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Recession: ACCI Wants Improved Fiscal, Monetary Measures

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Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry ACCI

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has lauded the federal government for the effort it took to exit Nigeria from recession in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The commendation came from the ACCI President, Mr Abubakar Al-Mujtaba, on Friday in Abuja in a statement signed by the chamber’s Media Officer, Mrs Latifat Opoola.

Mr Al-Mujtaba said that the growth in agriculture and telecommunications, which offset a sharp drop in oil production, was impressive, adding that he was hopeful that other sectors would pick up as well.

Business Post had reported that the Nigerian economy slipped into recession in the third quarter of 2020 with a decline of 3.62 per cent, having contracted 6.10 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

This led to Nigeria’s second recession in five years and the worst in over 30 years.

When the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for Q4 2020 and the full year this week, it said Nigeria exited recession after a marginal growth of 0.11 per cent, though the country recorded a 1.92 per cent contraction for the full year 2020, better than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projection.

The ACCI chief, while reacting to this development, said despite wobbling out of recession, Nigeria’s headline inflation rose to 16.47 per cent in January 2021.

According to him, by implication, there will be sustained inflationary pressures on consumers’ purchasing power in the coming months, causing a strain on businesses in the country.

The ACCI boss, while commending the government in its efforts at taking the country out of poverty, said it should build on more fiscal and monetary measures.

Mr Al-Mujtaba said this would address the constraints of farmers, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and manufacturers which were critical at this stage to drive sustainable growth of the country.

The chamber president said the government also needed to reduce its reliance on proceeds from the sale of crude oil.

“Government at all levels must forge partnerships between universities, research institutions and public, private sector institutions in developing and implementing solutions to aid productivity in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

“This will be important in order to build a sustainable productive base for the nation,” Mr Al-Mujtaba noted.

The ACCI president also commended the federal government in its drive to improve the decay in infrastructure, commending its $2 billion rail line project connecting Kano to the Niger Republic.

He said that the reopening of the four land borders was also a step in the right direction.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Your Investments Safe in Lagos—Sanwo-Olu Assures Investors

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Investments in Lagos

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured investors to bring their funds to Lagos State as their investments would be safeguarded.

The Governor gave this assurance on Friday at a one-day economic summit organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bankers Committee and the Vanguard Newspapers in Lagos.

He said his administration has a big vision for the state, imploring local and foreign investors to quickly key into the agenda, which will expand to the southern part of the country.

According to him, efforts are being made daily to improve infrastructure, encourage innovation, agriculture as well as improve on the digital economy through smart city initiatives.

“Compared to other African countries, Lagos occupies a leading position in the country and across the continent. To seize these opportunities, and achieve our vision to become Africa’s economic capital, we are working on Lagos Vision 2050, which presents an opportunity to build upon the ongoing work and define a journey towards the megacity Lagos aspires to become over the next 30 years.

“We will also encourage other Southern states to do the same so as to align our regional aspiration to forge cooperation. Working together, Lagos and other Southern states can collaborate to build symbiotic partnerships beneficial to one another.

“Lagos is excited to share best practices across Southern states while continuing to collaborate with public and private partners to bring benefits to the state and to the region.

“When we achieve our big ambitions, Lagos will grow as well as Southern Nigeria and the entire country,” Mr Sanwo-Olu stated.

He noted that with Vision 2050 in mind, investments focus across key areas should be on human capital, infrastructure, public system and services, innovation and knowledge, as well as environmental sustainability.

“We will take a structural approach to Vision 2050; we will also share best practices with others,” he said, adding that security and good governance, which is the last pillar of his administration’s THEMES agenda, has enjoyed considerable attention because of its critical role in stimulating development in the state.

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Economy

Business Rebalancing, Promotional Discipline Drive Jumia’s Q4 Growth

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Jumia e-commerce

By Dipo Olowookere

The decision of the management of Jumia to cut its costs and rebalance its business mix has paid off and the financial results of the company in the fourth quarter of 2020 are the visible evidence to show for it.

In the period, the leading e-commerce platform lowered its fulfilment, sales & advertising and general & administrative expenses (excluding share-based compensation) by 18 per cent, 34 per cent and 36 per cent respectively and as a result, its adjusted EBITDA loss contracted by 47 per cent year-on-year to €28.3 million.

This is making the journey of Jumia towards profitability looking bright as in Q4 2020, it reported a gross profit of €27.9 million, translating to a year-over-year increase of 12 per cent, while the gross profit after fulfilment expense reached a record of €8.4 million.

In the results released on Wednesday, the company, which has been described as Africa’s Amazon, however, said it had an operating loss of €40.0 million in Q4 2020.

But the total payment volume on JumiaPay reached €59.3 million, increasing by 30 per cent year-over-year, while the on-platform TPV penetration increased from 15.6 per cent of GMV in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 25.7 per cent of GMV in the fourth quarter of 2020.

In addition, JumiaPay transactions increased by 10 per cent from 2.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Overall, the report showed that 33.1 per cent of orders placed on the Jumia platform in the fourth quarter of 2020 were paid for using JumiaPay.

