Wednesday , 17 September 2014
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Category Archives: Business

Access Bank MD Wigwe’s Tenure Rated Low, As Bank Gets NSE Suspension

herbert wigwe

Not a few shareholders of Access Bank are poise for showdown at the next shareholders meeting slated for October 13, 2014 over the dwindling fortune of Access Bank since the current MD took over the mantle of leadership.

Aside high rate of Staff corruption, payment of fines to CBN are grounds for their grouse. Just yesterday, Access Bank has been suspended technically from the Stock Exchange Market.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday approved the technical suspension of the shares of Access Bank Plc to enable the bank to preserve shareholders’ value as it moves to raise up to N68bn additional capital.

According to the Exchange, technical suspension is the interruption of price movement in listed shares for a specified period so that any dealings in the shares which occur during the period of the suspension will not result in change in price.

The Exchange explained in a statement posted on its website that it granted “anticipatory approval” for Access Bank’s shares to be placed on technical suspension following an application made by the bank.

It added, “The bank will hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on Monday, October 13, 2014 to seek its shareholders’ authorisation for the Board of Directors to raise additional equity capital in the sum of up to N68bn by way of a rights issue.

“The board believes that the technical suspension is in the overall interest of the bank’s shareholders and will preserve the shareholders’ value, on account of the proposed corporate action.”

According to the Exchange, the technical suspension will be lifted on January 27, 2015 and normal trading activities will resume on January 28, 2015.

Access Bank shareholders had on May 30 at its 25th Annual General Meeting approved plans by the bank to raise $1bn to strengthen its operations and enable it to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top three banks in the country.

The bank had explained at the yearly meeting that the amount would be raised in tranches at a date to be determined by its directors.

Access Bank had in June issued a $400m Eurobond.

The Authentic Story Of Ecobank’s $20m Credit Loan From Brazillian Bank

Jibril Aku, ecobank md

Jibril Aku, Ecobank MD

Ecobank Nigeria says it has signed a $20m credit deal with Brazilian Development Bank.

The facility will address special funding needs of customers and non-customers of Ecobank that import goods from Brazil, according to a statement by the lender.

The Brazilian bank, also known as National Bank for Economic and Social Development, is one of the largest development banks in the world, with financial net worth of $27.40bn and total assets of $353.37bn in 2013.

The statement quoted the Executive Director, Corporate Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Ms Foluke Aboderin, as saying that the partnership was driven by demands from customers and importers requiring competitive financing to purchase products from the international markets, particularly Brazil.

According to Aboderin, the partnership underscores Ecobank’s pedigree in trade financing in Nigeria.

“This partnership offers a seamless solution to companies that import goods from Brazil,” she said. “We encourage all goods importers to avail themselves of the opportunity that this funding arrangement provides by approaching Ecobank. We expect it to generate a sizeable boost in trade flows between both countries.”

Under the arrangement, importers and exporters negotiate export terms and conditions, and once commercial negotiation is finalised, the exporter or agent bank in Brazil submits the transaction to BNDES for approval.

By 2017 Dangote Will Expand To 13 Africa Countries

aliko dangote

Dangote Cement Plc has disclosed that it is planning massive expansion into sub-Saharan Africa markets. The disclosure was made by the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Devakumar Edwin, while presenting the company’s “Facts Behind the Figures” before the capital market community last week in Lagos.

Edwin hinted that more than $5 billion has been committed for expansion between 2012 and 2016, as the current funding plan will be 60 per cent equity and 40 per cent debt.

He explained that the expansion was gaining pace as new Nigerian lines have started producing clinker/cement. “Sephaku Cement is already selling cement from Delmas. Zambia is on track for commencement in 2014 while Cameroon is to begin operations soon. He stated that Senegal plant commissioning has commenced while Ethiopia will commence before the end of the year. Sierra Leone will open in Q4 2014 and we are reviewing scope of Kenya in the light of finding good limestone deposits. He also disclosed that South Sudan is on the hold owing to conflict.”

On its outlook, the Dangote Cement boss said that coal facilities at Ibese 1+2 are expected by September at Obajana 3 even as the company will invest $300 million in additional coal facilities across all plants.

He added that the Group was looking to acquire oil/gas blocks to help secure gas supplies, expecting to increase direct deliveries and Capex of about $1 billion for 2014.

