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Axa Mansard Sells Pensions Subsidiary to Eustacia

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AXA Mansard Insurance

By Dipo Olowookere

AXA Mansard Pensions Limited has now been sold to Eustacia Limited, the management of AXA Mansard Insurance Plc has confirmed.

Recall that in February 2020, Axa Mansard, after obtaining authorisation of its shareholder at the company’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), said it was divestment from its pensions business to focus on its core operations.

In an update, the insurer said after a competitive bid process, Eustacia Limited, a member of the Verod Group, was picked as the preferred bidder from others.

With this, Axa Mansard Insurance has agreed to transfer its entire 60 per cent stake in AXA Mansard Pensions (2,067,672,000 shares) to Eustacia Limited, while the minority shareholders will also transfer their 40 per cent shareholding (1,378,448,000 shares) to the new owners.

Already, the deal, which had Messer Rand Merchant Bank as the financial advisers and Aluko & Oyebode as the legal advisers, has received letters of no objection from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), National Pension Commission (PENCOM), and the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

However, the completion of the divestment is subject to the receipt of the final approval of PenCom, the company said.

According to the CEO of Axa Mansard Insurance, Mr Kunle Ahmed, “This transaction marks a new step in AXA ́s broader strategy to focus on and grow our life, property & casualty (P&C) and health businesses across all its geographies.

“The AXA Group sees great potential in the Nigerian insurance market and believes AXA Mansard is ideally placed to capture these opportunities, thanks to its market leadership positions in health insurance, property & casualty and life insurance.

“We plan to capitalize on our successes to further build our capabilities and continue to deliver the best offers and services to our customers.”

On his part, the CEO of AXA Mansard Pensions Limited, Mr Dapo Akisanya, said, “We are confident about Verod’s strong commitment to providing the company with the requisite support to actualize our promise to our clients and stakeholders.

“As a West African investor with deep local knowledge and presence, we look forward to harnessing Verod’s unique, and world-class, attributes towards setting new standards in the industry.

“Verod has the capacity, expertise, and network, to support the business to continue to expand and to provide innovative solutions for the benefit of our current and future clients”

“We strongly believe that this is the ideal time to enter the market and that AXA Mansard Pensions provides an excellent beachhead from which to establish a consolidated position and gain market share,” said Mr Eric Idiahi, Partner at Verod.

“The National Pension Commission continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to raising standards within the industry and driving pension penetration rates in the short to medium term.

“We believe that sustaining AXA Mansard Pension’s industry-leading investment returns, excellent customer service, as well as, expanding distribution network and product offerings will facilitate the capture of the considerable growth potential within the Nigerian pensions industry, particularly following the opening of the transfer window.”

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Weekly Forex Turnover at I&E Skyrockets to $1.1bn

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Weekly Forex Turnover

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

In one week, the total value of transactions recorded at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market in Nigeria rose to $1.1 billion.

Data obtained by Business Post from the FMDQ Securities Exchange showed that the weekly forex turnover at the I&E was 18.73 per cent or $183.56 million higher than the $980.1 million recorded a week earlier.

The FMDQ exchange, which tracks trades on the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing (NAFEX) platform, revealed that the significant spike in the value of the transactions was due to the high FX demand last Friday, a day after the Naira depreciated against the United States Dollar to an all-time low of N422.07/$1, triggering panic at the FX window.

At the first trading session of last week, the turnover was $184.3 million and the next day, it dropped to $153.4 million before skyrocketing to $306.8 million on Wednesday and the next day, the turnover went down to $141.9 million before jumping to $337.3 million due to decision of investors to quickly pull out their funds as a result of comments by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo interpreted to mean he was in full support of the devaluation of the local currency so as to allow it get its true market value.

As for the performance of the Naira against the US dollar at the investors’ window in the week, it depreciated by 0.2 per cent or 77 kobo week-on-week to N415.07/$1 from N414.30/$1 in the preceding week.

The weakening of the local currency at the FX market window must have been caused by the rise in the demand for forex experienced at the mid-week and the last trading session as well as the shortage supply of forex to traders to meet the demands of their customers.

It was gathered that last Monday, the domestic currency traded at N414.40/$1 at the I&E segment and appreciated to N414.30/$1 on Tuesday.

At the midweek session, it fell to N415.10/$1 and the next day, it dropped to an all-time low of N422.07/$1 before bouncing back to close at N415.07/$1 last Friday.

