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Corporate Press Releases

Sahara Group celebrates 25 years of global expansion, operational efficiency

Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.”

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Executive Director, Sahara Group, Temitope Shonubi has said the energy conglomerate’s impressive growth trajectory since 1996 has been driven by knowledge, business integrity, humility, diverse people and robust global network.

“These past 25 years, knowledge has been the empowering tool for Sahara, business integrity our greatest asset, humility our utmost ethos, diverse people and network our greatest value,” he asserted while unveiling Sahara’s 25th anniversary logo and the Group’s plan for the future.

Shonubi said Sahara had since disrupted previously held notions that put looking to Africa for the implementation of global energy solutions beyond imagination. According to him, since its inception, Sahara has deployed “transformational energy initiatives” to become a conglomerate with a proud African heritage and vast operations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East Asia.

“Today, the narrative is rapidly changing with Sahara at the vanguard of the transformational story from Africa to the world. Founded in 1996 with an initial focus on Oil trading, Sahara Group is widely regarded as a leading energy conglomerate renowned for championing capacity building and promoting the ‘best in Africa for Africa’ to the world narrative globally,” he affirmed.

Shonubi said Sahara would increase its investment in technology, artificial intelligence, and human capital transformation as critical drivers of its next expansion phase, adding that innovation will define Sahara’s brand positioning and offering In the coming years.

“For us at Sahara, it has been 25 years of instituting a stamp of distinction. Like most start-ups, we were chasers then followers, and today are the dream actualized corporation. It is much more expensive and difficult to be a trailblazer, defying the impossible to emerge as an enterprise that creates value innovatively, responsibly, and sustainably. Still, at Sahara we are focused on remarkable growth and grateful for the opportunity to serve and bring energy to life across global markets.”

Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.” Emphasis will be on promoting the “capacity to do and achieve positive and sustainable transformation” in the energy sector.

An analysis of Sahara’s operational model shows that creating a sustainable economic, social, and governance impact has remained central to Sahara’s corporate strategy. The conglomerate has grown its operations to achieve annual revenues in excess of $10 billion, with over 4000 employees and operations in over 40 countries. “Sahara’s focus is on continuous improvement, operational efficiency, and sustainability. We plan to deploy best-in-class Terminal Automation System (TAS) for efficient terminal operations in the oil & gas sector, Plant Data Visualization System (PDVS) for enhanced remote monitoring of plant operations, Customer Energy Management (CEM), and GIS-based Network Monitoring System (GNMS) for customer-centric power distribution & data management services,” said Shonubi.

The Group considers the activities of the Sahara Foundation as one of its most cherished accomplishments. Following its initial partnership with the Carter Centre to eradicate guinea worm disease in Nigeria, Sahara Foundation has over the years, emerged as a global promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with over 2,000,000 (two million) beneficiaries across its locations through interventions in Health, Education, Capacity Building, and lately, Extrapreneurship – a concept that promotes opportunities for social innovators and entrepreneurs.

In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), through the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) established the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) as a pivotal platform for business leaders opportunity to contribute to extraordinary social impact and cultivate partnerships of tremendous transformative capacity. From an initial list of 100 shortlisted global multinational companies, the United Nations SDG-F selected 13 companies and inaugurated them in Madrid. Within the African continent, Sahara Group was one of the only two companies that made the final selection.

In line with its commitment to supporting growing global demand for safe and clean energy and the shift towards a lower carbon footprint, Sahara and the UNDP in 2019 entered into a partnership to promote access to clean and affordable energy in Africa, with a target of providing access to clean and affordable energy to over 650 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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“Sahara Group remains passionate about green energy and environmental conservation. Our Green Life project, aimed at driving energy and ecological conservation initiatives across our business operations and partnerships, saw the Group pioneer the commencement of an electronic billing system (e-billing) at Ikeja Electric Plc, the Group’s power distribution arm to promote environmental conservation in the energy sector,” Shonubi said.

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To reinforce its commitment to clean energy initiatives, Sahara Group also initiated the use of electric buggies and bicycles at its Egbin Power, Africa’s largest privately-owned Power Plant, with plans to replicate same at other operational facilities across the Group.

