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Category Archives: Business

UBA Innovates U-Social On Facebook – Why The Product Is Attractive

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

United Bank for Africa Plc has inaugurated an online banking solution called U-Social, designed to promote financial inclusion and to make the bank’s services available to customers regardless of the time and their locations.

The bank in a statement said the U-Social offered flexibility and convenience to customers who desire to do banking transactions on social media using their Facebook account.

U-Social enables users to send money to other banks right from their Facebook page. It is as simple as a “click” and the money is sent, the bank said.

With U-Social, it said users could also pay for all cable TV bills right on their Facebook page without having to disengage from any interesting conversation thread that is on-going.

According to the statement, U-Social users can also buy airtime right from their Facebook page and have cheques confirmed, cancelled and initiate new transactions while logged into their Facebook account.

The Divisional Head, e-banking, UBA, Mr. Yinka Adedeji, was quoted in the statement as saying, “The beauty of U-social is that it has simplified banking and made it part of the social media space.

“With UBA’s U-Social, Facebook is not just where people connect with friends and family, it is also the place anyone can do his or her banking with ease,” he added.

According to the statement, U-Social comes as online-based application on Facebook, it is easy to download and immediately syncs with the user’s Facebook account.

The bank described it as an easy-to-use and secure banking solution, accessible to all UBA customers who are on Facebook.

It said users accessing U-Social would be immediately presented with four options including; open account, enrolment, locate services and settings.

The bank said intending users with an existing UBA account could select enrollment and follow simple steps to start using U-Social, adding that Facebook users without an existing UBA account could however, select the open account icon to begin the process of using U-Social.

UBA said the U-Social had added a new dimension to its social media banking space.

DIAMOND BANK HARPS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BUSINESS PLANNING FOR SMEs’ GROWTH

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Diamond Bank Plchas hinged the success and sustainable growth of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) on strategic planning, corporate discipline and focus.

The Bank stated during the 47th edition of its BusinessXpress Seminar, organized to train and broaden the management skills of operators of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Onitsha, Anambra State that the only way to maintain stable and sustainable growth under harsh economic environment, is to embrace the old-fashioned method of corporate planning and financial discipline.

Raymond Mbonu, Business Manager, Diamond Bank, Bridge Head, Onitsha, stated in his welcome address that the Bank’s commitment, drive and passion to fund the MSME sector is as a result of its conviction that MSMEs holds the economic key for growing the national economy and reducing unemployment.

“Diamond Bank’s commitment to the MSME sector is motivated by the fact that a nation with a thriving MSME sector will grow to become self-sufficient with sufficient employment opportunities for the citizenry. There will also be a significant decline in social vices. This is why we are investing in the sector and we will continually support them and help them grow into viable multinational ventures,” he said.

The guest speaker, Chief Emmanuel Eziokwu, Chairman, Prollo Pipes & Profile Industries Limited, harped on the need for proper business planning. According to him many small businesses do not plan, that is why they are adversely affected in times of economic crunch, pointing that the two major traits common with MSMEs are diversion of funds and overspending. These vices according to him, can only be curbed through planning.

Reiterating Mbonu, Uche Apakama, CEO of Paxs Pharmaceuticals Limited, who is also President, Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, said that the ripple effect of the business training of MSME operators in the state by Diamond Bank has significantly enhanced many businesses in Onitsha and will continue to impact positively the upcoming ones.

“The Diamond Bank BusinessXpress Seminars have changed the nature of business in Onitsha. Onitsha is an entrepreneurial hub but since the inception of the Seminars here, we have seen the approach to business changing. Many MSMEs are embracing modern business management practices and training their staff in financial management and other relevant skills that will enhance what they do. The thinking is changing and many small businesses are beginning to look beyond merely satisfying their immediate needs to wealth creation and sustainability,” Apakama said.

The Diamond Bank BusinessXpress Seminar is a monthly capacity building and business advisory workshop targeted at businesses within the MSME sub-sector. The seminar holds in a selected city every month.

Cheers As Zenith Bank 2014 Report Outperform Expectations

Zenith-Bank-national-headquarters

Zenith Bank Plc has released its audited results for the 2014 financial year, declaring an 8.3 per cent increase in profit before tax.

The results, published by the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday, showed that the group’s PBT rose from N110.597bn to N119.796bn in the review period, while its profit after tax edged up by 4.3 per cent to N99.455bn from N95.318bn in the previous year.

