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Economy

Olam Rejigs Business After Acquisition of Dangote Flour, Mulls IPO

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Olam

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The parent company of Crown Flour Mills Limited, Olam International Limited, which bought Dangote Flour Mills for N120 billion in late 2019, has announced reorganising its business model to reflect the growing recognition among the world’s biggest agriculture companies of the value of tapping into demand for specialty products from consumers who are becoming increasingly picky about the ingredients and origins of what they eat and the shift in emerging markets toward more protein-based diets.

The biggest agricultural firm in Asia said it’s splitting its food business from the rest of its commodities trading in a move to profit from rapidly shifting consumer tastes.

According to Olam, it is exiting a handful of bulk commodities including sugar and rubber to focus on core businesses including nuts and coffee.

The firm said it will invest about $3.5 billion in the areas where it saw high potential for growth. It may also later seek fresh capital for new growth by creating parts of the reorganised business or an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the two segments.

Chief Executive Officer of Olam, Mr Sunny Verghese, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the company wants a “growing disposition” for more healthy, nutritious and sustainable food and a shift in demand in Asia and Africa to more fat and protein-based diets from carbohydrate and cereal-based products.

“There are a group of investors who like the ingredients story, another group of investors that like the emerging markets story,” Mr Verghese said in an interview in Singapore last Monday. The reorganization “allows the different kinds of investors to choose which groups they’d like to be a part of.”

While trends including the plant-protein craze have allowed niche food companies like Beyond Meat Incorporated to thrive, traditional bulk commodities trading has struggled to make money in recent years as bumper crops have curbed volatility. Many of the world’s biggest commodity houses have been forced to restructure.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Mr Verghese said the company’s board is “very confident” the plan will have the full backing of key shareholders as it unlocks significant long-term value. He also said he was confident they’ll remain invested in the group as a whole.

“From the perspective of Olam shareholders, I think the re-organisation is good as the split should hopefully make it easier for them to sell or monetize each business separately,” said Ezien Hoo, credit research analyst at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation.

Since announcing its review, the company has so far invested about $900 million of its $3.5 billion target. It acquired Indonesia’s top cocoa bean processor as well as Californian almond company Hughson Nut Incorporated, while selling its onion and garlic processing facility real estate assets in the United States. In November, it completed the purchase of Nigeria’s Dangote Flour Mills Plc.

The company has meanwhile divested about $700 million of the $1.6 billion it said it would target in its strategic plan, which also includes its wood products and fertilizer businesses.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Naira Sells N419.02/$ at Spot Market, N615/$ at P2P

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Spot Market

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated by 0.31 per cent or N1.31 against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Friday, May 20.

At the spot market, the exchange rate of the Naira to the greenback closed at N419.02/$1 in contrast to the N420.33/$1 it was traded in the previous session.

However, at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window, the local currency depreciated by N1 against the American currency to trade at N616/$1 compared with the preceding day’s exchange rate of N615/$1.

Equally, at the interbank segment of the market, the Naira depreciated against the British Pound Sterling by N2.15 to trade at N518.64/£1 versus the preceding session’s N516.49/£1 and against the Euro, it slid by N1.75 to close the day at N439.23/€1 compared with N437.48/€1 of the previous day.

Meanwhile, at the cryptocurrency market, things continued to go awry for Luna backed TerraUSD (UST) as investors saw their money continually burn. The crisis-hit coin plunged further by 31.2 per cent to trade at $0.0584.

It was not a different story for other tokens tracked by Business Post yesterday, with Ripple (XRP) recording a 5.7 per cent loss to trade at $0.4094.

Solana (SOL) went down by 4.7 per cent to sell at $49.60, Bitcoin (BTC) recorded a 3.1 per cent slide to sell at $29,240.00, Ethereum (ETH) went down by 3.0 per cent to finish at $1,963.47, Dogecoin (DOGE) depreciated by 2.9 per cent to trade at $0.0841, Cardano (ADA) slipped to $0.5228 after a 1.9 per cent loss, Binance Coin (BNB) suffered a 1.8 per cent loss to settle at $303.10, Litecoin (LTC) declined by 1.5 per cent to quote at $69.27, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) retreated by 0.03 per cent to $0.9987.