Edwin noted that by the end of 2017, it is expected that Dangote Cement will be in operations in 13 countries in Africa with about 62MTPA capacity. Nigeria’s capacity is expected to be at 38MTPA while the additional capacity would be across other African countries including Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana Takoradi and Congo Brazzaville.

Continuing, he said that by 2017, the group’s export strategies would be fully operational, trading within Africa’s trade zones, operating in robust, growth market, well diversified regional exposure and leading sub-Saharan African producer.

Edwin also assured stakeholders of consistent and adequate returns, saying the company has the potentials to deliver stupendous financial performance and strong returns.

Speaking on the company’s half-year result, he noted that the group’s revenue rose by 5.3 per cent to N208.9 billion, just as the profit rose 1.1 per cent to N133.5 billion.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) appreciated by 1.6 per cent to N129.3 billion at 61.9 per cent margin while earnings per share dropped by 11 per cent to N5.53 billion.

Dangote Cement Plc is the largest company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), with $24 billion market capitalisation. It has 29 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) production capacity across its three state-of-the-art plants in Nigeria.

Skye Bank Rated High By Global Agency

Mr.-Kehinde-Durosinmi-Etti - skye bank

Leading global rating agency, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), has assigned (B/stable/B) to Skye Bank Plc in its current rating released in August 2014. S&P said it based its rating of the bank on Nigeria’s positive economic prospects which will support Skye Bank’s earnings growth, capitalisation and asset quality over the next 12-18 months.

The agency rationalised Skye Bank’s stable rating on its modest but profitable franchise operating in the mid-tier of Nigeria’s highly competitive banking sector, saying it anticipates that the bank’s RAC ratio will remain between 5.5 per cent and 6 per cent over the next 12 months, reflecting robust internal capital generation and mild risk-asset accumulation.

“We also expect that Skye Bank will maintain non-performing loans (NPLs) at about 3.5 per cent of total loans, a cost of risk of about 2.5 per cent and a loan-loss coverage ratio in excess of 90 per cent of NPLs over the next 12 months,” while stating that the bank is largely funded by stable customer deposits and relies on a sizable portfolio of liquid assets.

The agency noted that Skye Bank had a modest, mid-tier position in Nigeria’s increasingly competitive banking sector, pointing out that in 2013, it reported total assets of N1.4 trillion ($7 billion at $1 to N160), ranking it the eighth-largest bank in Nigeria by lending.

Also, the renowned global rating body said its rating is based on the bank’s strategy of focusing on expanding its retail and commercial (largely SME) franchise, while leveraging its branch network and electronic platforms to mobilise low-cost retail deposits.

“In 2013, the bank achieved a marked reduction in cost of funds to 4.7 per cent, from 6.8 per cent a year earlier, thus improving its net interest margin by 140 basis points to 6.6 per cent. Although assets are mainly generated through the corporate and investment banking unit (59 per cent of assets; 17 per cent of profits before tax), higher yields achieved on loans from the commercial banking (28 per cent of assets; 49 per cent of profits before tax) and retail banking (13 per cent of assets; 34 per cent of profits before tax) units resulted in disproportionate profit contributions at year-end 2013,” it said.

We believe the bank would forgo higher margins on corporate loans to retain top-tier corporates as a strategic source of additional business by banking their employees and their value chain of suppliers, contractors and other service providers,” it said.

“We have not included in our outlook, any impact from the prospective mergers or acquisitions mooted by Skye Bank as the timing, capital impact and prospective support from shareholders are unclear.”

However, such a transaction is expected to have a significant impact on the bank’s capitalisation and, potentially, its risk profile. “We could lower the ratings if the bank fails to maintain a risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio above 5 per cent over the next 12 months,” S&P said.

Dangote Gets Kudos For Crashing Cement Price By N200

aliko dangote

Within 24 hours of announcing the crashing of cement price, people in high and low places have started thanking Dangote for the bold move. Some though are of the opinion that it is all part of the grand conspiracy with Federal Government to help Dangote dominate the market.

Africa’s cement manu­facturing giant, Dan­gote Cement Plc,  said it has increased its production capacity by an additional nine million met­ric tonnes per annum (mtpa) effective this month.