Furthermore, Jumia’s annual active consumers reached 6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 12 per cent year-over-year with continued growth in both new and returning customers.

This cascaded to increased sales on the platform, as Jumia’s 2020 Black Friday sales records surpassed that of the previous year. The platform recorded 1.5 billion page views, up 34 per cent when compared to 2019, while video content registered almost 100 million views, 3 times higher compared to the 2019 event.

The financial results showed that more than 41,500 sellers participated in the 2020 event, with the top 20 sellers registering 141 per cent growth in items sold in the 2020 Black Fridays compared to the same period in 2019.

“While 2020 has been a challenging year operationally with COVID-19 related supply and logistics disruption, it has been a transformative one for our economic model, as we firmly put the business on track towards breakeven.

“We continued to make significant strides towards profitability during the fourth quarter of 2020. Gross profit after fulfilment expense reached a record €8.4 million during the quarter.

“In parallel, efficiencies across the full cost structure allowed us to decrease fulfilment, sales & advertising and general & administrative expenses (excluding share-based compensation) by 18 per cent, 34 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, year-over-year.

“As a result, adjusted EBITDA loss contracted by 47 per cent year-over-year, reaching €28.3 million. In addition, we raised approximately €203 million in a primary offering in December 2020,” commented Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, co-CEOs of Jumia.

The brand also recorded impressive figures on platform monetization as the  Jumia Logistic service, which was opened to third parties in 2020, shipped almost half a million packages on behalf of more than 270 clients.

According to the report, Jumia is also making meaningful progress in the reduction of the overall rate of cancellations, failed deliveries and returns (CFDR).

“The CFDR rate as a percentage of GMV improved from 30 per cent in 2019 to 25 per cent in 2020. The CFDR rate as a percentage of orders improved from 22 per cent in 2019 to 16 per cent in 2020.

“The CFDR rate is typically lower when expressed as a percentage of orders than GMV as higher average item value orders tend to show higher CFDR rates.

“As a result of the significant improvement in CFDR ratios, the year-over-year trajectory of GMV and orders after CFDR compares favourably versus pre-CFDR.

“GMV was down 19 per cent in 2020 while GMV after CFDR was down 12 per cent and orders increased by 5 per cent while orders after CFDR increased by 14 per cent over the same period,” a statement from the firm said.

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Economy

Ardova, Dangote Sugar Hint Payment of Dividend for FY20

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Ardova free cash flow

By Dipo Olowookere

The boards of Ardova Plc and Dangote Sugar Plc have hinted that shareholders of their respective companies will receive dividends for 2020 full-year.

For Ardova, its board held a meeting on Thursday, February 25 and it was agreed that dividend should be paid but the exact amount was not disclosed in a notice filed to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) the next day.

“Pursuant to the post-listing requirements of the Nigerian Stock Exchange for quoted companies, Ardova Plc is pleased to inform the exchange and the investing public that the meeting of the board of directors of the company held as scheduled on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

“The board considered and approved the audited financial statements of the company for the year ended December 31, 2020.

“The board also recommended the declaration of dividends subject to the approval of shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in due course.

“Consequently, the closed period remains in force until 24 hours after the filing of the financial statements.

“No insider of the company, including its directors, employees, advisers and consultants and their connected persons may deal directly or indirectly in the shares of the company during the closed period,” the energy firm said.

For Dangote Sugar, its board sat on Wednesday to discuss the results of the company and in the process, recommended the payment of dividend.

While updating the market of its decision, the board said, “Dangote Sugar is pleased to inform the NSE and the investing public that the meeting of the board of directors of the company held as scheduled (on) Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

“The directors considered and approved the audited financial statements of the company for the year ended December 31, 2020.

“It also recommended the declaration of dividends subject to the approval of shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting to be held in due course.

“Consequently, the closed period remains in force until 24 hours after the filing of the financial statements.

“No insider of the company, including its directors, employees, advisers and consultants and their connected persons may deal directly or indirectly in the shares of the company during the closed period.”

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Economy

Mobil (11 Plc) to List Shares on NASD OTC Exchange After NSE Exit

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mobil oil Nigeria

By Dipo Olowookere

Shares of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria) would be listed on the trading platform of the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Exchange after being delisted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the company has confirmed.

The energy company is planning to leave the exchange after decades and one of the reasons is because of the tough listing requirements of the NSE.

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the firm held on October 14, 2020, the shareholders had approved the delisting of the organisation from the exchange.

But for those who opposed the action, they were offered N213.90 per share, being the highest price the company’s stocks have traded six months before the notice of the AGM, where the decision to leave the NSE was approved by investors.

Some days ago, the management of Mobil issued a statement to explain the reason for the action, but in some sections of the media (Business Post not included), it was reported that the delisting was to make the firm private and evict the minority investors.

Mobil has again released another statement to refute this, emphasising that after delisting from the NSE, its equities would still be tradable on the NASD.

“The delisting of 11 Plc’s shares from the NSE is not meant to make the company private. It is only a cessation of trading of the company’s shares on the NSE platform. Hence, there is no forceful acquisition of shares from minority shareholders.