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Economy

FrieslandCampina, Capital Bancorp Chop Off N20.61bn from NASD

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya  

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) plunged by 1.95 per cent on Friday, May 21 as negative price movements in FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Capital Bancorp Plc chopped off N20.61 billion from the bourse.

Consequently, the market capitalisation of the unlisted stock exchange finished at N1.04 trillion compared with the preceding session’s N1.06 trillion, while the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) decreased by 15.74 points to wrap the session at 793.05 points compared with 808.79 points recorded in the previous session.

Business Post reports that the share price of Friesland went down yesterday by N11 or 9.24 per cent to N109.00 per unit from N120.00 per unit, while Capital Bancorp dropped 11 kobo or 3.54 per cent to settle at N3.00 per share in contrast to N3.11 per share of Thursday.

However, two stocks appreciated in value during the session and were led by Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc, which gained N5 or 2.7 per cent to close at N225.00 per unit versus the preceding day’s N220.00 per unit. The second price gainer was NASD Plc, which rose by 12 kobo or 0.88 per cent to N13.72 share from N13.60 per share.

A total of 9.6 million units of securities were traded by investors on the last trading session of the week, lower than the 20.0 million units of securities transacted on Thursday by 51.9 per cent.

However, the value of shares traded went up by 90.4 per cent to N46.5 million from N24.4 million and was carried out in 24 deals, 380 per cent higher than the five deals executed in the preceding day.

At the close of business, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion. Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc maintained second place with 661.7 million units valued at N13.9 billion, while Food Concepts Plc was in third place with 134.0 million units worth N114.9 million.

The most traded by value on a year-to-date basis was still CSCS Plc with the sale of 661.7 million units for N13.9 billion, VFD Group was in second place for trading 9.4 million units worth N2.9 billion, while AG Mortgage Bank Plc in third place has exchanged 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion.

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Economy

Oil Market Bullish as Supply Risks Outweigh Demand Worries

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global oil market

By Adedapo Adesanya

The oil market was in the positive territory on Friday as a planned European Union (EU) ban on Russian energy imports and easing of COVID-19 lockdowns in China countered concerns that slowing economic growth will hurt demand.

Yesterday, the price of the Brent crude rose by 87 cents or 0.78 per cent to $112.90 per barrel while the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) grew by $1.02 or 91 cents to $113.20 per barrel.

On a week-to-date basis, Brent was up about one per cent after falling about one per cent last week while WTI was on track for its fourth consecutive weekly gain for the first time since mid-February.

Analysts noted that the Chinese reopening and continued efforts towards a Russian oil embargo by the EU swayed the market to the positive zone.

In China, Shanghai did not signal any change to its planned end of a prolonged city-wide lockdown on June 1 even though the city announced its first new COVID-19 cases outside quarantined areas in five days.

Authorities have granted approval to 864 of the city’s financial institutions to resume work on Wednesday as it gradually eases a city-wide lockdown that began seven weeks ago.

The move is part of the financial hub’s plan to reopen broadly and allow normal life to resume after the lockdown was enacted to curb China’s worst outbreak since the coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan in late 2019 and halted the most economic activity.

The EU is hoping to clinch a deal on a proposed ban on Russian crude imports which includes carve-outs for member states most dependent on Russia such as Hungary.

In Europe’s largest economy, Germany, businesses are drafting a plan to use an auction system to help ration available supplies in the event Russia cuts off its gas.

However, China added some downward pressure to oil prices this week when it clearly signalled its intent to buy more discounted Russian oil.

China and India have become the destination for Russia as it races to pivot toward Asia as the EU attempts to ditch its oil.

In the US, energy firms this week added oil and natural gas rigs for a ninth week in a row, according to the Baker Hughes rig count, as most small producers respond to high prices and prodding by the government to ramp up output.

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