It is still the month of love. We hope you had a fantastic Valentine’s Day, besides the crazy traffic that usually comes with it. While most of us know Valentine’s day to be a day of showing love to your significant other or family members, we at Comercio Partners would like to encourage you to take it a step further and show love to everyone around you.
After all, with everything going on around the world, I think it is safe to say we all need love. Lest I forget, it is Black History Month, and we would like to commend all the fallen heroes and everyone fighting for racial equality and justice. We truly appreciate you and stand with you. Speaking of Black excellence and gender equality, we would like to congratulate our very own Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for becoming the first female leader of the WTO.
Nevertheless, while so many of us wore the usual Valentine uniform, a touch of red, to church, on our dates or family gatherings, the Nigerian Bourse which was the best performing stock market index last year, was also in all shades of red last week (is it just me or did the song “blood on the dance floor” by the great Michael Jackson just come to mind?)
Bulls or Bears? – You Decide
Although illegal in several parts of the world, allow me to crave your indulgence in an animal fight between two terrestrial mammals – a bull and a bear. Now keep this strictly within your realm of imagination and place your imaginary bets on the likely victor. Hold that thought for a second and let us discuss an identical sport that is being played in a real market, which is the equities market. Most players in this market had envisaged a scenario where the bulls maintained dominance in the earlier part of the year, after which we see the bears get a hold of the bourse following the earnings season.
The premise behind this was that dividend plays will dominate the year’s start, after which we would see yields in the fixed income market retrace as we moved into the year, which would not bode well for equities given the history of a strong inverse correlation between fixed-income yields and equity market performance. So, the oracles were half right; yields are retracing as we move into the year, but at a much faster pace than envisaged. Hence, the market bulls are losing control of the local bourse during an earnings season that should be somewhat positive
Over the past two weeks, the benchmark index for the local bourse lost -4.65%, erasing most of the gains recorded in January 2021, where the market ticked up by 5.32% by the month’s end. As at the close of the market last Friday, the year-to-date return stood at 0.42%, following a second consecutive weekly decline of -3.04%. While profit-taking activities could bear some of the blame for the downtrend, the major driver behind the selloff was the increase in yields in the fixed income market. The major signal of a retracement in yields was seen two weeks ago after the OMO auctions, and the nail to the coffin came from last week’s treasury bill auction.
Before we posit our expectations for the equities market, it is imperative that we briefly note three key points. First, at current prices, the market is still performing at a discount when compared to its emerging peers, and there are still several attractive stocks in terms of both fundamentals and dividend yields. Secondly, the current tone of the fiscal authorities implies that given their plans for increased domestic borrowings, they are still looking to keep rates low, but the levels achieved last year might prove difficult to achieve; and lastly, a review of the equity market performance from 2005 till date, shows that what succeeds a yearly gain that is above 40% is a bearish year for equities.
The keyword for an approach to the equities market is caution. While the pockets of bargain hunters are expected to continually hunt for fundamentally attractive stocks after every market correction, the underlying theme of the market appears to be bearish. Hence, while several factors that would determine the market performance by year-end could still change, the current facts and historical precedence points to a bearish close. So, taking you back to our earlier imaginary fight between a bull and a bear, I wonder which animal your bet is on. As for us, our take on the animal fight is the same as our view on the equities market – when all is said and done, the omnivore wins.
New Eurobond issuance: ECOTRA 26s
Ecobank Nigeria successfully issued the first Eurobond out of Nigeria in 2021, with a total outstanding of US$300m for 5-year paper and a 7.125% coupon. The paper was highly sought after with a 3x oversubscription despite the current macroeconomic headwinds and covid-19 induced disruption. Which begets the question “is this the best time for Nigeria to issue a sovereign Bond?”
We expect to see sustained interest in coming weeks given as ECOTRA 26s remains the most attractive Nigerian bank Eurobond paper in terms of yield. We see it settling around 6%.
Real estate sector GDP positive in Q4 2020, but still in the woods
The real estate sector like many other sectors of the economy suffers deeply from a dip in macro economic conditions of the country.
