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Manufacturing

Dangote $2.5 billion fertilizer plant to commence operation first week of April

The $2.5 billion granulated fertilizer plant will help in achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.

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Aliko Dangote rallies private sector operators against COVID-19, 10 fantastic things Aliko Dangote has done in the last 10 years

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has disclosed that one of his closely held assets, the $2.5 billion granulated fertilizer plant located in Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), will commence operation in Nigeria in the first week of April.

The billionaire whose current wealth is valued at $16.6 billion, revealed this on Saturday during a tour of the Petrochemicals and refinery complex facilities by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his team.

The granulated urea fertilizer plant which is expected to commence operations next week has been pushed back severally for reasons such as access to forex, the ailing economy and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: World’s largest fertilizer firm to commission multi-billion plant in Nigeria

In a bid to scale up production further plans have been made to expand the plant’s 3 million metric tonnes per annum capacity to produce multiple grades of fertilizers to meet soil, crop and climate-specific requirement for the African continent.

In case you missed it: In line with a report by the company, Nairametrics reported last month that the $2.5 billion granulated fertilizer plant would commence operation in the first quarter of 2021.

READ: Lagos, Chinese firm to rollout 1,000 SUVs as taxis, to complete auto assembly plant in 12 months

What you should know

  • The Urea Fertilizer plant was built to tap into Nigeria’s demand for fertilizer, a critical component of achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.
  • The Fertilizer plant is expected to manufacture 3 million metric tonnes of urea per annum, with a view to reducing the nation’s fertilizer imports, and generating $400m annual foreign exchange from export to Africa countries.

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Omokolade Ajayi is a graduate of Economics, and a certificate holder of the CFA Institute’s Investment Foundation Program. He is a business analyst, and equity market researcher, with wealth of experience as a retail investor. He is a business owner and a stern advocate of Financial literacy, who believes in the huge economic prospect of the Nigerian Payment channels and Fintech space.

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    Business

    Cement prices surge in South East as scarcity, price hike hit North East

    Prices of cement have risen by 67% in many Southeastern states and by 40% as observed in northern states including Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, others.

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    The prices of cement have risen by 67% in the South-East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

    This is as some residents of the North-Eastern part of the country also complained of price hike of cement, which they attributed to the scarcity of the product and the activities of middlemen who try to capitalize on the situation.

    According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a market survey conducted at various wholesale and retail shops in the eastern zone shows that the price of the product has almost doubled when compared to the price in 2020.

    READ: Aliko Dangote to earn N234 billion as dividend from his cement business

    What the cement traders in the eastern states are saying

    A cement dealer at Kenyetta Market in Enugu State, Mr Ifeanyi Amadi, said the increase in the price of the product which started last year was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and increase in dollar exchange.

    He pointed out that a trailer load of Dangote cement with 600 bags, which sold for N1.5 million in 2020, sold for N2.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.

    Another retailer, Samuel Uwakwe, noted that a bag of Dangote Cement now goes for N3,900, Unicem for N3,700; BUA Cement for N3,700 and Kogi Super Cement for N3,600.

    While begging the suppliers to reduce the price and make the product available, Uwakwe expressed his reservations at few individuals being given the opportunity to supply the product noting that the prices would likely crash during raining season.

    READ: Dangote Cement considers debt funding options under 300 billion bond issuance programme

    In Abia, a cross-section of residents of Umuahia, the state capital, also decried the high price of cement, which ranges from N4,000 to N4,100 per 50kg bag.

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    Those who spoke to NAN said the price hike had further dashed the hope of many Nigerians, wishing to own their personal homes.

    A businessman, Mr Victor Ugwu, said he had to suspend his building project because of the current development as he could not afford to continue with the current price of the commodity.

    He said,  “I think the hike can be attributed to the monopoly being enjoyed by the cement producers in the country. Unfortunately, there may not be any respite until that monopoly is broken.”

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    READ: Dangote Cement pays N1.1 trillion in dividends in 5 years.

    However, a cement dealer, Mr James Ogbonna, said the price increase had nothing to do with the manufacturers of the commodity but rather put the blame on the activities of shylock distributors of cement.

