NAHCO’s annual profit drops by N210m

The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc has recorded a 41.1 per cent decline in its annual profit as its profit before tax dropped by N210m from N509.6m in 2017 to N299.8m in 2018.

The company’s financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2018, which was made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Wednesday, showed that the group’s profit declined by 16.13 per cent from N600m in 2017 to N503.2m in 2018.

The company’s profit after tax declined by N678.2m from N687.9m in 2017 to N9.7m in 2018, while that of the group dropped from N775.8m in 2017 to N196.8m in 2018.

It also recorded an income tax expense of N290m compared to an income tax credit of N178.3m in the previous year.

The group’s revenue increased to N9.8bn from N7.9bn in 2017 while its operating costs increased to N6.7bn from N5.6bn in 2017.

The company’s revenue increased to N9.2bn in 2018 from N7.6bn in 2017 while its operating costs increased to N6.4bn from N5.5bn in 2017.

A breakdown of the group’s revenue showed that N5.4bn was made from passenger/aircraft handling, N277m from leasing, N3.8bn from cargo handling and N387.6m from equipment rental and maintenance.

It added that 10 major customers contributed N3.8bn in 2018 and N3.5bn in 2017 towards the revenue of the group.

The statement read in part, “The effect of the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards 9 wiped off N237.2m off the company’s retained earnings and N435,000 off its non-controlling interest.”

NCC uncovers eight million forceful subscriptions to telecoms services

The Nigerian Communications Commission has discovered over eight million illegal forceful subscriptions to telecoms services.

The telecoms regulator said this was discovered after an audit exercise of forceful mass activations of telecoms subscribers into various value added services was conducted in December last year.

In a report on its enforcement activities, the commission said a full audit had been carried out on 45 VAS providers that had over 65 per cent forceful subscriptions.

“We identified over 8,443,367 illegal mass activations in the last audit exercise and established the fact that these practices of unauthorised mass activations of subscribers were widespread and rampant in the telecoms industry,” NCC said in the report.

The action was taken following numerous complaints by subscribers that the Do-Not-Disturb facility introduced by the NCC had not stopped loss of airtime to Mobile Network Operators for unsolicited services.

The commission in May last year had issued a directive that Mobile Network Operators should desist from forcefully subscribing users to telecoms services or face sanctions.

In a statement last year informing the public of its investigations, the industry regulator said the audit team analysed subscribers’ call detail records from MNOs and subscription logs from VAS providers over a period of two years, leading to the conclusion that a huge percentage of VAS services were not voluntarily subscribed for.

Based on the outcome of the investigative audit, the commission promised to direct the indicted organisations to make refunds to affected consumers as appropriate.

NCC added that it would impose appropriate sanctions as necessary and may suspend or decommission some VAS platforms and services in the overall interests of consumers.

“The audit team also found that some providers had implemented disingenuous mechanisms by which a large number of innocent consumers were forcefully subscribed to VAS platforms, leading to a regular deduction of their airtime without their consent,” it said.

FCMB urges SMEs to drive economic growth

First City Monument Bank has urged Small and Medium Enterprises to take the lead in driving the diversification and growth of the Nigerian economy.

During the bank’s fifth series of free capacity building programme, tagged, ‘Business Enterprises and Sustainability Training,’ which was organised for existing and start-up SMEs in Lagos, FCMB said the SMEs played relevant roles in the lives of people and the society.

FCMB said in a statement, “SMEs over the years, have stimulated national and economic development in the areas of production, employment and income generation. This is while making serious contribution to exports as well as facilitating equitable distribution of income, among other significant impacts.

“Towards this end, FCMB has reiterated its commitment to sustain the level of its support to SMEs through increased lending, capacity building, advisory and value-added offerings that would boost their performance.”

According to the statement, the initiative, which was led by FCMB Training Academy, the bank’s business banking group and seasoned facilitators, focused on business and skills development, marketing, finance and accounting for SMEs.