According to the Q4 and full-year 2020 GDP data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), real estate sector returned to positive growth of 2.81% y/y in Q4 2020 following six consecutive quarters of negative growth since the last positive growth posted in Q1 2019 (0.93% y/y).
The significant recovery in Q4 2020 reflects the full reopening of the economy as many residential and commercial projects began operations fully following the suspension of activities during the national lockdown. Overall, the real estate GDP FY 2020 contracted by 9.22% y/y which was well below our 2020 estimate of a 13.7% contraction.
The real estate sector like many other sectors of the economy suffers deeply from a dip in macro economic conditions of the country. In 2016, when the economy went into recession, the sector declined by 6.86% compared with the growth of 2.11% recorded in 2015.
Subdued activities in the real estate and construction industry had a spillover effect on the cement sector where growth slowed drastically to 5.4% in 2016 from 22.1% in 2015 on the back of weak private sector investments and low government spending.
In 2020, as the pandemic ravaged the economy, the real estate sector was not left behind as the unprecedented crisis elevated vacancy rates in existing commercial properties, reduced average footfalls across retail centres and slowed the completion time of many residential developments and infrastructure projects in the country.
This led to an all-time high of a 21.99% contraction recorded by the real estate sector in Q2 2020. The impact of the restrictive measures put in place during the second quarter was apparent in the financial performance of two key cement players (Dangote Cement and Lafarge) as both top and bottom-line performances were pressured.
Looking ahead, we expect growth in the sector to remain weak due to a plethora of factors from high inflationary figures and devaluation which continue to pressure consumer purchasing power to little access to finance which has continued to undermine the demand for housing. Despite efforts geared towards improving mortgage financing or consumer credit, the rate of mortgage financing to housing development in the country remains very low compared to peers in the emerging market.
CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
What does my startup portfolio look like? – by Olumide Soyombo
Olumide Soyombo discusses his flair to invest in some of the most prospective startups in Africa.
I have been privileged to invest in some of the most interesting Startups in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
This journey started in 2014 and my approach has always been to just do my thing behind the scenes and support the companies I invest in strategically. However, following the Paystack exit, folks have been curious to see what other companies I have backed, so I have finally decided to share.
I believe we have a couple of stars in here and the next couple of years should be interesting. Please support these companies wherever you see them so that my family can eat o…
Gbedu is a music discovery and streaming service built to dispense the rich sound of Africa. They have created an experience that gives young, upcoming (up and coming) artists the chance to get discovered and earn per stream of their music content.
The startup is connecting Africans to the most extensive catalog g of free localized content, leveraging the power of playlisting, offline, and radio-integration to create new interactions and vast, unique music experience per user locale.
Gbedu is freely accessible to all users and pays every content owner.
Industries: Digital Entertainment, Music Streaming.
Piggyvest is the leading online savings & investment platform in Nigeria, helping individuals manage their finances effectively.
The platform enables users to save small amounts of money frequently with minimal effort. They automate the process of saving tiny amounts daily, weekly, or monthly; and then allow savers, withdraw for free on only set withdrawal dates, thereby practically making saving and investingpossible for users of their platform.
Industries: Financial Services, Banking, FinTech
Intelligra is the builder of an open platform created for smartphone financing. The company’s platform offers MNO (mobile network operator) integration and lock technology, proprietary credit scoring algorithms, and device lock solution. The platform also offers an in-store seamless onboarding app and integrates device OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), financiers, and mobile network operators, enabling consumers to access affordable smartphones.
Industries: Financial Services, Mobile Financing.
TeamApt is a financial technology company focused on developing Digital Banking, Business Solutions, and Payments Infrastructure. They are rethinking the needs of consumers, businesses, and the financial industry.
Industries: Fintech, Financial Services
VERTO is a complete F.X. and payment marketplace built for business. VERTO helps business operate efficiently on the international stage. The company makes it possible to open a free U.K. business banks account in minutes with the ability to hold up to 39 different currency balances. Additionally, VERTO gives its business users the ability to make or receive payments in foreign currencies and trade those currencies at lucrative rates.
