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Economy

Understanding Private Equity and Alternative Investments

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Private Equity

By FBNQuest

Although there are a variety of options for raising capital and attracting investors, equity is one of the two most sought-after options.

It allows a company to give a share of ownership of its business to an investor in expectation of a return as the business grows. Unlike public equity (stock market) with ownership of shares in a public company, private equity (PE) simply means ownership of shares in a private company.

Private equity is a type of capital investment (asset or security) made to (target) companies that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange.

As an alternative form of private financing, private equity allows investors directly invest in companies through which such investors gain an ownership stake in the companies. Investors seek PE funds to earn returns that are considered to be better than those from the public equity markets.

To avoid debt, companies can sell their stocks to raise money that can be used to fund new technology, make acquisitions, expand working capital, and fund projects geared towards business growth.

Usually, the financial information on stocks of such a company is not disclosed to the public, rather, an investor can only speculate on the asset worth of the intending company.

Private equity involves three parties: the investors who supply the capital, the private equity firm that manages and invests the money on behalf of the investor via a private equity fund, and the company (known as Portfolio Company) that the private equity firm invests in.

A private equity firm’s ultimate goal is to sell or exit portfolio companies to deliver superior returns (above the benchmark return also referred to as Internal Rate of Return (IRR) to earn carried interests).

The most widely adopted investment strategies by PE investments are leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and venture capital (VC) investments.

In LBOs, a PE firm will raise debt from institutional investors on the back of a target company and assume control of the target company, while using the cash flows of the target company to pay the acquisition capital. Whereas, the VC makes investment in young and fast-growing companies in an industry that has the potential for exponential growth while adding value to the firm being taken up. In some cases, PE firms grow and improve a middle-market company with the aim to sell or exit to a mature company within a specified period.

Generally, private equity firms are active investors who are involved in the board level and monitor the financial and operating performance of portfolio companies.

However, some private equity firms are involved in the day-to-day operations of portfolio companies and may take C-level positions such as CEO, CFO, CIO  and  COO  to ensure that value creation initiatives are implemented in the portfolio companies to ensure that increase in revenue, improvement of operational efficiency and corporate governance.

A private equity fund is typically opened to institutional and accredited (individual or business entity) investors who invest large sums of money for a long period.

Institutional investors are companies or organisations like endowment funds, commercial banks, hedge funds, mutual fund managers, and insurance companies that invest money on behalf of other people.

Accredited investors on the other hand are individuals or a business entity that invest based on their income, net worth, asset size, governance status, or professional experience. The reason is that private equity as an asset class is generally illiquid and has a long lock-up period and only ideal for investors with a large asset size (or AuM).

Other alternative investments include infrastructure assets, art, antique furniture, automobiles, real estate, commodities, exchange-traded funds, and hedge funds.

The market performance of traditional investments and alternative investments are independent of each other, hence, the inclusion of alternative investments in a portfolio can reduce its risk through diversification.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, PE investments in Nigeria have been flourishing and as a result, in 2019, Nigeria was described by the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) as one of the most attractive destinations for PE investments. Between January and February 2019, PE in Nigeria recorded investments worth N277.64 billion ($767 million), an improvement of 345 per cent compared to   N62.37 billion  ($172 million) worth of deals closed during the corresponding period in 2018.

The deals within the first two months of 2019 included the 100 per cent acquisition of Chi Ltd by Coca-Cola Company for the sum of $500 million, which accounted for 65 per cent of the total private equity investments within that period.

Other notable deals included Access Bank Plc’s acquisition of Diamond Bank Plc, the Partech- led Series A funding of Kudi, a financial services provider, and the acquisition of Wakanow, a travel agency, by the Carlyle Group valued at $40 million, to mention a few.

Why invest in private equity?

Private equity firms have grown over the years to become attractive investment vehicles for wealthy individuals and institutions who manage large pools of capital.

PE often guarantees better returns compared to other investments, with some private equity managers outperforming the public markets.

To diversify holdings, investors turn to private equity for higher returns than do public market. Specifically, such investments are for investors who can afford to have capital locked up for long periods.

Investors in private equity funds are called limited partners. As a limited partner, you get a return on your investment when the private equity firm sells the company it purchases while the private equity firm (also called general partners) takes some percentage as profit.

In Nigeria, different PE firms like FBNQuest Funds have their specific deal sizes, investment horizons, sector focus, fundraising timelines, and exit strategies.

As one of the leading alternative investments managers in Nigeria, FBNQuest Funds has been in operations for over 17 years and has invested in over 70 private companies through direct investing and their expertise and exposure to PE and VC Funds. Domiciled in Nigeria, the firm has investments in companies in Nigeria and other countries within the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

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Economy

Investors Gain N1.09bn as NASD Share Price Rises 9.1%

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NASD Exchange

By Adedapo Adesanya

The unlisted securities market closed the last trading session of the week on a positive note after it appreciated by 0.18 per cent on the back of growth in the share price of NASD Plc.