The production enhance­ment figure was disclosed by the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm, Mr. Deva­komar Edwin, during a media briefing to unveil the new Dan­gote cement package in line with the directive of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) for cement companies to com­ply with the 42.5 and 32.5 ce­ment grades.

Edwin explained that lines 3 and 4 in Ibese, Ogun State, has additional six million mtpa and another three million mtpa line 4 at Obajana, Kogi State.

With this development, he said Dangote has equally con­cluded plans to launch its brand of the premium 32.5 cement grade, selling N200 lower than the price of higher strength 42.5 as a result of increased production.

Edwin said specifically that the 32.5 grade, which has the lowest strength among the various cement products will be priced lower than the others and will be selling at N200 lower than the price of the higher strength 42.5 grade, adding “this in addition offers our numerous customers and end users the prerogative of choice and its appropriate ap­plication.”

Edwin noted that the en­trance of the 32.5 cement grade from Dangote would ensure that the consumer pays the appropriate price for the right value rather than paying more for lower grade as is presently the case in the market.

He disclosed that Dangote Cement is currently reviewing the selling prices of its products with intent to reduce them and make the products available with the recent commissioning of additional six million met­ric tonnes per annum lines 3 and 4 in Ibese, Ogun State and another three million metric tonnes capacity additional line 4 at Obajana, Kogi State.

On its new packaging, the CEO said the company has fully complied with the direc­tive of SON by ensuring that the 32.5 cement grade, which has been branded “Dangote Cement 1X” would be clearly marked in the colour pre­scribed by SON with the uses for which it should be applied, which is purely for plastering.

Besides the caveat, he ex­plained that the new package also comes with an expiry date, batch no and content specifica­tion for the benefit of members of the public.

For the 42.5 cement grade, which is for concrete works, reinforcement and beams, he disclosed that all the details are replicated on the package as well in order for everyone to know and identify the different roles each grade plays.

“I have Not Declared Governorship Ambition” —- Diamond Bank GMD

Alex-Otti-MD-Diamond-Bank

After series of speculations about his political ambition, Dr. Alex Otti, Group Managing Director/CEO, Diamond Bank Plc, says that there is no iota of truth in the stories being peddled by some politicians who are claiming that he has made public his intention to contest for Abia governorship seat in 2015.

Denying the allegations that he has declared interest in the governorship election of Abia State, he stated that he understand and feels the yearnings of the people of Abia who have continued to mount pressure, and are determined to choose a credible hand that will put the state first and build on the good works of the incumbent governor, T. A. Orji.

In a statement, the bank described as misleading various newspaper and online reports which suggested that Otti has thrown his hat into the political ring, stating that he is focused on his work as the CEO of Diamond Bank Plc and has continued to show sterling results.

While Otti is unaware of pressure being brought upon him by various organisations to contest for the electoral seat based on his hard work, integrity, managerial ingenuity and track record of performance in the corporate world, the bank noted that he is currently focused on pursuing the vision of taking the bank to greater heights.

“The achievements of Diamond Bank Plc, in the past three years, are a testament to Dr. Otti’s commitment to excellence and competence in managing men and resources towards superior results.

“As a law abiding citizen, Dr. Otti is mindful of the electoral laws of the land and knows it is premature, if not illegal to at this stage, take actions that are in breach of provisions of the electoral act. If in the future, Dr. Alex Otti decides to run for the governorship seat of Abia State, which becomes vacant in 2015, this will be made public, and communicated to all stakeholders of the bank.

“We hope that this statement will serve to clear the air about the misleading press reports. The public is urged to ignore any information other than this from the bank.

EcoBank Excites Customers With N10m Promo … Donate $50,000 To Fight Ebola

Jibril Aku, ecobank md

Jibril Aku, Ecobank MD

Ecobank Nigeria says it is committed to boosting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion programme.

As a result, the bank said it had allotted over N10m cash prizes for prospective winners in its new deposit promo titled “Giant prize give away”

According to a statement by the bank, the promo will run from September to February next year and it is meant for current and savings account holders.

The statement quoted the Deputy Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Tony Okpanachi, as saying that the lender had decided to run the second edition of the promo because of the success it recorded in the previous edition.

He noted that feedback from customers was positive, reiterating that the promo was also the bank’s contribution to the financial inclusion strategy of the CBN.