VERTO provides liquidity and price discovery tools for international businesses. The marketplace provides easy access to exotic and foreign currencies with seamless international online payment services. Mono
Industries: Finance, FinTech, Marketplace
Mono is an API financial technology software designed to become the go-to financial data infrastructure API platform in Africa. The company’s software provides access to financial statements for historical and real-time transactions, balances, bank statements, credit and spending patterns. The platform also make s it possible to initiate direct debit payments and recurring debit. They are enabling users to get an accessible way to check their financial statements and transactions conveniently.
Mono is bringing access to financial accounts across Africa securely and reliably.
Industries: Big Data, Financial Services
Spleet is a Nigerian-based prop-tech startup that offers its users a subscription-based, living solution. Spleet provides access to Shared/entire living spaces with flexible payment options (Daily, Monthly & Quarterly Subscriptions).
They have built a platform and partner with homeowners who want to earn constant (recurring, monthly, and quarterly subscriptions) revenue and homeowners who wish to earn non-recurring income.
Industries: Real Estate, Property Management, Vacation Rental
8. Migo (Done via a Syndicate)
Migo is a cloud-based platform that allows customers to use loans, make purchases, and withdraw cash without the need for plastic debit/credit cards.
Migo offers a digital Credit-as-a-Service platform to domestic banks, mobile operators, retailers, and payment processors. The platform includes APIs, frameworks, consumer insights tools, and expertise on best practices that enterprise partners can use to build transformative consumer credit services in emerging markets.
Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Credit
LendMe is an online consumer loans platform. Users can choose a loan amount in Naira(₦) and set a repayment schedule. The loan limit of the user increases if the user successfully repays loans. The app is available for the Android platform.
Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Credit.
Bitnob simplifies access to the Bitcoin Blockchain Technology for People to create wealth, grow their wealth and even build and provide support for their businesses. It is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users in the African Region to buy or sell Bitcoins quickly. One key feature of the exchange is that it enables its users to automatically and periodically save in Bitcoins with as little as one dollar.
Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Cryptocurrency
Lemonade Finance is a startup that makes it easy to send money to Nigeria from Canada within seconds. Their platform, available on Google Play and App Store, offers some of the best exchange rates at any given time. What’s more, transactions on lemonade are free, safe, and secure.
Industries: FinTech, Financial Services.
Brass is a digital bank that provides small and medium businesses with a suite of products and tools to help them grow. Brass provides bank-backed, fully insured current account services to local companies in Nigeria.Brass makes it super easy for every business to get a current account from any device, cut traditional bank fees and help businesses and people save money.
Industries: FinTech, Financial Services.
Trove Finance is a platform that allows you to invest in stock markets around the world for as low as ₦1,000. Troves allows its users to automate their investments by linking a debit card to the Trove App.
Its Investment app aims to make the process of finding and selecting investments — specifically Stocks & Bonds — accessible and approachable for beginners. With Trove, users can find stock from public companies from Nigeria, and the U.S. Users can also easily access various bonds, cryptocurrency assets, and mutual funds.
Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Cryptocurrency
14. Gradient Boost
The Gradient Boost is an end-to-end platform training, upskilling, and matching data science talent in Africa to companies. This last mile data science upskilling platform enables companies to build a reliable data science, data engineering, and data analytics talent pipeline of the top data talent in Africa.
They take on talent with strong data science fundamentals and upskill them through mentorship from experienced data scientists.
This enables the young talent to gain strong collaborative skills, soft skills and practical experience. Ultimately, these young talents can prove their abilities to companies looking to hire talent.
Industries: Data Science, Training
SEND is a Digital freight Forwarder & Customs Broker for African Businesses. Send ships container and air cargo to Nigeria, managing the entire process — from suppliers in China, U.S. & Europe, to the customs clearance and then delivered to customers.
Send is making it easy for people and businesses to ship across Africa and to the world. Their web app, mobile app, and API are used to request their shipping services. They then pick up, package, and ship items through major couriers/carriers. Send.ng provides simple yet not-so-available value-added features like tracking and transparent pricing.
Industries: Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Freight Service
Initially, Gloo.ng, a pure-play electronic retailing service dedicated to delivering direct to their clients’ doorsteps, Gloo has now pivoted into the e-procurement space as Gloopro.