“The company’s shares will be listed on the NASD OTC, thus still making its shares tradable. Shareholders will have a choice of selling their shares now at the price indicated by the company or at the NSE platform price before the delisting cut-off date or to sell on the NASD platform after delisting or to hold on to their shares and continue to receive their dividend.

“The company could choose to return to the NSE platform sometime in the future. The minority shareholders have nothing to fear or worry about in connection with the delisting,” a part of the new statement explained.

The statement further said, “Since the delisting is not intended to make the company private, and there was no dissent at the AGM in which the special resolution was passed, the unit price for the delisting was not in issue.

“It is pertinent to note that a the time of the AGM, the share price of 11 Plc shares was N186.90 but the delisting price was put at N213.90 being the highest price the stock has traded in the six months preceding the AGM. The fact that the price got higher than now cannot override the resolution.

“In any case, shareholders who want to sell but do not want to sell at the proposed price can also sell at the NSE platform before the delisting date.

“Minority shareholders are not bound to sell all their shares but may decide to keep their shares (which will still be freely tradable on the NASD OTC platform) in view of the company’s track record and dividend payouts.”

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Economy

Court Flings Oando Suit Against SEC

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Oando SEC crisis

By Dipo Olowookere

A suit filed by Oando Plc against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been thrown out by Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The judge, while delivering a judgement on the matter on Thursday, said her court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and directed the company to file its case before the Investment Securities Tribunal (IST), which she said was the appropriate court to hear the matter.

Oando had gone to the court to argue that its fundamental rights were trampled upon by the apex regulatory agency in the Nigerian capital market.

SEC had on May 31, 2019, directed a few members on the board of Oando to resign following the outcome of its investigations into allegations of ‘serious infractions by the company.’

The affected board members were Group Chief Executive, Mr Adewale Tinubu; the Deputy Group Chief Executive, Mr Omamofe Boyo; and the Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr Olufemi Adeyemo.

Oando, which was of the opinion that these alleged infractions and penalties meted out by the regulator were unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company, challenged the decisions in court.

But the court said the matter should be heard by IST and again, Oando is of the view that the judgement was misconceived and as such has appealed the decision on the grounds that the powers conferred by the Constitution of Nigeria on its citizens to enforce their fundamental rights supersede the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007.

As a result, the energy firm has filed applications for stay of execution as well as an injunction pending appeal in respect of the judgement of Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo in relation to SEC’s May 31, 2019, letter to Oando.

In view of this, Oando believes SEC is restrained from acting on its findings and carrying out any of the sanctions specified in its May 31, 2019, letter as the status quo that existed before Thursday’s ruling remains unchanged and its current management team remains in place.

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Economy

Wema Bank, Champion Breweries Weaken Stock Market by 0.74%

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wema-bank-logo

By Dipo Olowookere

Another loss was recorded at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday as a sell-off in financial, consumer goods and industrial goods equities weakened the market by 0.74 per cent.

As a result, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased by 295.60 points to 39,799.89 points from 40,095.49 points, while the market capitalisation reduced by N154 billion to N20.824 trillion from N20.978 trillion.

Business Post reports that the insurance sector depreciated yesterday by 2.32 per cent, the banking index lost 0.48 per cent, the consumer goods space fell by 0.40 per cent, while the industrial goods counter depreciated by 0.19 per cent, with the energy sector rising by 0.25 per cent.

It was observed that the investor sentiment, which is measured by the market breadth, was negative at the last trading session of the week due to the 24 declining stocks and 17 advancing equities.

Wema Bank and Champion Breweries depreciated by 10 per cent each on Friday to settle at 63 kobo per share and N2.52 per unit respectively.

Sunu Assurances depleted by 9.59 per cent to 66 kobo per share, Africa Prudential lost 5.74 per cent to N5.75 per unit, Axa Mansard Insurance dropped 5.36 per cent to settle at N1.06 per share.

After recording losses for a few days after its share reconstruction, Lasaco Assurance gained 9.82 per cent yesterday to top the risers chart, closing at N1.23 per share.

Mutual Benefits appreciated by 8.11 per cent to 40 kobo per unit, Courtville grew by 5.00 per cent to 21 kobo per share, Oando improved by 2.99 per cent to N3.45 per unit, while NAHCO gained 2.70 per cent to settle at N2.28 per share.

Wema Bank witnessed a significant trading volume on Friday, emerging as the most traded stock after it sold 304.5 million shares worth N197.3 million.

FBN Holdings exchanged 30.8 million shares for N226.1 million, Zenith Bank traded 26.6 million stocks valued at N677.4 million, Transcorp transacted 22.9 million equities worth N20.7 million, while United Capital exchanged 17.2 million stocks for N104.6 million.

At the close of transactions, the trading volume rose by 55.58 per cent to 507.3 million from 326.0 million, while the trading value reduced by 34.22 per cent to N2.4 billion from N3.7 billion, with the number of deals declining by 2.23 per cent to 4,465 deals from 4,567 deals.

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