in exchange for capital. This could come from friends, family members or potential business partners, and it is often aimed at raising money to pay short-term bills or financing long-term expansion plans.
Recently on the weekly Nairametrics “Business Half Hour” with Ugodre, Tokunboh Ishmael, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital, discussed the topic “Private Equity Funding for SMEs” in detail.
Among other things, Tokunbo gave some pointers as to how business owners could attract the right equity financing for their business options. The points summarized below tell you what potential equity finance partners (individuals or partners) look out for.
Management (Who is the manager?)
Any company or individual who puts up money for your business, in exchange for equity, is definitely concerned about the management.
They want to know if the manager of the business has had any experience managing a similar business before. This is considered a form of apprenticeship and it is expected that whatever knowledge gained would help make you more efficient in dealing with issues that may arise in the course of the business.
Does he have the requisite educational background? It does not always take someone with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) to grow a successful business. But that MBA degree could suffice, especially when you do not possess any other relevant experience.
Do you have the relevant track record? What happens if you have overseen a business which eventually went bankrupt or crashed due to management problems? Does this make the Equity fund partner more or less willing to put money into the business? Obviously not!
Some people can wake up and be successful entrepreneurs at first try, but this is not usually the case. Most will go through years of rising and falling, or working under others to gain the relevant experience of running a business.
Management is a critical point that any company or individual will look at, when you approach them with the offer of equity in exchange for funding.
Opportunities (What opportunities does it bring to the investor?)
Every business idea is an attempt to solve a problem. But what separates successful business ideas from others is that there is something unique about your solution.
First identify and understand the problem you want to solve, and from there work out a sustainable business solution. Every equity investor will be concerned with the uniqueness of your solution. Is it peculiar to you? Or is it something that everyone else is doing?
If your business idea has an easy entry point, meaning your idea is not unique to you, it would be difficult to get equity funding. Why? The potential investors already understand that you would soon have to deal with serious competitors who might end up doing what you do even better.
If your business idea shows a potential to make investors part of something big and unique, then you are more likely to get the funds you need. No company or individual wants to invest money in a business idea that will soon be drowned by competition.
You may get some sympathy funds from family members and maybe friends, but not any significant sum that will take you far.
ROI (How soon can investors get returns?)
Returns on Investment (ROI) are a key consideration for any investor (except perhaps charity organisations).
An investor’s concern with returns can best be likened to a retiree’s concern with pension. It is a most sacred topic and in fact, one of the first things they want to find out before putting in their money.
Based on your business idea and model, do I have to wait a year, two or three years before getting any returns?
A quarter may be too short to expect returns, but maybe three years would also be too long to wait. It all depends on your business venture, and of course, the investor’s plans. If he has plans to start channeling the returns into other ventures within six months, then a two-year wait would not be for that investor.
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Returns are not always financial, they could also be social. If the equity company is one that is more disposed towards a certain sector of the economy, say tech or agriculture, then the success of the company brings not only financial returns, but social returns to the company.
This is something you should also look out for before approaching any company for equity funding. You do not want to approach a company with an agricultural business idea, when the company is more disposed towards technology or education.
Ability to scale (Is the business expandable and replicable?)
A private equity partner is also concerned about how soon your business can expand, and how replicable your strategy is. Can it scale up?
Do you have a business idea that is so built around you, that it cannot function without you? Do you have a business idea or structure that will likely crumble if you die? Do you have a process that can be replicated?
The investor wants to know for sure that there are growth and expansion potentials. There is a need to be sure that the business idea you have is not one that can only remain confined to your bedroom. They want to know that you can move from offering your services in one state to serving several states and even the global community.
Why is this even necessary?
Because, it affects how attractive the business will become to the next level of investors who will take over from the private equity investors. This leads us to the next point they consider.
Exit potential (How can they sell out their equity and exit the company?)
Private equity investors are often not interested in taking over your business from you. Their aim is to bring in money for you when you are starting up, provide you advice and partnership, and sell out when it grows. They are not interested in having investments in different sectors of the economy. This explains why they are often concerned about the exit potential in your business.
Is there the likelihood that we can exit sometime in the future? Or do we just invest and get stuck? How attractive can this business become for the next level of investors – the institutional investors who will come in to own the business with you and stick to the end?
One of the most frightening possibilities to the private equity investor is that when he is ready to exit, there is no one to buy in and take over. So you need to answer the question – how attractive is your business idea to investors, and what is the exit potential?
If all five questions are dealt with satisfactorily, then you are well on your way to getting a good private equity partners to provide you financing for your business.
How investing in US, UK stocks can be seamless – Tosin Osibodu
Tosin Osibodu discusses how investing in foreign stocks can be a more knowledgeable and transparent process.
Investing in stocks has always been touch-and-go for Nigerians, both at home and in diaspora. A typical tale of the-more-you-look, the-less-you-see, many Nigerians have experiences – both real and imagined – of how they have lost some money in the stock market.
Amidst all of these, startups offering an opportunity to invest in foreign or local stocks have the problem of trust to deal with, before they can successfully break into the market.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chaka, Tosin Osibodu, said this was a major challenge for Chaka when it launched in 2019.
Tosin was a guest on Nairametrics’ Business Half Hour radio programme where he explained that with Chaka, investing in foreign stocks have become a more knowledgeable and transparent process that enables investors to make informed choices.
Chaka, as Tosin describes it, is a gateway that allows Nigerians to easily invest in local and foreign stocks, and also allows those in diaspora to invest in local stocks.
According to Nairametrics’ investment analyst, Olumide Adesina, Chaka “makes it easier for many Nigerians to access world brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, General Electric, and provides top-class access to stocks listed.”
With Chaka, global stocks such as Apple, Alibaba, Google, Manchester United, the S&P 500 index and several others listed on NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and top brands from over 40 countries are only a tap away for investors.
Averting the sour experiences
Sour experiences in investing are usually a result of poor knowledge of the market, and little or no access to market insights. As Tosin explained:
“The market is not bad everywhere at the same time. The secret is knowing the right market to invest at any time, and having the right information.”
Information about market fundamentals, insights and knowledge of the right portfolio at any time will guide an investor towards taking the right buy-hold-or sell decisions, and the Chaka weekly webinars offer this.
Apart from the regular insights, investors can also rest easy knowing that they have the backing of financial regulators such as SEC, NSE, CSCS in Nigeria and SEC, FINRA, SIPC, IRS in the U.S. This is no mean feat for investment start-ups and Tosin admitted that getting the approval of these regulators formed a large part of the initial challenges.
Building automated trading systems to create wealth
During the years spent schooling as a systems engineer in the US, Tosin observed the ease of investing in the stock market, a direct contrast to what was obtainable in Nigeria. Though a systems engineer by training, he was passionate about solving the problem, and reducing access barriers to local and global markets.
Back in Nigeria, he teamed up with his life-long friend and cousin, Bolanle Osibodu to set up Chaka.ng. With a core financial expert and a systems engineer, the company was all set to get rolling.
The goal was simply to reduce barriers to trading stocks across borders, and help Nigerians cash into the emerging mine that was the stock market.
With the Chaka solution, investors can register, get verified, buy and sell stocks the same day. The no-minimum investment rule also makes it open to beginner investors, allowing them to buy as much as they can afford.
For instance, even though the share unit of a company is worth $500, an investor may invest $100 and free up funds to build a well-rounded portfolio. According to Tosin, “if you are above 18 years and interested in investing, we don’t believe that you should be restricted by funds”.
It also has other unique features like the Naira or Dollar conversion on a per-asset-basis so that you can see how a Naira investment would perform in dollar assets or vice-versa. Its low transaction charges and wire transfer fees makes it even more affordable for Nigerian investors, especially since there are no hidden charges.
There are other companies who serve as digital brokers to Nigerian investors. But rather than see them as competitors, Tosin and his colleagues regard these startups as potential collaborators.