Gloopro simplifies purchasing for large enterprises with eProcurement and commerce solutions. As a one-stop platform for large enterprises to optimize the purchasing of material and service inputs not included in their core products or service, Gloopro offers its customers valuable supply-chain visibility.
Additionally, they enable large enterprises to standardize and automate their entire procurement lifecycle across multiple locations with stock reorder level parameterization and budgeting caps.
Industries: Retail, E-Procurement
PushCV is the largest pool of pre-screened candidates in Africa. PushCV aims to help tackle the unemployment epidemic by providing a platform on which only the best talents are connected to top employers and recruiters.
Push CV is focused on the features that matter most to an employer and hence, the job seeker. Through continued iteration on complex employment problems, they seek to provide continuous improvements to the service that already makes thousands of people find their dream jobs a lot faster, safer, and more seamless.
Previously verifi.ng, Bento has metamorphosized into more than just a payroll and H.R. platform to help companies in Nigeria manage their employees’ salaries. Today, Bento has expanded beyond pension, healthcare, and taxes to provide a platform for salary earners to manage what they consume and how they consume.
Bento has provided healthcare and salary advance services by partnering with a healthcare provider, Hygeia, and money-lender, Zedvance. Moreover, it aims to do much more, for instance, helping parents pay their children’s tuition monthly and pay rent monthly.
Industries: Financial Services, Employee services
Leadspace is an alternative commercial real estate startup aiming to create shared infrastructure for entrepreneurs and founders of small & medium-size businesses.
They provide co-working spaces for entrepreneurs/founders of small and medium businesses, mid-level corporate executives, Independent freelancers, remote workers, and creative artists.
Powercube builds clean energy systems that can provide homes with more than 16 hours of power a day with subscriptions as low as N7,000 ($20) monthly. User can control each system with a mobile application that allows them to determine how much power they want to use.
Powercube was started to relieve small homes and businesses from using generators while providing the highest degree of certainty on bills due.
Industries: Clean Energy
Accounteer is a cloud accounting platform for small businesses. A business owner can create invoices, track expenses and follow up on their finances with ease. Accounteer integrates with external services like banks, e-invoicing platforms and e-commerce.
Industries: Financial Services, MSME
Blackbet is a product-driven Africa sportsbook operator. The company has ambitions to expand and delight the global gaming community by bringing safe, imaginative and innovative sports play to a new generation by simplifying the platform and delighting new customers play-by-play.
Industries: Gambling & Casinos
Fantastic.ng is a free-to-play gaming platform focused on sports fans (hence the name Fantastic). Their platform offers its users an experience similar to sports betting and rewards without requiring any payment.
The sports gaming platform runs on a freemium model that allows users to play for free or buy ₦100 token to access premium games with higher rewards.
All rewards are paid in a digital currency called Fan Coins (F.C.s). These F.C.s are then used in the Fan Shop to purchase various items, including airtime, food, phones, laptops, and get cash back.
Currently, the gaming platform offers a Football Manager, Predict & Win and Sports Quizzes.
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Engage is a customer messaging platform that helps businesses grow and improve customer retention. It is messaging based on the end user’s journey, preferences, and actions through your business application.
Engage is able to achieve this by segmenting your customers based on their attributes (e.g., gender, location, plan, age) and their actions (e.g., used up data bandwidth, canceled subscription, scheduled an appointment, submitted feedback), and allowing you directly “message” these segments or create automation.
Industries: Artificial Intelligence, Business Development, Messaging
Koa is an app-based platform that helps its users save and grow their money at the tap of a button, making it easier for them to reach their financial goals, starting out from Kenya.
With Koa, users can save for what truly matters to them. Their application helps users break down their goals and save towards them daily, weekly or monthly. Additionally, users with a Koa grow the account, gain interest on the amount they have saved over a set period.
Industries: Finance, Savings, and Mutual Funds
26. Paystack (Exit)
Paystack is a payment platform that enables businesses in Africa to accept payments by anyone, anywhere in the world, from multiple local and global payment channels, including credit cards, debit cards, money transfers, and mobile money.
Additionally, Paystack provides tools to help its business users retain existing customers and acquire new ones.
Industries: Financial Services and Payments
Article culled from Medium
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