It covered various topical areas such as identifying business opportunities, surviving in a harsh business environment, improving productivity, raising capital, optimising sales, cost and revenue management, among others.

Speaking on the BEST initiative, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs Bukola Smith, said the bank recognised the increasing role and impact of the SMEs.

She said, “The BEST initiative is one of the innovative ways we support the growth of our SME customers because without effective training and exposure, resounding success could be quite difficult to achieve.

“In FCMB, we are passionate about helping our customers thrive in a sustainable manner. We believe this comprehensive training programme will go a long way in impacting positively on the SME operators who have participated in our training. It will propel them to further develop themselves.

“This will also help them take their respective businesses to the next level and compete favourably within and outside the Nigerian market. We, therefore urge participants to take advantage of the unique opportunities provided by FCMB.”

Standardisation Will Boost Nigeria’s industrial Growth-SON

SON

Charles Onwuatogwu

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says Nigeria is set to attain industrial development via standardisation, quality assurance and control in no distant time.

The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, at theStakeholders’ Sensitization Workshop on Son Act 2015in Abuja recently explained that the that deploying the instrumentality of the SON Act 2015 Act will sanitize the nation’s industrial, commercial, business and market space of sub-standard products.  Aboloma who was represented by the Regional Coordinator, North Central, SON, Charles Nwabara, said the Act is in tandem with the economic diversification, economic growth and recovery, industrial and agricultural revolution programme of the present federal government.

“The Act stresses the need for all stakeholders to be involved and carried along in its implementation..

He said the quest for the nation’s economic growth makes the theme of the workshop tagged: “Son Act 2015: Enhancing Quality, Harnessing Opportunities” imperative.

Indeed, the standards body added He maintained that Nigeria could become the next global economic powerhouse with a solid industrial base, noting that the agency is committed to achieving economic diversification from oil to non-oil economy through rapid industrial growth.

According to him, issues of standards and quality are fundamental and they affect everybody directly or indirectly, pointing out that it is good for products and services to meet required standards especially in these days of global competitiveness, trade protectionism or technical barriers to trade. The work of standardisation and quality assurance he insisted, requires the involvement of all, be they public or private sectors operators. In his words, “SON has robust engagement with all relevant sectors due to our belief that as regulatory agency, we need to continually work with industry players, business operators, business/market associations, maritime stakeholders, importers and exporters, all other segments of the society. We are dealing with serious issues concerning safety of lives and property. You will agree with me that sub-standard products pose grave dangers not only to lives and property but to economic development of any nation.”

 

While maintaining that section 29 of the Act empowers the Director General or any officer authorised by him, to seize and detain products at least for 90 days after being satisfied that the quality, purity or potency of any such products are detrimental or hazardous to life, property and the national economy, he said the prosecutorial powers now granted to the organisation by the Act is indeed one of the high points, stating that the agency has been strengthening and fortifying its Legal Services Directorate to cope with the new challenges of successful prosecutions and convictions of suspected dealers on sub-standard products.

“So, the days of reckless infractions in the various activities of the agency by manufacturers, importers and other operators are over. In the last two years, we have instituted 14 cases in different courts across the country. We remain committed towards running a successful campaign on zero tolerance to sub-standard products,” he stressed.

He appealed to operators in the production, demand and supply, and consumption value chain across the country to do the right thing by co-operating with SON to ensure products quality and standards, saying that this was one of the ways to make the Act a change-agent that would turn around businesses and the nation’s economic and industrial growth.

 

“We therefore appeal to all to be aware of the Act, comply with its provisions particularly areas dealing with how operators should do the right thing for their businesses to grow. The work of standardisation is to grow Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, promote agro-allied sector, as well as ensure industrial and economic development,” he added.

In his remarks, a council member with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Razaq Okulaja, commended SON for introducing the Act, saying that standards affects everybody while assuring members of the public of manufacturers’ commitment to work with SON to sanitise Nigerian markets.

