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Old July 15th, 2008, 07:46 PM   #21
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Starcomms Makes History - First Telecom Firm to List On Stock Market

STARCOMMS Plc, Nigeria's fourth largest telecommunications company yesterday made history in the industry by becoming the first operator to get listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Before Monday's listing on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Starcomms had successfully raised N64.35 billion through a private placement offer.

Proceeds from the private placement beefed up the company capital base. However two institutional investor Actis, and Emerging Capital Partners LLC, (ECP) divested some of their holdings from the company thus widening the shareholder base.

The shares of the company which were listed at 12.27pm made significant gain, as it went up five per cent after only five minutes of listing/trading to close at N14.33k.

Reacting to the development Mr. Maher Qubain, Chief Executive Officer said "At Starcomms, we do not just cook up figures. We operate as a transparent company and today's history making event is meant to drive our growth. We want to become the 3rd, if not 2nd biggest telecom operator in Nigeria by 2010. This is a promise, and at Starcomms, we keep our promise".

The historic listing presents an excellent opportunity for every Nigerian to buy into one of the fastest growing and profitable sectors of the telecom sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.

Chief Maan Lababid, Chairman of the company said: "I am very pleased with the outcome of the private placement. Investors have shown that they believe in the future of Starcomms and in the management team in place led by our CEO, Mr. Qubain,. With Actis and ECP, we have grown the business into a world class, well managed national telecom operator and a market leader.

I look forward to the next exciting phase of development for the company, as we grow in size to serve even more Nigerians as we get listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange today."

Mr. Qubain, briefing stock brokers on the company's performance sheet, stated "Starcomms now controls 3 per cent of the Nigerian telecom market. We also have 37 per cent of the fixed wireless sector. By the end of 2008, we would have reached a subscriber base level of 2.5 million. That is our target. Our current subscribers base is approximately 1.6 million by end of June 2008. I make bold to state that at Starcomms, we deliver on our promise".

Simon Harford, CEO, Actis, West Africa while commenting on the successful private placement which culminated in the public listing of the company's shares said: "We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to be involved with such a dynamic and growing business as Starcomms.

Actis's partnership with Chief Lababidi, the management team, ECP and the Board has meant we have been able to contribute to the growth of the company and the development of the business into a market leader in an exciting and competitive market. The successful closing of the private placement is testament to the very positive investor sentiment and interest in this country."

Navaid Burmey, Managing Director, ECP: "We are proud to have worked with Starcomms and Actis while the company expanded its regional footprint, developed new services and generated top corporate business accounts."

The proceeds from the private placement will enable the company to expand its product range and network thereby bringing more telecom choices to Nigerians nationwide. Now, as the company achieves its landmark listing, we hope to watch its growth accelerate as a publicly-owned company. ECP is very pleased that Starcomms has emerged as the first company to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange."

Both the private placement and listing on the floor of stock exchange were handled by Chapel Hill Advisory Partners Limited and IBTC Asset Management Company Ltd.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 07:53 PM   #22
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Oceanic, Now Number One Bank

From the seventh position in 2007, Oceanic Bank International Bank Plc has emerged the number one bank in Nigeria , according to a recent financial report from the reputable and widely acclaimed global financial intelligence,

The Banker Magazine, a subsidiary of Financial Times of London, in a fresh review of the top 1,000 banks in the World, released last week.

This new report from the International medium has again consolidated the leadership position of Oceanic Bank in the banking and finance industry in Africa and across the globe.

Oceanic, now the fifth best bank in Africa was in the 13th position in the previous year-2007.

The Banker said the "rankings are based on the definition of Tier 1 capital as defined by Basel 's Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

According to the report:" The definition is stricter than total stockholders' equity and covers only the core of the bank's strength-the shareholders' equity available to cover actual or potential losses. Tier 1 includes common stock, disclosed reserves and retained earnings, and in the case of consolidated accounts, minority interests in the equity of subsidiaries that are less than wholly owned, but excludes cumulative preference shares, revaluation reserves, hidden reserves, subordinated and long-term debt."

The explosive growth of Oceanic Bank shot up its ranking from 875th in the world in 2007, with Tier 1 capital of $297 million to 310th in the world in 2008 with Tier 1 capital of $1.75 billion. The bank, it would be recalled occupied the 995th position in 2006.

The feat attained by the bank is the first to be recorded by any bank in the African continent, with analysts describing the monumental success as result of focused and insightful management, taking a full advantage of the banking consolidation carried out in the last few years.

The success recorded by the bank, the experts further posited would go a long way into building more confidence in investors, who would see Nigerian banks as having the financial muscle and shock absorber to be international players in the global financial market.

The Banker noted that "The dominance of South African Banks in the sub-Saharan Africa region is under threat. For the second year in a row, Nigeria 's banks have soared up the global league tables and are knocking on the door of the more established 'blue-blood' brands of South Africa ."

The report further added that the total Tier 1 capital of Nigerian banks in the top 1000 has more than doubled to $11.29 billion in 2008's rankings from $5.38bn in 2007.

At first and second place were Nigerian banks. Oceanic Bank leaped a staggering 565 places up the rankings from 875 in last year's rankings to 310 in 2008. Oceanic's Tier 1 capital exploded from a meager $297 million to $1.75 billion. United Bank for Africa (UBA) also made spectacular strides, jumping 484 places to 392, with a growth in Tier 1 capital from $296 million to $1.25 billion.

Oceanic Bank, it would be recalled, won both the 2006 and 2007 edition of the Bank of the Year Award, for its innovation, transformation and dedication to developing the real sector of the economy.

As attested to by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the bank's effort in developing the real sector is monumental, especially as its investments on the various companies have yielded positive impacts on the nation's economy in terms of both economic and social returns via creation of fresh employment and high return to shareholders.

From Agriculture, Oil & Gas sector to Heathcare sector and even the Media among others, the bank has effectively imprinted its footstep by judiciously disbursing its set aside funds and developing the real sector of the economy. These efforts have also translated to a better profitability for the bank, making it close as the most profitable bank in the country as at the end of its second quarter, ending on March 31, 2008.

Among the many companies that have benefited immensely from the funds of Oceanic Bank are: Nigerian Army Small Scale Drugs Manufacturing Unit (NASDMU); Wordsmithes Printing; Gasoil Engineering Limited; Larnagold Limited; Golden Lad Industries; DVI Telecoms; Hydro Resources Industries; Atobi Metals and Paper Industry; Gazetta Communications; and Cyrus Woodcrafters Limited.

Others include: Golden Astoria ; Kwara State Government; Card Technology and Meggito Venures Limited among many others.

Market analysts' are of the view that Oceanic Bank, with its heavy investment in the real sector is out to revamp the nation's ailing economy, with a view to effectively rebuilding the nation.

By spending heavily on the real sector, the bank seems to be doing itself much good as its financials have continued to improve significantly on a yearly basis. The patronage from its customers, in terms of deposits base, which signifies customers' confidence on both its Management and Board, has also continued to improve. For example, the amount of money kept at the coffers of the bank increased from N49.4 billion in 2003 to N693.9 billion in 2007. Feelers from the bank also indicated that the deposit base will be above N1 trillion this financial year.

The bank's ability to consistently sustain this remarkable performance on all financial indices over the years has been attributed to its sound management, continuous quest for innovation, robust ICT platform and human capital development.

Financial analysts have also attributed the success recorded by the bank so far to the strict adherence of all the Management and staff to the bank's core values, tagged: TEAMS, an acronym of Transparency, Equal Opportunity, Accountability, Merit and Service excellence
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Old July 15th, 2008, 09:23 PM   #23
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Oceanic bank is really having its good time. Innovations will keep right on top.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #24
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Equity Trading On NSE Appreciates By Eight Percent

Equity trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) appreciated on Monday by 8.08 per cent.

Particularly, a turnover of 895.86 million shares valued at N7.61 billion was recorded in 13,629 deals in contrast to Friday's turnover fo 828.86 million shares valued at N7.75 billion in 17,020 deals.

Trading was driven by activity in the Insurance sub-sector, accounting for 58.71 per cent of the market turnover with 525.94 million shares valued at N901.86 million in 2,415 deals.

Investment and Allied Assurance Plc dominated recorded the highest transaction in the sub-sector, trading 421.43 million shares valued at N368.27 million in 960 deals, followed by Staco Insurance Plc with the exchange of 55.81 million shares valued at N380.65 million in 85 deals and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc recorded 7.58 million shares valued at N27.14 million in 32 deals.

The Banking sub-sector followed on the sectorial analysis, accounting for 16.5 per cent of the market turnover with 147.78 million shares valued at N3.57 billion in 6,241 deals. First Bank of Nigeria Plc recorded the highest patronage in the sub-sector, trading 30.88 million shares valued at N1.42 billion in 1,560 deals, followed by Fidelity Bank Plc with a turnover of 20.03 million shares valued at N192.01 million in 247 deals and Access Bank Plc recorded 20.02 million shares valued at N361.52 million in 337 deals.

The performance indicators, the All-share index and market capitalisation both appreciated by 0.51 per cent and 1.38 per cent respectively.

Specifically, the index which opened at 54,662.06 points rose by 280.71 basis points to close at 54,942.77 points while the capitalisation closed at N11.0 trillion from N10.85 trillion at which it opened.

The rise in the market indices was as a result of gains on the share prices of listed equities, with First Bank of Nigeria Plc recording the highest share price gain, rising by N1.71 to close at N43.90 per share from N45.61 per share at which it opened, followed by Union Bank Nigeria Plc with a gain of N1.56 to close at N37.50 per share and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc garnered N1.49 to close at N31.48 per share.

Other share price gainers include: United Bank for Africa Plc N1.29, Oceanic Bank International Plc N1.11, BOC Gases Plc N0.85, National Salt Company Plc N0.55, Benue Cement Company Plc N0.48, First Inland Bank Plc N0.38, Niger Insurance Plc N0.33 among others.

On the contrary, Conoil Plc recorded the highest share price loss, dropping by N4.99 to close at N94.81 per share from N99.80 per share at which it opened, followed by Lafarge Cement WAPCO Plc with a loss of N2.64 to close at N50.26 per share and Ashaka Cement Plc dipped by N2.00 to close at N41.00 per share.

Other share price losers include: Flour Mills Nigeria Plc N1.90, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc 1.28, Costain (West Africa) Plc N1.14, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc N1.11, Cadbury Nigeria Plc N1.00, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc N0.78, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated N0.71 among others.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 09:13 PM   #25
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First Bank Opens Paris Branch

First Bank of Nigeria Plc yesterday extended its services to France as its United Kingdom subsidiary, FBN Bank (UK) Limited, opened a branch in Paris.

The official inauguration of the Paris branch was witnessed by officials from the apex bank in France, Ban du France, Nigerian Ambassador to France, ambassadors of other Francophone West African countries and directors of First Bank of Nigeria.

In his speech, the Group Chairman, FBN Plc, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, said it was another unique opportunity given to the bank to provide excellent banking and financial services for the global community, especially the West African French business community.

"As the relationship between the governments and citizens of Nigeria and France becomes increasingly strengthened, it is only logical that well-meaning institutions, like First Bank Group, be in the vanguard of providing the vital machinery for fostering the growing relationship," Mutallab said.

He explained that the bank's foray into France is indeed a very strategic in view of its relationship with other Francophone countries in the West African sub-region.

Mutallab recalled that FBN's strategy of internationalisation started in 1982 when the bank established its London branch; gaining a foothold in one of the world's leading financial centres.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, FBN Plc, Mr. Jacobs Moyo Ajekigbe, said the Paris branch would be a window for African corporates in France.

"The message is that we promise our customers the best of services anywhere in the world. For our shareholders, we promise the best of returns in form of good dividends on their investments and to the government, we promise to remain good corporate citizens," Ajekigbe said.

The Chairman of FBN Bank (UK), Mr. Oba Otudeko, said the branch would serve as a platform for international trade between African countries and France.

"Our intention is to provide a platform that will link Africa trade with Paris and other parts of Europe. We are going to do very well because we have set out very well. Our promise is to give excellence services as we have done in UK," he said.

Giving more insight into the what to expect from the Paris branch, the Managing Director, FBN Bank UK, Mr. Peter Hinson, said the bank had been the leading Nigerian bank in the UK and would extend the same quality of services to France.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 09:35 PM   #26
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Access Bank Declares N10.5 Billion Dividend

Access Bank Plc, in its financial result has reported a triple digit growth across key performance indices. The bank has thus declared a N10.5bn dividend pay - out.

The Bank by this performance has surpassed its revised forecast for the year. According to the bank result the shareholders fund now stand at N172 billion representing a 508 per cent growth over the period.

The result recently approved by the Central Bank and released on the floor of the Stock Exchange, showed that the Bank's total assets and contingents continued on the upward trend as it grew by 194 per cent from N408. 7 billion in 2007 to N1.2 trillion in 2008.

The outstanding growth in balance sheet size is demonstrative of the underlying growth of public confidence in the Access Bank franchise aided by effective deposit mobilisation strategies and the development and introduction of innovative and solution - based financial products.

According to the bank financial report the Bank recorded an increase of 137 per cent in profit before tax, rising from N8 billion in 2007 to N19 billion coupled with a 107 per cent growth in gross earnings, from N28 billion to N57.6 billion.

Asset quality and efficiency measurement indices also revealed significant improvements. Non - performing loans to total loans ratio decreased to 3 per cent from 9 per cent whilst cost to income ratio declined from 65 per cent to 52 per cent indicating the potency of the Bank's introduction and adoption of global best practice in risk management and cost optimization strategies.

The reassuring quality of the result is strongly indicative of the Bank's commitment to its strategic goal of becoming one of the top 3 financial services groups in Nigeria by 2012. As a rapidly emerging African financial power house, the Access Bank franchise is increasingly an investor's delight owing to its significantly enhanced shareholder value creation and immense returns potential.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 03:05 PM   #27
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Why CBN is Outsourcing Currency Processing

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday assured that the proposed outsourcing of currency processing and distribution does not, in any way, mean the abdication of its responsibilities.

Rather, the Bank said it is focusing on the core currency management processes, namely, design and issuance, as well as the disposal of unfit notes through destruction.

These were made known in Abuja, by the Bank's Director of Currency and Branch Operations, Mr. Ben Onyido, while making presentation to a cross section of finance correspondents on the proposed scheme.

The director revealed that the regulatory framework, prescribes minimum paid-up capital of N1billion for Cash In Transit (CIT) companies, that is, service providers who wished to be involved in the distribution of currencies, while N3billion was prescribed as the minimum paid-up capital for those who may be interested in currency processing operations.

He also disclosed that the over 30 prospective service providers, have obtained forms from the Apex Bank, adding that the competitive bidding process would end on August 7, 2008. "Based on the due diligence that would be carried out on the companies, the scheme would be implemented in phases, with an opportunity to review the processes from time to time", he also said.

On the rationale for the outsourcing scheme, he noted that it is "to enable the CBN to refocus to its core mandate, which when couched in terms of the Bank's principal functions, includes the maintenance of monetary and price stability, promotion of a sound financial system, maintenance of external reserves to safeguard the value of the naira and provision of expert economic and financial advice to the Federal government".

"To enable the CBN to focus on policy and strategic issues that will further improve currency management and enhance public confidence in the currency, e.g. improving techniques for forecasting the currency requirements of the economy and combating counterfeiting, etc", he added.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #28
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UBA Declares N28.85 Billion Profit After Tax

United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA)'s third quarter unaudited results for its 2008 financial year, shows that the Bank is well on track to meeting and surpassing the expectations of its numerous stakeholders.

Drawing inference from the disclosed figures, stakeholders of the bank can be certain of another rewarding year for their investments in the financial institution.

The unaudited results, recently released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, show a 59.8 per cent increase in the bank's earnings and growth in its market share. Gross Earnings for the 6 months under review was N120.25 billion, a N45 billion appreciation over the N75.25 billion recorded for the corresponding period last year. This significant increase in earnings, can be attributed to increased customer-patronage resulting from the quality of service and products offered by the bank.

Profit before tax appreciated by 68.31 per cent, with the bank reporting a N33.14 billion PBT in comparison with the N19.69 billion reported last year. The bank's N28.85 billion profit after tax for the 6 months under review, is also a 6668.42 per cent appreciation over the figure reported last year.

According to financial analysts and industry watchers, the bank's first quarter results are an indication of good times for its shareholders, if dividend payout for the last financial year are anything to go by.

Bank's results with that of its peers, shows that it had emerged as the fastest growing in the country.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #29
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BankPHB Set to Extend Operations to Ghana

Bank PHB Nigeria, the title sponsors of the Television reality show, The Apprentice Africa, has set plans to extend its arms of operation to Ghana and West Africa as a whole. This plan came at the time the bank introduced a new product tagged, Bank PHB Holiday Loan into the nation's financial market

A statement issued by the bank said the overall winner of the Apprentice-Africa TV business reality show, Mr Isaac Dankyi-Koranteng would be assigned to work on a special West Africa expansion project of the bank, which would include its entry into Ghana.

"He will be assigned special responsibilities by the Managing Director and CEO of the bank, which include research and development of products, and roll-out strategy for the bank in new markets, with supervision by the Apprentice-Africa 'CEO', Mr Biodun Shobanjo," it said.

Dankyi-Koranteng is one of the three Ghanaians, who competed with 15 others from six African countries, including Africans who studied and lived in Europe and America.

He is a graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, and holds a Bachelors degree in Publishing Studies and an MBA from the University of Technology, Wuhan, China.

By coming tops from this gathering of what can be described as Africa's best young minds, Isaac has lent credence to the quality of Ghanaian education.

The Group Head of Corporate Communications of the bank, Mr Charles Odibo, said by producing The Apprentice-Africa, Bank PHB was living its commitment of identifying and nurturing a new crop of future leaders and also broadening the bank's continuing engagement with programmes and initiatives to extend the frontiers of education, innovation and leadership.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #30
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NSE Slams Full Suspension On Cadbury

Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), yesterday finally placed the shares of Cadbury Nigerian Plc. on full suspension, following the decision of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) decision upholding the indictment of the company by the Securities and Exchange Commission over financial mis-statement.

The company had been indicted over account mis-statement amounting to about N5 billion in November, 2006.

Announcing NSE's decision on the issue, the deputy director general, Mr. Musa Lance Elakama, disclosed that the ruling of the IST is binding on the exchange since it was a court of competent jurisdiction on investment matters.

It would be recalled that the NSE had earlier in the year declined an order from SEC, to suspend trading on Cadbury shares, stating that the directives were not backed by law.

SEC had indicted and banned Mr. Bunmi Oni and Ayo Akadiri from occupying positions as directors in any quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), as a result of their involvement in the mis-statement of the financial account of Cadbury Nigeria Plc.

The commission also declared that the company's directors - Messrs Uduimo Itsueli, Bunmi Oni, Ayo Akadiri, J.S.T Bogunjoko, Abiodun Jaji, Andrew Baker, Christopher Okeke, Olatunde Falase, Raymond Ihyembe, Gabriel Onabote, Olusegun Oyewole, Matthew Shattock, Olusegun Aina, Akinbode Gbolahan and Tunde Egbeyemi have been referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for further investigation and prosecution.

Besides, it penalised and reprimanded Akintola Williams Deloitte and Union Registrars for their involvement in the alleged mis-statement of Cadbury's result.

Speaking on the suspension, Mr. Paulson Echendu, an investor, said since the market depended on trust and integrity, whenever there was a question boarding on the trust and integrity of a quoted company, it is always a minus on the image of the company.

"NSE is right in its decision because investors have suffered so much in the company, Cadbury had a bad case which is a situation of lack integrity in a market that depends on trust.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 09:23 PM   #31
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Oceanic Bank Earns 106.7 Billion Naira In Nine Months

Oceanic Bank International Plc, has made a gross earning of N106.7 billion within the nine months of its operations this year.

It has also made a profit before tax (PBT) of N40.7 billion, representing an increase of 148 per cent growth from its previous year figure of N16.4 billion while the bank posted N33.6 billion profit after tax as against N13.6 billion made in the preceding year.

In a statement yesterday, the bank said percentage growth on both its turnover and profitability, confirmed it as most consistent bank in the country, in terms of profitability growth.

The bank, was recently named The Best Bank in Nigeria, in terms of Tier 1 capital, in a recent review carried out by The Banker, a subsidiary of the Financial Times of London.

A breakdown of the nine months financial statement indicated that the gross earnings rose from N59.22 billion to N106.74 billion which represents 125 per cent increase over N47.52 billion earned in the same period in 2007.

Profit after tax (PAT) moved in tandem with other fundamentals as it went up by N19.98 billion or 147 per cent to N33.61 billion as against to N13.63 billion posted the previous year.

Chief Executive Officer (GEO) of the bank, Dr. (Mrs.) Cecilia Ibru, speaking on the third quarter results, said the high turnover and profitability are were manifestation of strategies put in place by the bank to reach greater heights.

She said that the bank would ensure bumper returns on investments of its shareholders while rendering the best services available in the industry to its teeming customers, adding that Oceanic, would be the best bank in all ramifications.

Commenting on the results, financial analysts commended the bank's management for its focus, resilience and the strategies put in place to become the best bank in the country in terms of asset base, capitalization and profitability.

Oceanic, now the fifth best bank in Africa was in the 13th position in the previous year-2007.

The Banker said the rankings, which placed it above other banks in Nigeria, "are based on the definition of Tier 1 capital as defined by Basel 's Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

According to the report, the definition is stricter than total stockholders' equity and covers only the core of the bank's strength-the shareholders' equity available to cover actual or potential losses.

"Tier 1 includes common stock, disclosed reserves and retained earnings, and in the case of consolidated accounts, minority interests in the equity of subsidiaries that are less than wholly owned, but excludes cumulative preference shares, revaluation reserves, hidden reserves, subordinated and long-term debt," the report added.

The growth of Oceanic Bank has taken it up to the 310th position in the comity of banks in the world as against 875 position in 2007 and 995 position in 2006.

The feat attained by the bank, is the first to be recorded by any bank in the African continent, with analysts describing the success as result of focused and insightful management, taking a full advantage of the banking consolidation carried out in the last few years.

The experts further noted that success recorded by the bank, would go a long way into building more confidence in investors, who would see Nigerian banks as having the financial muscle and shock absorber to be international players in the global financial market.

The Banker noted: "The dominance of South African Banks in the sub-Saharan Africa region is under threat. For the second year in a row, Nigeria's banks have soared up the global league tables and are knocking on the door of the more established 'blue-blood' brands of South Africa."

The report further added that the total Tier 1 capital of Nigerian banks in the top 1000 has more than doubled to $11.29 billion in 2008's rankings from $5.38bn in 2007.

Oceanic Bank, it would be recalled, won both the 2006 and 2007 edition of the Bank of the Year Award, for its innovation, transformation and dedication to developing the real sector of the economy.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 09:23 PM   #32
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Cadbury Pays N21.2 Million Fine to SEC

Cadbury Nigeria has paid N21.2 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as fine for misleading the investing public through overstated accounts.

It would be recalled that Akintola Williams and Deloitte, Cadbury's auditor for more than 20 years, and Union Registrars, both implicated in the company's overstated accounts saga, had earlier paid N20 million and N5 million respectively as fines to the commission for their complicity.

Sources close to the apex capital market regulatory authority said that "the cheque was presented early Friday morning to the commission's head office in Abuja."

The management source said also that they were now satisfied with the level of compliance of all the corporate organisations implicated in the accounts overstatement issue.

But Kufre Ekanem, Cadbury's Corporate Affairs Manager, while acknowledging the payment of the fine to SEC said that it was paid in protest.

Equally, Cadbury Nigeria has been obliged to challenge some of the processes of the regulatory authorities including lodging an appeal at the Investments and Securities Tribunal, seeking to overturn the decision of the SEC, which we believe is unfair, and amounts to a miscarriage of justice. This appeal is pending and has been adjourned for hearing to September 11, 2008," Ekanem said.

He stated that the payment was made in the interest of the shareholders who would be biased on the suspension of trading of Cadbury Nigeria's shares on the floor of the Stock Exchange.

It would be recalled that following the face-off between Cadbury and SEC, the Commission, in May 2008, directed that trading in the shares of Cadbury Nigeria across the floors of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) be suspended with effect from Thursday, May 8, 2008.

SEC said the suspension was as a result of the failure of Cadbury to comply with the decision of the Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) which directed the company to pay a fine of N8.25 million within twenty-one (21) days from the date of the decision.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 02:40 PM   #33
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Oceanic Q3 - Ibru Promises More Profits in Fourth Quarter

Despite its profitability run in the present financial year, Oceanic Bank International Plc has promised its investors to expect an unprecedented harvest by the year-end.

Managing Director of the bank, Dr. (Mrs.) Cecilia Ibru, while expressing satisfaction at the performance of the bank as manifested in the recently released third quarter results, stated that the bank would not looking back in its move to break new grounds in the on going efforts to build a stronger Nigeria.

According to a statement issued by the bank, Ibru, who commented on the superlative third quarter result of the bank, attributed the feat to the collective efforts of the management, workers and all the stakeholders.

"We have only fulfilled the promise it made to the shareholders during that last Annual General Meeting held in Abuja that we would not rest on its oars," she said of the bank which has positioned itself as the number one in the country

Oceanic Bank had further consolidated its leadership as a foremost African regional bank when it declared for the third quarter, a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N40.7 billion, representing an increase of 148 per cent growth over its previous year's figures of N16.4 billion.

In the statement of result, which threw the shareholders of the bank into ecstasy, the bank posted N33.6 billion profit after tax as against N13.6 billion made in the same period in the preceding year.

Ibru explained that the impressive run of the bank was not unconnected with the robust management strategies, branch expansion and deployment of effective technology, all of which she said had made Oceanic Bank to stand out.

The bank boss thanked all stakeholders, especially the employees, whom she described as the greatest asset the bank could boast of, noting that the management would continue to do all within its power to provide a conducive environment and motivate them for uptimal performance.

Ibru pledged that the bank would intensify its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the community within which it operates so that the people would positively feel the impact of the bank in its value adding services.

Oceanic bank, according to Ibru, would also intensify its partnership with governments at all levels so as to bring development closer to the people, through conscious developmental plan to revive ailing industries and several other projects crucial to national economic re engineering.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 02:48 PM   #34
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Union Bank to Raise N350 Billion Fresh Fund

The shares of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) were yesterday placed on technical suspension by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), following the receipt of application from the bank to raise about N350 billion from the market.

The stock was suspended at N42.00 per share, which was the closing price on Friday.

The bank plans to undertake a hybrid offer through an offer for subscription and rights issue to the existing shareholders.

The offer for subscription, would be at a unit price of N36.00, while the rights issue would be at a unit price of N35.00 per share.

According to sources, the management plans to utilise the new money to accelerate growth and reclaim competitive positioning in the banking industry.

Specifically, the proceeds of the offer would be channeled into new capacity building such as; expansion of branch network, upgrading of existing branches, deployment of robust information technology and human capacity building.

"Being the first major offer this year, the bank expects that the market is very fertile to absorb the volume of the shares being issued. Its officials said, the volume of the offer takes cognizance of the market's well known capacity for over-subscription. The bank is counting on the offer to provide it with the critically needed platform to reclaim market share and its ranking in the industry leadership table, said the source.

It would be recalled that shareholders of the bank had at an Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) held last year and authorised the management to increase the share capital from N7.5 billion to N10 billion.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #35
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Banks' