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Economy

Insurance Companies to Record Low Profit in FY2022

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Insurance companies

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Insurance companies operating in Nigeria will struggle with lower profitability indices in the 2022 financial year, a pan-African credit rating agency, Agusto & Co. Limited, has predicted.

This will be caused by inflation and higher claims from the violence that led to the destruction of public and private properties during the #EndSARS protest of October 2020.

During the year, insurance firms and other businesses had to shut down because of the restriction of movement put in place by the federal government to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown negatively impacted insurance products distribution, especially with the inter-state travel bans restricting the movement of people and goods.

In the 2020 fiscal year, the industry paid out net claims of about N196 billion, up by 20 per cent year-on-year (representing 37.6 per cent of gross premium income [GPI]) and worsened by the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest.

“Consequently, modest profitability indices are expected in FY 2021 and to a lesser extent in FY 2022 due to higher claims, an aftermath of the protests as well as inflationary pressures on the industry,” the foremost business information provider said in its report.

However, it said the October 2020 crisis has also emphasised the importance of insurance products, particularly with the absence of a robust social security system in Nigeria, noting that the violence could be a catalyst for insurance uptake in the near term, given that the insurance penetration rate has remained less than one per cent in Nigeria.

In the midst of these, Agusto expects a modest performance by the sector in the near term, stressing that performance would be supported by enhanced bancassurance which would allow insurance operators to leverage the more structured data and client base of the banking industry to deepen their reach in the retail market.

There are also new insurance products, particularly for the agriculture sector that have come on stream to boost GPI. Furthermore, the sharp switch to virtual channels, one of the many rapid changes witnessed during the pandemic-induced lockdowns in 2020 should be sustained in the near term, it stated.

With improved digitization, insurance companies can advertise and sell products via various digital platforms and partnership with Fintechs will also galvanise growth. However, digitization presupposes better management of cyber risks, it added.

As for the recapitalisation of the industry, Agusto said the persistent Naira devaluation has reduced the financial strength of many underwriters since the last recapitalisation exercise in 2007.

Although some insurers have strengthened their capital base through earnings retention, the ability of most operators to solely underwrite large ticket transactions has dwindled based on the lower value of capital in USD terms.

“Therefore, Agusto & Co. believes that the recapitalisation exercise could be a watershed in the industry. In addition to the benefits accruing from a larger capital base from a risk underwriting perspective, improved investment management practices will be upheld by a larger investment portfolio as insurers strive to generate adequate returns,” it said.

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Economy

Academy Press, NGX Group Emerge Week’s Worst-Performing Stocks

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Academy Press

By Dipo Olowookere

Investors offloaded shares of Academy Press, Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group and others last week as precautionary measures, especially for the NGX Group.

Information went round that the parent company of the nation’s main stock exchange violated the same offence it punished several organisations for.

This triggered mixed reactions, and the board had to issue a statement to calm nerves, stressing that it was committed to upholding “the highest corporate governance standards, as it has historically done.”

“We are extremely mindful of due process, our records are verifiable, and we are on course with our long-term strategy execution,” a part of the statement issued last week further said.

In the week, Academy Press lost 22.73 per cent to trade at N1.70, NGX Group fell by 13.92 per cent to N17.00, Cadbury Nigeria dropped 13.82 per cent to close at N11.85, BUA Cement declined by 10.39 per cent, while CWG went down by 10.00 per cent.

The disruption in investors’ confidence in the market caused the share prices of 42 firms to shrink in the five-day trading week, compared with 39 recorded in the previous week.

Business Post reports that 17 equities gained points last week, higher than the 13 appreciated a week earlier.

Vitafoam gained 12.25 per cent to close at N22.45, Fidelity Bank grew by 10.85 per cent to N3.78, Unity Bank appreciated by 10.00 per cent to 44 Kobo, eTranzact rose by 9.97 per cent to N3.20, while RT Briscoe jumped by 9.37 per cent to 35 Kobo.

Data from the bourse showed that the All-Share Index (ASI) and the market capitalisation depreciated by 0.91 per cent to 49,026.62 points and N26.445 trillion, respectively.

Similarly, all other indices finished lower except for the NGX premium, banking, pension, NGX AFR Bank Value and NGX MERI Value, which appreciated by 0.13 per cent, 2.27 per cent, 0.05 per cent, 0.08 per cent and 1.84 per cent, respectively, while the ASeM, growth and NGX SOVBND indices closed flat.