He said, “This is one of the several ways to reward our loyal customers even as we offer them the best of banking services. It is also to encourage savings culture in the country. Ecobank remains the best platform to provide economic empowerment to our people across Africa.”

Okpanachi explained that to ensure many customers benefitted from the various prizes, the promo had been segmented into two categories.

Meanwhile, Ecobank International Incorporated says it has donated $50,000 to the Government of Sierra Leone to assist it in combating the deadly Ebola virus which has ravaged Sierra Leone and several other West African countries.

A statement by the lender said Ecobank Sierra Leone’s Managing Director, Mr. Clement Dodoo, made the donation to President Ernest Koroma in his office at State House in Freetown on Tuesday.

Dodoo, the statement noted, did the donation on behalf of Ecobank Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Albert Essien.

It quoted Dodoo as lauding measures put in place by the Sierra Leone government and others in the Manu River Union in an effort to combat the virus.

“In the spirit of Pan-Africanism, we at Ecobank believe that the current Ebola menace is a fight for all of us in the country and on the wider African continent,” he said.

“We believe your government needs all the resources it requires to fight this menace and we cannot sit and allow the government to go it alone,” he added

The Ecobank Sierra Leone managing director conveyed the condolences of the entire Ecobank Group to the government and people of Sierra Leone for the loss of life so far.

“What they stood for,” Dodoo said, “gives us all the zeal to continue the fight against Ebola and kick it out of Sierra Leone.”

The managing director also took the opportunity to appeal to the Sierra Leonean police, who he said must ensure that passengers were not overloaded in public and private transport.

He stressed that the true means to success in fighting the virus was by diligently adhering to the preventive measures prescribed by the experts.

He further called on other corporate bodies in the country to join in the struggle to make Sierra Leone safe and free from Ebola. H

He particularly enjoined sister banking institutions to supplement their initial donation as an association by still donating more to the cause.

The statement quoted Koroma as extending the heartfelt appreciation of the government for the gesture.

Ecobank said it was pursuing similar corporate social responsibility initiatives in Guinea and Liberia, which have also been seriously affected by the Ebola epidemic.

Diamond Bank Rights Issue: Owerri Shareholders Demand For More Shares, Extension of Closing Date

DIAMOND BANK OWERRI

Shareholders in Owerri, Imo State, have requested to be allowed to buy more than their allotted share in the ongoing Diamond Bank Rights Issue meant to raise N50.37 billion for strategic growth projects. They also want the closing date for the issue extended to enable them take up fully their shares.

The call was made during the Shareholders’ Forum organized by the Bank in Owerri to sensitise shareholders on the offer as well as encourage them to take up their share rights. The bank is currently offering three new ordinary shares for every five ordinary shares of 50 Kobo held as at close of business on 13 June, 2014.

In his presentation, Dr. Alex Otti, Group Managing Director/CEO, Diamond Bank PLC, noted that Diamond Bank operates a diversified business model and is one of the top performing banks in Nigeria, ranking sixth in total assets, deposits and earnings; and second by Returns on Investment.

“Diamond Bank boasts a credible leadership with clear focus and an enhanced risk management approach that have returned the Bank to profitability since 2012. The strong profitability and healthy balance sheet are testament to management’s commitment to continue to yield value for shareholders,” Dr. Otti stated.

Continuing, he said, “The bank has recorded significant growth from December 2013 to June 2014 with assets up by fifteen per cent and deposits up by eight per cent. The net interest margin is also strong at 7.1% as at half-year 2014. In a fast growing economy such as Nigeria, the recent rebasing of the GDP to $510bn offers fresh imperatives for investment opportunities.”

One of the shareholders present at the event, Prof. R. N. Echebiri of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Michael Opara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, said: “Diamond Bank is on a very progressive trend and I think that the Issue will help the Bank make further progress. The Bank already has a very promising balance sheet and the Rights Issue is going to boost it further and increase its capacity to diversity its operations, so it is a welcome development.

Basically, the performance of the bank has been impressive and it is on top on all indices of performance. If fortune were not on its side the Bank would have been scraped like others that went under. I will surely pick up my share and possibly ask for more.”