Also at the interbank segment of the market, the Nigerian currency lost 0.02 per cent or 10 kobo week-on-week against the American Dollar to trade at N410.91/$1 versus the previous week’s N410.81/$1.

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Economy

CBN Adds New Feature to Yet-to-be-Launched eNaira

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eNaira

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that the yet-to-be-launched eNaira will have a new add-on that will enable users to complete transactions with mobile phones without Internet capability.

The apex bank, in a document titled Design paper for the eNaira, disclosed that maximising the value and use cases of the nation’s digital currency would depend largely on devices with Internet capabilities.

A few months ago, the CBN said it would launch eNaira on October 1, 2021, but it later suspended this without giving a new date for the unveiling.

This digital currency, which is expected to promote the cashless policy, is expected to become operational after the central bank stopped the trading of unregulated digital currencies in the country like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others.

The eNaira is to be introduced into the country under the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), an electronic record or digital token of the local currency and is to be issued and regulated by the monetary authority.

Given the reason, the CBN noted that, “The eNaira thus risks further alienating sections of the population who are uneducated, lack exposure and access to internet services or digital devices.”

The apex bank is adding the new feature to the eNaira following a recent publication that estimated that 35 per cent or about 37.1 million of the nation’s adult population was illiterate.

To face the risk of losing adoption of the digital currency to this segment of the population, the CBN added that the bank has factored in the need for inclusiveness as part of the core design principle of the eNaira.

According to the central bank, this principle has enabled the bank to focus on simplicity and ease on the use of the e-Naira, to ensure that Nigerians without Internet-enabled phones can access the digital service.

The CBN said the eNaira would complement existing payment options available via the mobile banking apps, Point of Sale (POS) terminals, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), quick response code and Internet banking, among other channels.

GSMA, a global industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators, had said in a recent report that 19 per cent of people living in Nigeria do not have access to mobile broadband coverage.

In its design paper, the central bank, in a bid to ensure inclusive access while also ensuring the integrity of the financial system, has chosen the account-based CBDC model for the eNaira.

The CBN said, “The account-based CBDC model at its core mirrors the progress made on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy which enables access to financial services by leveraging last-mile networks to identify users and to provide banking services through channels such as PoS and USSD.

“With the account-based model, the CBN seeks to enable access by leveraging the existing identity infrastructure in Nigeria such as the BVN, NIN, TIN, etc., to uniquely identify individuals and corporate entities.

“Specifically, identity frameworks such as the NIN will enable access for the financially excluded as they can be uniquely identified, thereby enabling the provision of financial services. These identity systems will help ensure a robust KYC framework positioned to enable access for all Nigerians.”

The CBN also added that this would help improve cross-border payments and address issues of dollarisation of the economy, as it could be recalled that Visa, a payments company, recently noted that the ease of operating CBDCs would determine the success of digital currencies.

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Economy

Nigerian Exporters Fail Due to Poor Training, Exposure—NEPC

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Nigerian exporters

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has revealed that many Nigerian exporters, including women entrepreneurs, fail in the international market as a result of poor training and exposure to the business.

According to the federal agency, it is necessary for anyone who wants to venture and succeed in the business to undergo adequate training in order to grasp the scope of the competitive venture.

The Executive Director/CEO of the NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, disclosed this at a capacity building workshop organized for women-owned businesses in the non-oil export value chain in Akure, Ondo State on Friday, October 15

Speaking at the event, which was organised by the Export Development and Incentive Department of the NEPC, Mr Awolowo said that, “Lack of export market training is one of the major reasons Nigerian exporters fail in the international market.

“Exporters need to learn the specific requirements of the target markets as well as the certification needed for the product to be exported.”

Represented by the Head/Trade Promotion Advisor at NEPC Akure, Mr Macpherson Fred-Ileogben, the agency’s head noted that it was for this reason that the council decided to organise the workshop.

The training featured coaching and networking sessions to give women entrepreneurs the opportunity to improve their knowledge of competitiveness in the export market.

He cited that the involvement of women in trade will not only promote gender equality but also increase the growth potential of the nation.

As a result of the gradual recovery from the global pandemic, players in the non-oil exporting business into the international market have been tasked to think outside the box to ensure continuity.

To realize this, it would be recalled that the agency also organized a sensitisation workshop in Lagos in September 2021 which was themed Earn Dollars by Selling on Amazon to help stakeholders see the opportunities in leveraging e-commerce.

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