Shonubi said Sahara’s zero-waste approach to promoting operational efficiency and commitment to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen Egbin Power Plc invest in an oxygen bottling facility on the plant to harness the oxygen generated as a by-product of the plant cooling mechanism. Egbin Power supplies oxygen, a key ingredient in the fight for life in the ICU, freely to medical facilities in Lagos State and the FCT, Abuja Nigeria, through Fortitude Children’s home, the largest orphanage in Nigeria.

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Sahara’s Covid-19 interventions also include donation of personal protective equipment (PPE), driving Covid-19 awareness and education in sub-Saharan Africa through educational literature in indigenous languages across various countries and leading the delivery of the 300-bed Thisday Dome Isolation and Treatment Centre and donation of medical equipment, including fully equipped world-class Intensive Care Units, to the centre and other medical facilities across Nigeria.

NM Partners represent articles published in paid partnerships with corporate organisations. They include press releases, targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications on behalf of our Paid Partners.

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Corporate Press Releases

Capitalism must be balanced with social impact – Niyi Adenubi

Niyi Adenubi, Executive Director at VFD Group chats about investments, capitalism and much more.

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The Executive Director, Institutional Business and Investor Relations, at VFD Group, Niyi Adenubi recently sat for a chat with Chinasa Ken-Ugwuh on her radio show called Social Conscious with ‘Nasa hosted on Africa Business Radio.

The focus was on the 21st-century capitalists’ dilemma: Social Impact or Profitable Value Creation. The conversation also featured ex-Diamond Bank GMD and Chief Sparkler at Sparkle, Uzoma Dozie.

As today’s corporate executives build and the world changes more and more, it has become apparent that the capitalism as practiced from eons may not be suitable for the yonder. “You have to balance economic prosperity and social development to take all stakeholders into consideration,” Niyi says.

Enjoy excerpts:

Who are the most critical stakeholders in your view – are they the customers and employees?

I think customers and employees are critical stakeholders. I totally agree. The most critical stakeholders are your customers because customers are directly correlated with your profitability. If you cannot serve your customers right, they will go somewhere else, and you will be losing money. They are always the number one. But a very close second in our company, is our employees. And it is very important especially now that we are hiring young people. We have graduate trainees’ programmes. These people come to us straight from university. Millennials and Generation Z are very different in terms of their aspirations. So, it is very important for us to start building our own culture in our company to manage them so that they can be optimal. We also have a minimum pay structure – one that ensures that everyone that works in VFD earns a certain minimum. This is very important. Of course, our regulator is quite important too and on the last, but not least are our capital providers – bankers, equity providers and shareholders – they are very important too.

How is VFD reacting to investors’ expectations on capitalism?

I think the investors are ready for this change. COVID has accelerated the pace for most people. The days of running a business primarily and solely for shareholders are gone. I think even employees demand that we are socially conscious. When we started our ESG program at the company, it was to make our internal stakeholders happy and we have been pushing for this for a long time. Ever since we became quite successful, we have been able to give back and that has encouraged our staff to give more in some of the things we do. On the social and governance side I think we have done quite a lot in our organization.

Do you believe in stakeholders’ capitalism over shareholders capitalism? Do you agree with the idea?

I sincerely believe in it. About six or seven years ago, I read this book by a French economist, Thomas Piketty, called ‘’Capitalism in the 21st century.’’ It was basically the summary of what is now trending and which the world is going through. We see more poverty, more famine, more climate change dislocating more farmers, more inequality in the world. For me, that was a wake-up call personally. It suggested that the world was returning to an age where the middle class is being eradicated.

I just picture a world where, for example, Nigeria, where the inequality is just so wide, that there will be security issues as we have now. At VFD Group we are very conscious to educate our shareholders of the importance of all stakeholders’ management; for example, the environment in which we are operating must benefit directly from what we are doing. Our staff must be directly beneficial both from the point of salary and profit-sharing and from the general standard of living. We will not squeeze ourselves just to maximize or earn an extra dollar. All those things are very important to me since I came to that actualization six or seven years ago, I have tried to incorporate them in the policies that shape the Group’s ESG and CSR policies.

At the point when you started to think like this, was there any resistance and how did you try to persuade them?

Yes, I think there is always resistance to change. But in my situation, there was none. It was quite logical.
Just look at the calculation that we did. On the return on capital, we always exceed the growth rate of the economy which means that richer people will go in a certain direction and if you don’t incorporate the right policy you will be squeezing the middle and getting more people poorer. So, it was not that hard to do and even on the investors’ relations side, even our local investors are aligning to the ideas. So, it has not been that difficult and with COVID we have pushed more in that direction.