This followed a 14.76 per cent year-on-year growth in gross earnings. Gross earnings rose from N351.470bn to N403.343bn.

Earnings per share was up by 4.98 per cent to N3.16 from N3.01, while total assets jumped by 16.3 per cent to N3.755tn from N3.143tn in 2013.

The group also increased its loans and advances by 38.21 per cent to N1.729tn from N1.251tn.

The results also showed that the board of directors had proposed a dividend of N1.75 per share – the same amount it proposed for 2013 – from the retained earnings account as at 31 December 2014.

“This is subject to approval by shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting,” it said.

The board added, “If the proposed dividend is approved by the shareholders, the bank will be liable to pay additional corporate tax estimated at N16.48bn, which represents the difference between the tax liability calculated at 30 per cent of the dividend approved and the minimum tax charge reported in the statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income for year ended 31 December 2014.”

Analysts at FBN Capital Research said, “All in all, the results were ahead of expectations. Zenith delivered an Return on Average Equity of 19 per cent for 2014. We would expect consensus estimates for 2015 to move up slightly.

“On the back of the results, we would expect the market to react positively, with the caveat that concerns about the impact of the fallout from the decline in oil prices are likely to linger a bit. Zenith shares have outperformed the index this year, gaining 3.2 per cent compared with a loss of -12.4 per cent for the ASI. We rate Zenith Bank shares Neutral. Our estimates are under review.”

Dangote Still The Richest Personage In The Whole Of Africa!

aliko dangote

Alhaji Aliko Dangote has remained Africa’s richest man despite his losses to the devaluation of the Naira and drops in the demand for cement his largest asset.

According to Forbes margazine, Dangote was this “year’s biggest loser in dollar terms as his fortune dropped to $14.7 billion from $25 billion last year, propelled downward by a weaker Naira and shrinking demand for cement, his largest asset. He still retains the title of Africa’s richest man.

The country that has lost the most ground by far was Russia, which now has 88 billionaires down from 111, less than not just the US and China but now also Germany and India.

According to Forbes’ Inside The 2015 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts And Figures, Bill Gates is once again the richest person on the planet, a title he’s held for 16 of the past 21 years.

His fortune grew $3.2 billion since last year to $79.2 billion, despite a gift of $1.5 billion in Microsoft MSFT +0.66 per cent shares to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2014.

Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico comes in again at number two while revered American investor, Warren Buffett, took back the number three spot from Spain’s Amancio Ortega (now number four); not even the largest IPO in history was enough to beat the Oracle of Omaha this year.

Buffett was the list’s biggest gainer, up $14.5 billion to $72.7 billion, thanks to Berkshire Hathaway’s rising share price. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg moves up five spots to number 16, his first time ranked among the world’s 20 richest. Ma and three other Chinese are among the the biggest gainers and appear among the 50 richest on the list.

Zuckerberg is also the leader in a youth revolution that has minted 46 billionaires under the age of 40.

Youngest billionaire

“The youngest billionaire on the planet is Evan Spiegel, 24, co-founder of photo- messaging app Snapchat. California, driven by Silicon Valley tech companies, has spawned 23 new billionaires, including cofounders of car-hailing service Uber cofounders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, and their first employee Ryan Graves. Elizabeth Holmes, who runs blood-testing firm Theranos, debuts on the global list as the youngest self-made woman at age 31. The state now has 131 individuals with 10-figure net worths, more than any other country besides China and the US.

Dangote

“The year’s biggest loser in dollar terms is Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, whose fortune dropped to $14.7 billion from $25 billion last year, propelled downward by a weaker Nigerian currency and shrinking demand for cement, his largest asset. He still retains the title of Africa’s richest man.

The country that has lost the most ground by far was Russia, which now has 88 billionaires down from 111, less than not just the U.S. and China but now also Germany and India.

“One hundred thirty-eight people from the 2014 list dropped out of the ranks altogether including fashion designer, Michael Kors, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Zulily’s Mark Vadon and many Russians.

Guatemala has a billionaire for the first time, and Iceland returns to the ranks after a five-year absence, the result of a comeback by Thor Bjorgolfsson, who’s now the only billionaire in Iceland’s history.