“What SON is doing is quite laudable and the reality is that standards affect everyone. For the manufacturer, talking about production, the protection you require from the market, when you have standards that are effective, it makes life easy for you as a manufacturer. You must train your staff to adhere strictly to standards because if they do not comply with standards, your goods will be affected in the market and at the end of the day you will be losing resources,” he added.

He further stated: “For the government, enforcing standards is very important as well because if as a manufacturer I know my goods are safe in the market, it will be easy for me to pay my taxes.

FG seeks fresh $247.3m external loan

The Federal Government will take another fresh external loan of $247.3m for the development of infrastructure, despite the country’s rising debt profile.

The Federal Executive Council made the approval at its sitting in Abuja on Wednesday.

It came just days after the International Monetary Fund raised eyebrows over Nigeria’s current N24.38tn debt, advising the country to take borrowing slowly.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting rose, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave a breakdown of the fresh loan.

She stated that $150m would come from the African Development Bank, to be spent specifically on rural electrification projects; $50m from Africa Grow Together Fund for other electrification projects; and $20m from French Development Agency, which would be loaned to the  Lagos State Government.

Lagos plans to use the $20m to build new roads and rehabilitate existing ones.

Another $27.3m IADE facility was approved as part of the ‘North Core Dorsal Regional Transmission Project.’

This will be part of the West Africa Power Pool projects with a total loan requirement of $640m.

The minister explained that the projects were to connect Nigeria, Niger, Benin Republic, Togo, and Burkina Faso “with a high voltage 330 kilowatts transmission line, to facilitate energy trade among participant countries.”

The minister, who gave more details on the approvals by FEC, said, “Council approved three memos for Ministry of Finance. First, it approved a $150m loan facility from AfDB and $50m loan from African Grow Together Fund to finance the Nigerian electrification project. The project is a nationwide initiative to be implemented by the rural electrification agency.

“The project aligns with the strategy of the Federal Government on electrification of rural communities. The project has four components: First is solar hybrid mini-grid for rural economic development, the second is productive appliances equipment for up-grid communities, and the third is energising education while the fourth component is institutional capacity building.

“The impact of the project when fully implemented, about 500,000 people will be able to have access to electricity for about 105,000 households. The maximum power that will be generated will be 76.5 megawatts installed generating capacity part of which is 68,000 megawatts of solar.

“Eight universities will benefit from this scheme and about 20,000 small, micro, medium enterprises across different communities in the nation.

“The second approval is the North Core Dorsal Regional Transmission Project. This is a project that is part of the pipeline for the West Africa power pool priority projects. The intention is for the creation of a regional power pool in the region of West Africa. The pool project aims to connect Nigeria, Niger, Benin Republic, Togo, and Burkina Faso with a high voltage 330 kilowatts transmission line, to facilitate energy trade among participants.

“The project is in the total sum of $640m, out of which each of the four countries involved has a component. Nigeria has the smallest component in this pact, which is a total loan of $27.3 m IADE facility, a concessionary loan. This is a loan that the four countries are taking together; the other three countries have concluded theirs. So, this is one of the final stages for Nigeria to conclude its process.”

Foreign reserves gained $1.85bn in one month – CBN

The nation’s foreign reserves rose by $1.85bn to $44.728bn as of April 12 from $42.87bn in March 12, according to latest statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The value, rose from a value of $43.041bn in December 17, 2018 to $43.047bn as of January 9, 2019.

Records revealed that the reserves, which suffered declines in past months, had been maintaining a steady rise of recent.

While speaking on efforts to conserve the country’s foreign exchange, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele said, “We introduced a demand management approach in order to conserve our reserves. In this regard, we analysed our import bill, and encouraged manufacturers to consider local options in sourcing their raw materials, by restricting access to foreign exchange on 41 items, which we later increased to 43 items.”

Emefiele, had earlier said that because crude oil was a major source of the country’s foreign exchange, the nation’s economy became sensitive to fluctuations in the price of crude oil.