Mazi Chikeronwu Ezekiel, who spoke on behalf of several shareholders that wished to increase their stakes in the Bank, requested that management give consideration to people who wished to take up more shares than allotted to them. He explained: “In my case, I did not have much money when I bought these shares and currently belong to what may be considered as the bottom of the rung. Given the profitability of the shares in the last few years, my family has now pooled funds to increase our investment in the Bank and we would like management to give us opportunity to buy more than the three shares offered us for every five we currently have.”

The Diamond Bank Rights Issue is open from Wednesday, July 30 to Tuesday, August 26, 2014. Proceeds from the Offer will be deployed mainly in the expansion and refurbishment of the Bank’s business locations, development of IT infrastructure and working capital support.

Access Bank Suffers Mass Protest Withdrawal, Pays Over N637Million For Fraudulent Charges

herbert wigwe

Ill wind seems to be blowing in Access Bank as Customers groan in pains over illegal deduction …. and many at branches we visited are leaving accounts dormant.

Weeks back CBN’s axe came with N353million fine for violating regulatory rules. Now an appeal court in Enugu has ordered over  N636million be paid F.G Onyenwe Motors Nig. Ltd for excessive, fraudulent and wrongful charges.

UBA Hailed By Experts Over CBN Cashlite Policy ….. Her 5 Notable Products

Cash-Lite-goes-Nationwide

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the take off of the Cash-Lite policy nationwide starting July 1st, 2014.

Under this new policy, cash withdrawals and deposits above N500, 000 will attract a 3% fee for individuals while cash withdrawals and deposits above N3, 000,000 on any day will attract a 5% fee for corporate bodies.

However, these fees are only applicable in the following states; Abia, Anambra, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Rivers, and Abuja for now. Cash deposits made in any other state not mentioned above will not attract the required fees until July 1st, 2015.

In a bid to ensure that UBA customers are not subjected to these fees, the bank provides several platforms to enable customers withdraw, deposit and transfer funds conveniently.

Some of the platforms customers can take advantage of include;

Point of Sales (POS) machines;

POS are great for reducing cash collections at selling points. Traders with a high volume cash business can deploy UBA’s highly efficient POS machines to reduce cash collections from their customers.

Cards

UBA has an array of cards that helps customers eliminate cash. UBA issues Mastercards, Visa and Verve cards which can all be used for payments across both traditional platforms like ATMs and POS machines and also online. UBA payment cards are also accepted by millions of merchants in over 200 countries.

This means that UBA card holders do not need to take cash with them where ever they are going in the world as long as they have a UBA card.

UBA also offers prepaid cards, which are perfect for people that do not have bank accounts or customers that may not want their card transactions linked to their bank accounts. UBA prepaid cards are ideal for online shopping, especially for those who are worried about online security.

U-Mobile

This is UBA’s award winning mobile banking application. It is effectively a bank on a phone. With U-Mobile, UBA customers do not really need to visit the bank unless it is absolutely necessary.

It is very easy to install a U-Mobile on a phone and it is compatible with many smart phones. Customers can initiate inter-bank and intra-bank transfers once they have a U-Mobile installed on their phones, which significantly reduces the amount cash they carry around.

Sellers can even ask their customers to transfer payments for goods and services through U-Mobile and they can immediately receive an alert for any such transaction and also check the balance on their phones to confirm the transaction has been done.

U-Direct

This is a bank on a tablet or personal computer. UBA’s U-Direct gives the user a platform to also carry out all your basic and advanced banking transactions right on their personal computers or tablets.

Payments for bills or purchases, inter-bank and intra-bank transfers, checking of account balances, tracking of transactions among others, can all be done on a personal computer through the highly secured U-Direct internet banking platform. With U-Direct, there is no need carrying cash anywhere or receiving cash.

U-Direct also has a version for corporates, which enables them manage their cash and payment transactions right on their personal computers or tablets. U-Direct Corporate has eight different modules dealing with different aspects of a company’s operations.

ATMs

This is a traditional platform that many are already used to. Sadly, many people use it only for withdrawals and nothing else. However, UBA ATMs are enabled to offer you more. You can actually pay for most of your bills on a UBA ATM. You can also do inter-bank and intra-bank transfers easily on the ATM, thus eliminating the need to carrying around cash.

All the listed platforms are highly secured by UBA’s world class e-banking security platform. This ensures that customers can carry out cashless transactions without worrying about the security of their money or funds.