Business Post reports that the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the bulls’ territory on Friday after it closed flat on Thursday.

NASD Plc was the major driver of the return of the bourse to the green region as its value went up during the session by N2.45 or 9.1 per cent to close at N26.99 per unit in contrast to N24.54 per unit it closed at the previous session.

As a result of this, the NASD unlisted security index (NSI) moved up by 1.32 points to 745.44 points from 744.12 points, while the market capitalisation gained N1.09 billion to wrap the day at N615.86 billion in contrast to the previous day’s N614.77 billion.

On the activity chart, there was an improvement as the trading volume surged by 34,985.6 per cent because of the 2.3 million units of shares exchanged by market participants compared with the 6,688 units transacted at the previous session.

In the same vein, the trading value rose by 17,680.6 per cent to N63.4 million from the previous day’s N356,563.60, while the number of deals witnessed a 100 per cent rise as investors carried out 12 deals compared to the six deals executed at the previous session.

At the close of trades, Food Concepts Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 11.4 billion units of its shares worth N14.4 billion, Lighthouse Financial Service Plc followed with 1.1 billion units valued at N546.2 million, while Geo Fluids Plc was in third place with 1.0 billion units worth N700.1 million.

Food Concepts Plc was also the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, trailed by Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc with 456.4 million units valued at N9.2 billion, VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.

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Economy

Naira Trades N414.73/$1 as Cryptos Bleed Heavily

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Cryptos

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market by 0.02 per cent or 7 kobo on Friday, December 4.

Data showed that the local currency was sold for N414.73/$1 at the investors’ window yesterday compared with the N414.80/$1 it traded on Thursday.

At the final trading session of the week, the turnover was $103.01 million as against $139.67 million achieved at the preceding session, indicating a $36.66 million or 26.62 per cent decline.

Also, the exchange rate of the Naira to the United States currency recorded a movement on Friday, though downward as the Nigerian currency depreciated by 4 kobo as it closed at N411.74/$1 versus the preceding day’s N411.70/$1.

The local currency, however, appreciated by N2.17 against the British Pound Sterling to settle at N546.26/£1 compared to N548.43/£1 it traded at the previous trading session and 57 kobo against the Euro to trade at N465.68/€1 compared to the preceding day’s N466.25/€1.

At the cryptocurrency market, investors counted a heavy loss as the new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron and hawkish comments by the US Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates have raised serious concerns, causing cryptos to bleed heavily.

The heaviest loss was suffered by Dash (DASH), which plunged by 35.3 per cent to sell for N66,595.85. Ripple (XRP) depreciated 30.6 per cent to trade at N381.85, while Litecoin (LTC) sold for N66,595.85 after declining by 24.1 per cent.

Dogecoin (DOGE) went down by 22.7 per cent to sell at N90.29, Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 20.8 per cent to N652.82, Bitcoin (BTC) depleted by 16.9 per cent to quote at N26,800,504.20, Ethereum (ETH) equally saw a 16.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N2,100,100.39, Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 12.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N218,577.24, Tron (TRX) went down by 12.7 per cent to trade at N48.00, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) recorded a 0.1 per cent marginal loss to sell for N554.76.

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Economy

Crude Mixed as Market Remains Unsettled by Omicron Jitters

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Crude Oil Prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude prices closed mixed on Friday, December 3 after erasing earlier big gains on growing worries that rising coronavirus cases and a new variant could reduce global oil demand.

Brent crude gained 21 cents or 0.3 per cent to trade at $69.88 per barrel while on the other hand, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 24 cents or 0.36 per cent to sell at $66.26 per barrel.

Both benchmarks declined for a sixth week in a row for the first time since November 2018.

Oil prices had witnessed one of the most troubled weeks as the market reeled from the fear brought about by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus with speculations that it could spark new lockdowns and dent fuel demand.

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to vaccinate their people to fight the virus, saying travel curbs were not the answer.

Even with this, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) surprised the market on Thursday when it stuck to its plans to add 400,000 barrels per day supply in January.

However, it said it will continue to monitor the market and this could make it change course if demand suffered from measures to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The alliance said they could meet again before their next scheduled meeting on January 4.

Analysts noted that with the coronavirus cases rising, the US jobs report for November also didn’t help demand outlook even as the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2 per cent, suggesting the country’s labour market was rapidly tightening.

US employment growth slowed considerably in November amid job losses at retailers and in local government education.

Meanwhile, in Vienna, diplomats attempting to restore the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers face substantial challenges that need urgent solutions, the top European envoy said Friday. Talks are set to resume next week.

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