The activity chart revealed that investors traded 562.856 million shares worth N9.438 billion in 16,013 deals during the week, in contrast to the 719.398 million shares valued at N8.004 billion transacted in 17,444 deals in the preceding week.

The financial services sector led the chart with 381.958 million shares valued at N4.551 billion traded in 8,627 deals, contributing 67.86 per cent and 48.21 per cent to the total trading volume and value, respectively.

The ICT industry followed with 59.345 million shares worth N2.480 billion in 1,272 deals, while the third place was the services space with 32.212 million shares worth N95.807 million in 607 deals.

Zenith Bank, NGX Group and GTCO were the busiest stocks in the week, with a cumulative sale of 183.929 million units worth N3.499 billion in 3,628 deals, contributing 32.68 per cent and 37.07 per cent to the total trading volume and value, respectively.

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Economy

Investors, Others Anticipate Outcome of CBN’s MPC Meeting

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MPC Meeting CBN

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The much-awaited Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) commenced today, Monday, September 26, 2022.

It is the last, but one meeting of the monetary team saddled with the responsibility of determining the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) for the country.

The meeting is for two days. The first leg of the gathering started at 10 am today at the MPC Meeting Room on the 11th Floor of the headquarters of the CBN in Abuja.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27, 2022, the second part of the gathering will take place at the same venue by 8 am.

After about five hours or more, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, will inform the public, through the media, of the outcome of the MPC meeting.

He will address journalists on the team’s decision after deliberations, especially after carefully looking at the economic parameters, including the inflation rate, the gross domestic product (GDP), and the money in circulation, among others.

At the last gathering, which occurred precisely in July, the anchor interest rate was increased by 100 basis points to 14.0 per cent from 13.0 per cent. This action was taken mainly to control the rising inflation.

About two weeks ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that the inflation rate in Nigeria jumped to 20.52 per cent in August 2022 from 19.64 per cent in July 2022.

Last week, the major central banks across the globe further hiked interest rates to tackle inflation, and it is expected that Nigeria will follow suit.

Inflation in Nigeria has been triggered by the rising cost of food items as a result of insecurity in the northern part of the country, where most of the food crops are planted.

This year’s problem has majorly been caused by flooding and the inability of farmers to go to their farms as a result of bandits and terrorists, who collect taxes from them before crops can be planted.

Efforts by the government to protect the farmers have not yielded the expected results.

Members of the MPC will look at these issues and give their expert view on whether the rate should be lowered, raised or left intact. But observers believe that the interest rate would be further increased to reduce money in the financial system and then hope that the prices of goods and services will decrease to attract more consumers.

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Economy

Vendease Raises $30m to Aid Food Supply Chain

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Vendease

By Adedapo Adesanya

Vendease, a digital platform which allows African restaurants to buy supplies, access financial services and power their business operations, has raised $30 million in an equity and debt funding round.

The series A equity round of $20 million was co-led by TLcom and Partech in a rare joint investment by two of the biggest Africa-focused funds. Following their investments, Mr Andreata Muforo (Partner at TLcom) and Mr Cyril Collon (General Partner at Partech) will join Vendease’s board as new directors.

The equity round also included VentureSouq, Hustle fund, Hack VC, GFR Fund, Kube VC, Magic Fund and Kairos Angels, who re-invested after participating in the previous round.

Vendease also raised the $10 million debt round from the local finance market.

Commenting on the funding, Mr Tunde Kara, CEO and co-founder of Vendease, said the company would use the proceeds to consolidate its growth and operations in Nigeria and Ghana and to support its expansion across the continent.

“Our mission is to enable the efficient flow of food across Africa, from the point of production to consumption. We want to transform how the entire sector works and remove the bottlenecks that stunt the growth of restaurants and food businesses,” he added.

Launched in January 2020, Vendease’s digital procurement engine makes it easier for restaurants in 8 cities across Nigeria and Ghana to buy food supplies at considerably cheaper rates than open market prices, with guaranteed 12-hour delivery. Over the last 12 months, the company has moved more than 400,000 metric tonnes of food through its platform, helping its users save more than $2,000,000 in procurement costs and more than 10,000 man-hours. Its data has also helped them reduce wastage from overstocking by an additional $485,000.

The company said it has seen triple growth in the number of users on its platform and 5x in revenue over the last 12 months.

“Users have also accessed more than $12 million worth of inventory via its embedded finance product,” the company added.

For restaurant owners, they simply need to download the app, complete the registration process in a few clicks, and they will be able to access all the benefits of Vendease’s platform. They can also access working capital through Vendease’s Buy-Now-Pay-Later offering to maximise their growth opportunities.

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