    He said, “In the first and second week of March, we sold a bag for N3,200, but within the third week we started selling at N3,500. By the end of March, the price moved up to N4,000 and now, we sell between N4,000 and N4100, depending on the brand.”

    A cement dealer in Awka, Mr Kenechukwu Okoye, said before the #EndSARS protest in 2020, a 50kg bag of cement was sold at N2,500 bur rose to N3,000 immediately after the protest and from there to the current price of N4,000 and N4,100.

    The survey also says that in Owerri, the Imo state capital, the price of cement is between N3,850 and N4300, depending on the brand.

    At the building materials Market in Naze, Owerri North Local Government Area, Dangote and BUA cement are sold at N4,000 per bag while BUA and UNICEM are sold for N3,900.

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    Mr Okechukwu Okonya, a seller, said the cost could be attributed to the high cost of transportation as a result of fuel price increase adding that major dealers sometimes hoard the product in their warehouses to create artificial scarcity.

    The survey report says that in Abakaliki, Ebonyi, prices of almost all building materials have gone up, with Dangote and Bua which sold for N2,500 earlier in November and December 2020 now selling for between N4000 and N4500.

    Similarly, Unicem cement which also sold at N2,300 within the same period had also gone up to N4,000 and N4,300.

    Similar price increase in North East

    The survey report in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Jigawa, shows an average of 40% increase in price.

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    According to the respondents, this could be attributed to the outbreak of Covid-19 which affected production in factories, while demand kept rising.

    Others, however, blamed the hike on the high cost of transportation and other sundry activities associated with the business of procurement and sales of cement in the country.

    Malam Ibrahim Sanusi, a cement dealer at the Gombe main market described the hike as outrageous when compared with the price of the same commodity the previous year.

    He said that a bag of Dangote brand which he bought for N2,400 and sold for N2, 500, is bought for N4,000 from their depot in Gombe and sold for N4,200.

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    Manufacturing

    Heavy sell-off in PZ & Unilever shares leads to N6.09 billion market value loss

    Heavy sell-off in the shares of PZ Cussons and Unilever Nigeria Plc triggered a decline in their share prices today.

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    Stocks drop after the S&P 500 sets a new high

    Heavy sell-off in the shares of PZ Cussons and Unilever Nigeria Plc today saw the share price of both companies decline substantially at the close of trading activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as investors scaled down their stakes in the FMCG companies.

    Data tracked at the close of the market today revealed that the price of PZ Cussons‘ shares declined from N4.6 per share at market open to N4.15 per share at the close of the market, to print a loss of 9.78%.

    While the shares of Unilever Nigeria Plc printed a loss of 5.64%, as the share price of the company declined from N13.3 per share at market open today to N12.55 per share at the close of the market.

    READ: Industrial index down by 5.7%, as shares of BUA, Lafarge, Dangote, others decline

    The impact on the companies’ capitalization

    The fall in the share price of PZ Cussons saw the market capitalization of the FMCG company decline from N18.26 billion today at the open of the market, down to N16.48 billion at the close of trading activities, putting the total market value loss at N1.78 billion.

    On the flip side, the market capitalization of Unilever Nigeria Plc in reaction to the 5.64% decline in its share price fell from N76.41 billion at market open down to N72.10 billion at the close of trade on the NSE today, placing the total loss at N4.31 billion.

    The total market value loss which PZ Cussons and Unilever Nigeria Plc suffered at the end of trading activities today is put at about N6.09 billion.

    READ: Alcoholic beverage makers on NSE lose a total N27.7 billion in a single day

    What you should know

    • The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics released the Nigerian Inflation data for the month of March today, the data revealed that Nigeria’s headline inflation rose to 18.17% in the month of March, from 17.33% in the month of February. While the food inflation, a closely watched index spiked to 22.95% in March, from 21.79% in February.
    • The NSE All-Share Index and market capitalization depreciated by 0.17% to close lower at 38,571.89 index points and N20.186 trillion respectively.
    • While the NSE Consumer goods index, an index that tracks the performance of consumer goods companies like Unilever and PZ Cussons on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, appreciated by 0.12%.

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