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Most corporate leaders are moving into philanthropism these days. Do you think that there is capitalism agenda behind this CSR?

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I think there is a way that the world works and until we find a better way, we just have to use it. So, I completely understand what you are saying.

If I give money to a cause just because I want something back in return and if that is the motivation for me to do well and make that cause to happen, that will be my legacy. It is not bad. I particularly like the kind of philanthropy that is done in America. Americans give more money than anybody in the world. They also make more money than any body in the world. When they build a new hospital or when they build a new library or research center in a university, they want it name after them or stuff like that.

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What is your view on socialism?

I do agree that this is the period we should wear our socialism tag. At the height of the lockdown, it was very obvious that in a place like Nigeria where there are no social safety nets, asking people to stay at home while they are can’t feed, and their children are crying and dying, will make them become aggressive. And I believed the fallout of the #ENDSARS protests was as a result of that. We need to have a more balanced approach in handling problems. For me, I believe that more Nigerians are dying of hunger than are dying of COVID-19.

On CACOVID’s Covid-19 interventions

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I think the identification project is a very crucial one. The BVN project was a big one too. Once we get identification right in the country, that should solve a lot of our infrastructural problems in terms of identifying people to give them the palliatives or to send money to their accounts and to avert all those other disasters that happened to CACOVID. The uproar surrounding CACOVID could have been avoided if we had a way of identifying ourselves.

Do you find that your value, vision, and mission at VFD addresses all the stakeholders?

At VFD Group, our mission statement says in part about building a socially conscious ecosystem from the environment that we are operating. It is top priority for us as I said.

Our stakeholders are quite excited about it. Our customers are quite excited about it; our employees are quite excited about it and our shareholders are excited about it. It has always been a very conscious and deliberate thing for us.

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One part of it is to have this statement, how does it translate into the culture?

We have these recurring strategy sessions where we set goals for the organization. We are a goal-setting organization. Every year, we ask what we want to achieve that will be in line and in tune with our mission statement. We list them and through the course of the year, we evaluate for execution. We carry everybody along that helps us.

How else are you able to demonstrate this value apart from goal setting?

Our values are innovation, integrity, teamwork, and newly empathy. I would like to talk specifically on empathy. We had a strategy session in 2018 or thereabout to prepare for the new year and empathy generated a lot of debate in the organization amongst everybody.

The whole idea when we were pushing for empathy as a value is that it should drive our business. The key thing is if you can put yourself in the shoe of the other person either customers or another colleague or your regulator or your auditor and understand where they are coming, from there is less friction and it solves the problem. Our work is about providing solution.

If a customer calls and you answer the phone and maybe cannot solve the problems at that point because you don’t work directly in that business. For example, a customer calls for something with V Bank and the person that answers the call works with the Asset Management subsidiary, it is expected that you attempt to solve the problem before transferring in a professional way. Empathy does not mean that you are soft or vulnerable.

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Corporate Press Releases

London Stock Exchange welcomes Ecobank Nigeria’s US$300million Senior Bond Issuance

Ecobank Nigeria opened the market at London Stock Exchange to mark the listing of its 5-year fixed-rate senior unsecured US$300 million bond.
 

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Ecobank Nigeria, Global Finance Names Ecobank Most Innovative Bank in Africa

Ecobank Nigeria on Thursday opened the market at London Stock Exchange via a virtual ceremony to mark the listing of its five-year fixed rate senior unsecured US$300 million bond.

Ecobank Nigeria, a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, the parent company of the Ecobank Group, provides the full suite of banking products, services and solutions through multiple channels to retail, commercial, corporate and public sector customers.

The bond carries a coupon rate of 7.125%, significantly below its Initial Price Thoughts of 7.75%. The successful launch was three times oversubscribed and is the lowest coupon/yield by a Nigerian financial institution for a benchmark bond transaction since 2013. It has an Issuer Rating of B- from Fitch Rating Agency and S & P. Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners.

The proceeds will provide medium-term funding and help to enhance the capacity of the Bank to support international trade and service across Africa.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, said, “The strong demand for our bond shows the international appetite for the Ecobank franchise in Nigeria, its unique positioning for facilitating pan-Africa trade and the attractive opportunity for the many investors seeking to back world-class Nigerian corporates.”

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