“Anyone that does what we do and shares same vision is a potential collaborator,” Tosin said.
One of the ways of collaborating is by providing execution services, white-label services and market automation technologies for corporate and institutional clients, so that these companies integrate Chaka into their operations to provide solutions for clients such as KYC verification, and user-onboarding.
Chaka partners with Citi investment capital in Nigeria and a global broker in the US, through which its offers are regulated by the relevant bodies. The aim of all collaborations is not just for profit but to improve client trust, increase foreign direct investment, and improve the investment income of Nigerians.
“Our focus is to create an amazing customer experience, because the more you can service customers in the way they want to be serviced, the better it is in the long term. This is seen in our lower commission rates, seamless onboarding process, best prices. We are focused on giving the buyer the most transparent offer,” he explained.
With a team of technologists and financial professionals working around the clock, Chaka remains on course to continually improve investment offers, and provide better decision-making tools to customers.
How to invest in small-cap stocks
Small capitalized stocks according to the NSE are listed companies with a market cap below $150m.
There are two meat-pie shops in a city. One has two locations, while the other is a mega meat pie chain with 100 locations. Assuming they both have the same profit margin say 20% on cost of sales, which meat-pie chain will make more in terms of revenues?
Simple, the 100-location chain will have a higher sales volume and revenues because that chain can sell more pies. However, in terms of which restaurant is growing faster? Well, the answer is the smaller chain. How? The smaller restaurant is able to add say two more shops and grow by 100%, the larger chain can add 20 new location and just grow by 20%. A smaller base can grow faster than a larger base; its math.
This is the same for stocks. All things being equal, a company with a lower share price is able to see an appreciation in her share price faster than another company with a higher-priced stock. Look at it this way, a share price movement from N1 to N2 represents a 100% gain in market price, but a stock priced at N200 per share will need the share price to move to N400 for a similar gain of 100%.
A small capitalized stock will have a faster growth rate than a high capitalization stock because the lower-priced share can double faster than shares of higher-priced high cap stock. This is the lure of smaller capitalized stock; they can post price increases faster than large-cap stocks.
Small capitalized stocks (small cap), according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, are listed companies with a market cap below $150 million. Capitalization is simply the total number of shares issued by the company multiplied by the share price of the stock. As at June 2020, small capitalized stock had a cumulative market value of N971 billion ($2.51bn). Small caps as a sector also outperformed the total NSE ASI index – the small caps returned a negative -6.61% as compared with negative -18.31 returned by the broad NSE index of all listed stock.
Small caps stock is sometimes termed as growth stock because they still have tremendous opportunities for growth. In our earlier example, the meat pie company with just two outlets can grow to add hundreds of new outlets, thus boosting earning and subsequently the share price. This means when the investor is considering small-cap stock, he is looking for a high growth stock, in this case with a slightly higher P.E. ratio but trading at a price below future earnings. Small-cap investing is trading on price movement, not dividend per say, its trading not on market share but price movements, It’s a momentum play. Whilst earning is important in setting a future direction for the share process, the investors is focused on price arbitrage to take advantage of mispricing. This makes trading in small caps very risky and capital can be lost.
How does investor trade on small cap?
Since the driver is momentum trading driven by daily prices, a key metric to screen with is price movements of 15% band from 52-week price high of small caps (N60b in market caps) with an average 90-day trading volume of 2m shares with a Price Earning ration below 15 and Earning yield above 15%
From my screen, I get these candidates:
- Berger Paints
- Fidelity Bank
- Fidson Drugs
- First City
- May and baker
- United Capital
- Vita form
Again, you can construct your own screen. What is key is to seek out a stock with a market cap below N60 billion, that is constantly trading but selling today at a price below its 52-week high. This pricing can simply be the result of COVID-19 induced slow down. Then buy that stock at a price that is “cheap” hence the lower P.E. Ratio, most importantly, you want to build in some risk management by buying high historical dividend yield stock to ensure if you have to hold, you receive a divided yield higher that the risk-free rate.
