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Oando Settles Issues with SEC in Interest of Shareholders

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Oando SEC crisis

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

In the overriding interest of its shareholders and the capital market, Oando Plc has agreed to settle the issues it has with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SEC, the apex regulatory agency in the Nigerian capital market, confirmed this development in a statement it issued on Monday.

It was disclosed that the energy firm entered into a settlement with the commission last Thursday, agreeing to immediately withdraw all legal actions it filed at the court as well as its directors sanctioned by the agency.

Oando was said to have also agreed to pay a monetary sum and implement corporate governance improvements.

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In the circular obtained by Business Post, it was further disclosed that part of the terms also requires Oando to submit quarterly reports on its compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement; the Investments and Securities Act, 2007; the SEC Rules and Regulations; the National Code of Corporate Governance and the SEC Guidelines to the Code of Corporate Governance.

“Pursuant to the powers conferred on the Securities and Exchange Commission by the Investments and Securities Act 2007, and the Rules and Regulations made pursuant thereto, the commission on Thursday, July 15, 2021, entered into a Settlement with Oando Plc.

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“The commission in its letter to the company dated May 31, 2019, gave certain directives and imposed sanctions on the company, following investigations conducted pursuant to two petitions filed with the commission in 2017.

“The company and some of its affected directors had challenged the said directives in a series of suits commenced at the Federal High Court. However, the Company subsequently approached the commission for a settlement of the matter, and both parties have now agreed to settle in consideration of the impact that a further prolonged period of litigation would have on the company’s shareholders and the value of their investments as well as remedial measures to be put in place by the company in enhancing its corporate governance practices and strengthening its internal control environment,” a part of the circular read.

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Meanwhile, SEC has reiterated its commitment to ensuring the fairness, transparency and integrity of the capital market, while upholding its mandate to protect investors.

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Economy

CBN Gives Nearly 4 million Farmers N756.5bn

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Ghana peasant farmers

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it has disbursed N756.5 billion to nearly 4 million (approximately 3,734,938) smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land to improve food security in the country.

The development was revealed by CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emiefele, while presenting the communiqué of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

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According to the CBN boss, a total number of 627,051 farmers were granted N120.2 billion for the 2021 wet season under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to cultivate 847,484 hectares of land.

“Under the bank’s development finance initiatives, the bank granted N756.5 billion to 3,734,938 smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, of which N120.2 billion was extended for the 2021 wet season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the ABP,” Mr Emefiele said.

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Furthermore, the apex bank said a total of N121.6 billion has been shared among 32,617 beneficiaries under the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).

Mr Emiefele also disclosed that the bank has released N318.2 billion to 679,422 beneficiaries for the targeted credit facility.

These beneficiaries, as said by the CBN chief, includes 572,189 individuals and 107,233 small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

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Meanwhile, the committee reviewed the domestic economic developments and noted that the non-oil sector, agriculture and industry sub-sectors were the major drivers of improvement as it recorded growth rates of 2.28 and 0.94 per cent, accordingly.

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Economy

Lafarge Africa Grows Net Sales to N145bn in Six Months

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Lafarge Africa

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the major cement manufacturers in Nigeria, Lafarge Africa Plc, has continued to show resilience in the face of various challenges caused by COVID-19.

On Thursday, the firm released its half-year earnings for 2021 and the results showed that the net sales grew by 20.3 per cent to N145.0 billion from N120.5 billion in the same period of 2020.

Business Post reports that the sale of cement accounting for N141.4 billion of the total revenue for the period versus N118.6 billion in H1 2020, while the sale of aggregates and concrete contributing N3.6 billion compared with N2.0 billion in the same period of last year.

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The financial statements revealed that the cost of sales gulped N97.0 billion as against N78.8 billion in the first six months of 2020, leaving the organisation with a gross profit of N48.0 billion compared with N41.7 billion in 2020, while the operating profit improved to N38.2 billion from N32.8 billion.

In the results, Lafarge Africa said it had selling and marketing costs of N1.5 billion, lower than N1.6 billion in the same time of last year and this was mainly due to a reduction in advertising expenses to N113.0 million from N182.5 million.

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However, the administrative costs rose to N9.2 billion from N7.8 billion as a result of the rise in salaries and other staff-related costs, office and general expenses, as well as technical service fees.

In the period, the cement firm recorded a decline in finance income, which stood at N362.9 million compared with N377.1 million, while the finance costs went down to N2.7 billion from N4.4 billion.

On the bottom line of the results, Lafarge Africa said it had a profit before tax of N36.8 billion in H1 2021 versus N28.8 billion in H1 2020, while the profit after tax jumped to N28.3 billion from N23.3 billion.

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The CEO of Lafarge Africa, Mr Khaled El Dokani, while commenting on the results, stated that, “Our performance remained resilient in Q2 2021, with net sales of 29.4 per cent, recurring EBIT of 11.1 per cent and net income of 25.7 per cent compared to the previous year.

“We are equally pleased with the progress we are making on sustainability; our use of affordable clean energy and our agroecology footprint is in accordance with the acceleration of our net-zero pledge”.

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Economy

NGX Index Slumps 0.03% Amid Weak Trading Activity

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Trading Activity

By Dipo Olowookere

Trading activity on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited was weak on Wednesday as investors continued to play safe.

Some of the traders have retreated from the market, awaiting the release of the half-year results of market shakers like Dangote Cement, the tier-one banks and others.

As a result, the NGX depreciated by 0.03 per cent, causing the All-Share Index (ASI) to drop 11.12 points to 38,791.03 points from 38,802.15 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation went down at the midweek trading session by N6 billion to close at N20.211 trillion compared with the previous day’s N20.217 trillion.

Business Post reports that sell-offs in banking and insurance equities contributed to the decline as their respective indices depreciated by 0.96 per cent and 0.88 per cent.

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But during the session, the energy sector appreciated by 1.68 per cent, while the consumer goods counter grew by 0.11 per cent, with the industrial goods index closing flat.

Consolidated Hallmark Insurance and Tripple Gee were the worst-performing stocks yesterday as they lost 10.00 per cent each to close at 54 kobo and 90 kobo respectively.

Pharma Deko depreciated by 9.92 per cent to trade at N1.09, Regency Alliance lost 6.82 per cent to sell for 41 kobo, while Eterna went down by 6.58 per cent to N7.10.

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At the other side, Capital Hotels outperformed others after its value rose by 9.85 per cent to trade at N2.90 and was trailed by Oando, which gained 9.81 per cent to close at N5.26.

BOC Gases appreciated by 8.88 per cent to N9.20, FTN Cocoa grew by 8.16 per cent to 53 kobo, while Livestock Feeds improved by 4.80 per cent to N2.40.

At the close of business, investors traded 237.5 million shares worth N1.9 billion in 4,305 deals in contrast to the 243.1 million shares worth N1.9 billion transacted in 4,326 deals on Tuesday.

This indicated that while the trading volume and the number of deals depreciated by 2.29 per cent and 0.49 per cent respectively, the trading value closed flat.

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It was observed that the demand for Oando stocks persisted after a settlement of its dispute with the apex capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On Wednesday, the company was the most traded stock with the sale of 44.3 million units valued at N233.0 million, while UBA, which followed, traded 19.4 million units worth N150.8 million.

Wema Bank transacted 14.2 million units valued at N11.9 million, Access Bank traded 13.3 million units worth N123.7 million, while Jaiz Bank transacted 12.3 million units valued at N7.6 million.

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