“Significant declines in the price of crude oil not only reduced Nigeria’s export earnings, but the nation was also subjected to higher inflation and lower growth, given our dependence on imported goods,” he said.

With the discovery of shale oil, along with policy measures being put in place by advanced countries, such as the United States and China, towards reducing car emissions and supporting alternative sources of energy such as battery powered cars, he said it had become imperative to build up buffers that would insulate the nation’s economy from volatility in the crude oil market.

He said, “At the height of drop in crude oil prices, our FX Reserves had declined to $23.7bn in October 2016. With the implementation of the tools, the stock of our external reserves has recovered steadily and has risen to $44.8bn as at March 19, 2019.”

Access Bank grows profit by 66% to N45.1b in Q1

Access Bank Plc sustained impressive growths in the top-line and bottom-line in the first quarter as the first-tier commercial banking group grew its pre-tax profit by 66 per cent to N45.1 billion in the first quarter.

Key extracts of the interim report and accounts of the bank for the three-month period ended March 31, 2019 released yesterday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that gross earnings rose by 16.5 per cent to N160.12 billion in first quarter 2019 as against N137.54 billion in first quarter 2018. Profit before tax jumped by 66 per cent from N27.44 billion to N45.10 billion. After taxes, net profit leapt by 86.03 per cent from N22.12 billion in first quarter 2018 to N41.15 billion in first quarter 2019. Earnings per share also rose from 77 kobo to N1.39.

The balance sheet also emerged stronger within the period. Total assets rose by 29.9 per cent from N4.95 trillion in December 2018 to N6.43 trillion in March 2019. Customer deposits leapt by 53.1 per cent from N2.56 trillion to N3.92 trillion while shareholders’ funds increased by 17.8 per cent from N482.64 billion by December 31, 2018 to N568.74 billion by March 31, 2019.

Access Bank and Diamond Bank Plc had during the period consummated a merger, which led to enlarged Access Bank.

Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, said the increased earnings during the period underscored the value potentials of the newly expanded business model.

“Following the successful completion of the merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, we have now fully positioned ourselves in the retail market with a view to bringing the power of banking to the doorsteps of millions. We are providing a broader platform to facilitate payments services in Nigeria and across Africa, by harnessing our significantly enhanced digital technology capabilities,” Wigwe said.

He noted that the capital and liquidity position of the bank remained above regulatory levels, with capital adequacy ratio (CAR) at 19.5 per cent and liquidity ratio of 47.6 per cent, which further demonstrated the capacity of the enlarged balance sheet to cope with possible negative shocks.

He pointed out that the bank has made solid progress throughout the first quarter of 2019 in line with its 2018-2022 five-year strategy, assuring that it remains committed to the achievement of its strategic imperatives going forward as it continues to invest in people, technology and most importantly, product offerings to customers.

“Our focus is to become the world’s most respected African Bank by leveraging on the strength of our retail and wholesale business to provide unrivalled value to our customers,” Wigwe said.

‘Afreximbank’ll create digital ecosystem for finance flows’

Firms scale NCP’s hurdle for Afam power bid

Image result for Firms scale NCP’s hurdle for Afam power bidThe National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has granted approval to Diamond Stripes Consortium, Transcorp Power Consortium and Unicorn Consortium to proceed to the financial bids opening stage for the acquisition of 100 per cent shares in the Afam Electricity Generation Company (Afam Power Plc & Afam Three Fast Power Limited).

Rising from its first meeting at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja, the Council noted that the two consortia met the benchmark score of 750 points after evaluation in accordance with the criteria set out in the Requests for Proposal (RfPs).

The BPE, in a  statement said other decisions taken by the Council include: approval for Quest Electric Nigeria Limited to proceed  to the financial bids opening stage for the re-privatisation of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC); appointment of Lead Capital Consortium as Financial Adviser for the restructuring, recapitalisation and partial privatisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA); and delisting of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja from post Privatisation monitoring by the BPE.

Others are privatisation of the Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NigComSat) through a strategic core investor sale and commencement of the process of listing it in the schedule of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation& Commercialisation) Act 1999; and the appointment of Vesta Healthcare Partners as consultant to carry out a diagnostic review of the Nigerian Health Sector.

The privatisation of Afam Power Plc & Afam Three Fast Power Limited could not be concluded during the first round of the power privatisation in 2013 due to issues arising from gas supply to the plant.

Following the termination of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) signed between Taleveras (the then Preferred  Bidder) and BPE in 2016, Council at its meeting of 2107  approved the privatisation of the enterprise based on a strategy to be recommended by the Transaction Advisers.

For the YEDC, although it was successfully privatised and handed over to the core investor in 2013, a force majeure was declared in 2015 by the core investor citing insecurity in the Northeast region of the country. Following this, the company was duly repossessed by the Federal Government.

It is expected that the successful bidders will be responsible for operating the generation and distribution companies, making the necessary investments to improve the generation and distribution networks and customer service in line with the objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria set out in the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP).

FBN Holdings posts N59.7b full-year profit

FBN Holdings Plc has announced N59.7 billion Profit After Tax (PAT) for the full-year ended December 31, 2018.

The result also showed that Profit Before Tax (PBT) rose by 19.7 per cent from N54.5 billion in full-year 2017 to N65.3 billion in 2018.

However, gross earnings dipped by two per cent from N595.4 billion in 2017 to N583.5 billion in 2018. The   group is proposing a dividend per share of N0.26 for 2018 as against N0.25 paid in the previous year.

The Group’s total assets increased by 6.3 per cent year-on-year to N5.6 trillion as against N5.2 trillion previously achived. The result was driven by 33.3 per cent year-on-year increase in investment in securities to N1.7 trillion compared to N1.2 trillion in 2017.

Total customer deposits grew by 10.9 per cent year-on-year to N3..49 trillion (compared with N3.14 trillion in the previous year.

“Capital adequacy ratio for FirstBank (Nigeria) remains strong at 17.3 per compared with 2017 figure   of 17.7 per cent , 230 basis points above the regulatory minimum of 15 per cent, while the capital adequacy ratio for FBN Merchant Bank closed at 12.2 per cent as against 13.5 per cent in the previous financial year above the 10 per cent regulatory requirement for Merchant Banks.

Within the last financial year, the credit rating outlook for the Group was revised from Negative to Positive by Fitch Ratings, the Commercial banking business strengthened its competitive position with reorganisation and recapitalisation in key markets to increase the contribution of international subsidiaries while the Commercial Bank reaffirmed its leadership in retail banking with effective coverage of the country via the agency banking initiative with about 15,000 agents, thereby deepening financial inclusion. The group also received regulatory approval to commence the implementation of a Group Shared Service Initiative.

Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings,  UK Eke, said : “Over the course of the 2017 to 2019 strategic cycle, the priority for management has been to strengthen the various businesses across the Group and position for sustainable growth over the long term”. “Our three-pronged approach has primarily been to drive long-term revenue generation capabilities, overhaul risk management processes and drive efficiency across our businesses,” he said, adding that the Group has  seen significant results in its revenue diversification aspiration, with improving digital banking offerings which have enhanced its non-interest income from the commercial banking group. Similarly, there has been steady growth in contribution to the revenue pool of the Group from the insurance business and the merchant banking business, helping to further reinforce the revenue generation capacity of the Group.

“The revamp of our risk management architecture, which is one of the key enablers to our shareholder value creation aspiration, will ensure our revenue generating capacity translates to stronger growth in profitability now that we have materially progressed in resolving the legacy issues as evidenced by the full provision for the largest non-performing loans in our loan book”.

“Finally, we have also focused on driving operational efficiencies across the Group by leveraging technology, improving processes and increasing synergies across various entities. In 2019, we expect growth in interest income to complement our growing non-interest revenue as we undertake guided expansion of the loan book which contracted in the last two financial years.”