Stock trading is risky and you can lose your capital, the stocks listed above are illustrative and do not constitute buy or sell advise.
Nigerians reveal why they pick their favourite banking stocks
Experts give their opinions on their favourite banking stocks and why they chose them.
It’s no longer news that Nigerian banks play a leading role in Nigeria’s financial system. However, the banking sector, which has over the years been the most liquid sector in the Nigerian stock market, has experienced significant price swings lately.
Also, based on recently released financial statements by the Nigerian banks, a high number of listed banking stocks in the Nigerian stock market have the potentials to reward investors with solid returns, as they remain fundamentally good and are expected to withstand the current unfavorable economic climate this year.
Nairametrics interviewed some financial experts, entrepreneurs, and corporate heads and asked for their opinions on their favourite banking stocks and why they chose them.
Their reasons for selecting these bank stocks were instructive and varied, from the usual tier-1 banking brands (GTbank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic Bank, Access Bank) to other emerging brands like Sterling Bank. See their responses below.
Jerry Nnebue, Banking Analyst at CardinalStone Research
“Lower interest earnings (due to low yields and the slowdown in loan growth) and deterioration in asset quality are likely to pressure returns due to the pandemic. Prudential ratios could also be severely tested.
Nevertheless, we see opportunities in specific names due to depressed valuations and their ability to withstand the potential short-term pressures from the pandemic.
Notably, we favour GUARANTY, ZENITHBANK, and STANBIC on their stronger ROE potential and wider capital buffers over the regulatory minimum.
We are also optimistic about FBNH following the recapitalization of the commercial bank and the impact of years of loan book clean-up.”
Silas Ozoya, Managing Partner/CEO SUBA Capital
“Investing in Nigerian banking stocks would mean me looking at their performance over the last 5 to 10 years. In terms of innovation, stability, growth, the dividends declared, and market capitalization.
When you measure with those, a few banks would come to mind.
GTBank, Access Bank, Zenith would be my top three picks, then Sterling Bank would follow. Those guys have been doing some amazing product innovation that deuces sales for them.
Then finally, First Bank, because of its long time stability. It would function like the hedge in the portfolio.”
Yele Bademosi, CEO, Bundle.africa
“GTB because they still have a very strong brand reputation amongst millennials and Gen Z and they’ve shown a history of innovation with products like **737**, Habari, and Quick Credit.
Access Bank, the merger between Diamond and Access creates one of the largest banks in Nigeria, whilst the jury might still be out on the success of the merger.
I wouldn’t bet against the leadership team to make this a success.
Sterling Bank is my top pick because I think they have the largest potential for growth, they have a unique structure and clear focus areas that are centered around technology and innovation that I think could pay serious dividends in the future.
Their vision is bold and it’s going to be the execution that makes or breaks them.”
Darlington-Morsi Onyemaka, Co-founder Quba Exchange|Forbes Accelerator Cohort ’20
“Sterling Bank (STERL).
First of all, the Nigerian stock market is mostly suitable for long term investing, and as such, my investment criteria are leadership and innovation.
In the area of leadership, I’m very confident in Abubakar Suleiman’s leadership for Sterling Bank given his track record and age.
STERL also ticks the box of innovation with the introduction of its online bank (One Bank) which positions them to withstand and likely outperform emerging competitions in the online banking space.”
Omeiza Makoju, ACCA energy analyst
“In the last 6 months, the banking sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 scourge, the “staggered devaluation” of the Naira, stringent regulations from the CBN, and the drop in oil prices.
As a value investor, my favourite banking stocks in no particular order are GTBank, Zenith Bank, UBA, and Access Bank.
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I choose these banks because they have strong fundamentals and metrics. They are all dividend-paying with yields above 10% and the P/B (MRQ) of Zenith, UBA, and Access Bank shows that they are currently undervalued.
At a time like this where the Naira/USD Exchange rate and the inflation rate is rising,
I have also chosen these stocks because they provide some form of inflation protection in the absence of USD instruments.”