Zenith Bank MD, Amangbo Excited Over Asset Quality Rating

Peter-Amangbo

Peter Amangbo of Zenith Bank has expressed delight over the performance of the bank and the way Customers are getting attracted. Within the context of the Nigerian operating environment, a total of seven Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have been rated high in asset quality.

The banks are: Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), First Bank Nigeria (FBN) Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Access Bank Plc. Others are Fidelity Bank and First City Monument Bank(FCMB).

Loan quality and asset quality are two terms with basically the same meaning. While a good quality loan brings good returns to banks and can hardly go bad, a bad quality loan has a higher probability of becoming a non-performing loan with no return.

Bank managers are concerned with the quality of their loans since that provides earnings for the bank.

According to a recent report by a credit rating agency Fitch, Zenith Bank’s “Asset quality is sound.”

FBN’s Asset quality metrics are “acceptable but the group has the highest oil & gas exposure among peers (40% of gross loans at end-September 2014).”

GTB has a “healthy asset quality,” driven by sound underwriting, and adequate capital, while UBA’s asset quality remains “adequate.”

For Access Bank, it said the Intercontinental Bank acquisition has benefitted its financial metrics, including “improved earnings and asset quality.”

The global rating agency also described FCMB’s Asset quality as being “acceptable.”

For Fidelity Bank, the agency considered the bank’s asset quality metrics over the last three years as “improved.”

Other banks that almost made the list are Diamond and Union Bank. For the former, Fitch said its asset quality is slightly weaker than most peers. “While the level of impaired loans is currently acceptable, certain large exposures present downside risk,” Fitch observed.

Also, “Union’s Viability Rating reflects threats to asset quality ratios from a sizeable portfolio of past due, but not impaired, loans and a material exposure to the oil sector. Though Fitch expects liquidity to remain tight in 2015, amplified by higher Central Bank reserve requirements, customer deposit growth should remain healthy and help loans-to-deposit ratios remain below the regulatory limit of 80 per cent.

However, the agency explained further, that a prolonged economic downturn is a threat to all banks’ Viability Ratings (VRs). The VRs are also sensitive to the following bank specific factors.

“Zenith’s VR it stated, is sensitive to a general increase in risk appetite, worsening underwriting standards and a reduced focus on liquidity.

“The VRs of FBNH and FBN are sensitive to weaker asset quality, in particular relating to significant oil and gas exposures. VR upgrades, though unlikely at present, could in the longer term result from the group successfully broadening its franchise and strengthening revenue generation.

“An upgrade of UBA’s VR could result from the bank continuing to improve its capitalisation, accompanied by low credit losses, resilient profitability and manageable growth in lending.

GTB’s VR is sensitive to loan concentration risks as several large corporate defaults could quickly erode the bank’s capital base. Asset quality could also be put under pressure by the bank’s increasing operations outside of Nigeria, particularly in east Africa.

“Access’ VR is most sensitive to asset quality deterioration from the current level. The VR may be upgraded in the medium term if its company profile continues to strengthen and if it can demonstrate healthy and stable financial metrics through the economic cycle.

“An upgrade of Diamond’s VR is unlikely in the near term given the bank’s inadequate capitalisation and somewhat weak asset quality. In the longer term an upgrade could follow a continued improvement in capitalisation, combined with manageable growth and improved financial metrics.

“Fidelity’s VR currently has limited upside potential, due to the bank’s limited franchise. A downgrade is most likely to result from prolonged losses resulting from an economic downturn and/or a liquidity shortfall.

“Union’s VR has limited potential for an upgrade at present, having recently emerged from insolvency in 2012. Over time, a sustained and significant improvement in the bank’s financial profile through the economic cycle, particularly earnings and asset quality metrics, could lead to an upgrade of the VR. The VR remains sensitive to further material worsening in asset quality due to previously unrecognised problems or high loan concentrations.

“FCMB’s VR has limited upside potential at present. In the medium term an upgrade could result from the bank building a larger and sustainable franchise, achieving a strong performance track record and maintaining a more liquid balance sheet,” the agency stated.

Diamond Bank Put Records Straight On Political Allegations Against Alex Otti

Alex-Otti-MD-Diamond-Bank

Our attention has been drawn to an Open Letter Advertorial signed by one Hon. Osita Igbe, Director of Media and Publicity, Okezuo Abia Campaign Organisation, addressed to the Chairman/Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, entitled “Reckless Conduct of Alex Otti”. The advertorial which was published on page 17 of Vanguard and page 37 of The Guardian of Tuesday, February 16, 2015 alleged that the security operatives attached to Alex Otti “were mopped up from various branches of Diamond Bank especially in Lagos State”.

For the avoidance of doubt and to put the records straight we state the following:-

1.    Dr. Alex Otti formally resigned as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc on Friday, October 24, 2014 to focus on his private life and since then, ceased to have any dealings with the Board and management of the Bank.

2.    As at the close of business yesterday, being Tuesday, February 16, 2015 none of the security operatives attached to the Bank’s over 265 branches was drafted to the security apparatus of Alex Otti.

3.    The allegation in the advertorial published on page 17 of the Vanguard and page 37 of The Guardian of Tuesday, February 16, 2015 is false, misleading and have no iota of truth in it.

4.    As a responsible corporate legal entity licensed to carry out banking business in Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc is fully focussed on her primary responsibility of providing banking services while abiding by the highest professional ethical standard in the industry, and therefore has no political leanings to any person or group.

5.    We hope that this statement will serve to clear and correct the misleading advertorial by Okezuo Abia Campaign Organisation

Shell Restates Commitment To Bonga South West/Aparo Project

Shell Nigeria md
The Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) has restated its commitment to the implementation of the SNEPCO-operated Bonga South West/Aparo (BSWA) project, denying recent reports that it has stopped the development due to the slump in oil price. “We can confirm that we are currently progressing the tender for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts to support the project,” said Managing Director, SNEPCo, Tony Attah. “Although, the process has encountered some delays, we are optimistic for a final investment decision in the 2015/16 timeframe under the right conditions.”
The BSWA project includes the construction of a new floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility with an expected peak production of 225 thousand barrels of oil per day. The BSWA field straddles Oil Mining Leases (OML) 118, OML132 and OML140. SNEPCo is the Unit Operator of the BSWA Unitisation project pursuant to a Pre-Unit Agreement between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria (Deepwater) Ltd., Total E&P Nigeria Ltd., Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd., Texaco Nigeria Outer Shelf Ltd., Star Ultra Deep Petroleum Ltd., Sasol Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd. and Oil and Gas Nigeria Ltd.
The Bonga project itself, which began producing oil and gas in 2005, is Nigeria’s first deep-water development in water depths over 1,000 metres. In 2014, SNEPCo also started oil production at the Bonga North West deep-water development, with the oil transported by a new undersea pipeline to the existing Bonga FPSO and export facility. In November 2014, SNEPCo announced plans to drill eight more wells in the Bonga field in the third phase of the Bonga Main development.
Bonga has produced over 500 million barrels of oil to date.

UBA To Expand Operations To Angola, South Africa

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) plans to expand to Angola and South Africa as Nigeria, its largest market, is pummeled by falling crude oil prices.

The lender will move to the southern African nations as part of its next “phase of expansion,” its Chief Executive Officer, Phillips Oduoza said in an interview on with
Bloomberg TV Africa  in Davos. Oduoza said he didn’t expect oil prices or the naira currency to continue their decline.

Nigerian companies and the Lagos-based bank are “adequately protected” against a drop in the value of the naira and the price of oil, Oduoza said. The currency of Africa’s largest economy and crude producer probably won’t be devalued further and loan defaults are unlikely to increase, he said. Angola is the continent’s second-biggest oil producer.

Nigeria is struggling to cope with crude prices that plunged by more than half in the past six months. Policy makers responded by devaluing the currency in November, increasing interest rates to a record 13 per cent and proposing spending cuts.

“We have done quite a lot of hedging and we have applied various financial products to make sure that the bank is adequately protected,” Oduoza said.

“The naira is finding its realistic value,” he said. “I do not think you are going to see any major devaluation, if at all it is going to happen.”

Zenith Bank Gets Fantastic Global Rating

New-Zenith-Boss, Peter Olisamedua Amangbo

A new report has listed Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank Plc among the top 500 banks in the world.

The United Kingdom-based magazine owned by the Financial Times, The Banker,and Brand Finance in London, in their annual 2015 top 500 banking brands, also ranked First Bank of Nigeria as the number one banking brand in the country for the fourth consecutive time.

According to a statement by the Country Representative of the magazine in Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ogedengbe, First Bank moves from being number 382 in 2014 to 336 this year.

Zenith Bank moved from 453 in 2014 to 388th position; Guaranty Trust Bank from 422 to 417; while Access Bank made its first entry into the ranking.

The brand value of First Bank has increased to $300m this year from $228 in 2014. According to the Economics Editor of the magazine, Silvia Pavoni, the brand value is “the licensing rate that a third-party would need to pay to use that company’s brand.”

Pavoni also commented on the methodology of the ranking, noting the Brand Finance obtained brand-specific financial and revenue data; modelled the market to identify the demand and the position of individual bank in the context of all other market competitors; established the royalty rate for each bank; calculated the discount rate specific to each bank, taking account of its size, geographical presence, reputation, gearing and brand rating and discounted future royalty stream (explicit forecast and perpetuity periods) to a net present value which is the brand value.

This approach, the Economics Editor said, “is used for two reasons: it is favoured by tax authorities and the courts because it calculates brand values by reference to documented third-party transactions and it can be done based on publicly available financial information.”

Wells Fargo of the United States, the report stated, retained the number one banking brand in the world for the third consecutive year and was followed by banks in China, the United Kingdom and Spain in the first 10. Wells Fargo’s brand value for 2015 was put at $34.9bn as against $30.2bn in 2014, which showed an increase of $4.7bn.

Zenith Bank Plc,

Dangote Cement Captures W/African Coast, Arrives Cameroon Jan 2015

aliko dangote

The first set of the Dangote Cement bags, the 3x Premium, will hit the Cameroun market in January 2015, the management of the company has said.

Conducting the Cameroonian media round the 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum capacity plant in Douala, the General Manager of the Plant, Engineer Baba Abdullahi, said the plant was already being test run and full production would start next month.

He said Dangote Cement would be deploying its state-of-the-art machinery and latest technology from the point of production to delivery to customers adding that the company is known for employing the best practices in its operation.

Abdullahi noted that the entry of Dangote Cement into the Cameroonian market would significantly contribute to the growth of the country’s economy. He said that the management of Dangote Cement is upbeat about the prospect of stimulating the construction and housing sectors of the economy of Cameroon.

Abdullahi stated that the cement customers in the country are anxious to buy Dangote Cement because the Dangote 3X 42.5 grade would be the first in the market that is produced locally.

His words: “Everything is set for full production as the test run commenced earlier in the week. The imported clinker and gypsum is on ground and pozollan, which is locally sourced, is available. The power house which is one of the last of the plant facilities to be is almost completed, to bring the plant to 100% ready.”

The run, Abdullahi said, will enable the regulatory authorities to carry out independent quality checks. “Bodies such as LABO genie and ANOR would be carrying out check on the quality of the cement,” he said.

It would be recalled that Dangote Cement started the construction of the Cameroun plant in 2012 and has over time employed thousands of artisans and technicians.

“Today it has over 250 permanent staff. The company has risen above all challenges during the construction phase and is set to produce 1.5 million tons per year,” Abdullahi said, adding:

“It’s a product all Cameroonians so much await since they will benefit from the realities of competition that they will henceforth experience after over 40 years of foreign product dominance.”

Dangote is Africa’s leading cement producer with three plants in Nigeria and plans to expand in 13 other African countries. The Group is a fully integrated quarry-to-customer producer with production capacity of 20.25 million tonnes in Nigeria and new operations beginning to come on stream across the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group plans to have around 60 million tonnes of production, grinding and import capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2016.

Dangote Cement’s Obajana plant in Kogi State, Nigeria, is the largest in Africa with 10.25mta capacity across three lines and a further 3mta capacity currently being built.

The new 6mta Ibese plant in Ogun State, near the key market of Lagos, was inaugurated in February 2012. Building is nearing completion on a further two lines totalling 6mta of capacity.

The Gboko plant in Benue state has 4mta capacity.

Through its recent investments, Dangote Cement has eliminated Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement and is transforming the nation into an exporter serving neighbouring countries.

Dangote Cement is investing several billion dollars to build manufacturing plants and import terminals across Africa. Current plans are for integrated or grinding plants, Ethiopia, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia, as well as Ivory Coast and Ghana, and import/packing facilities in Ghana and Sierra Leone.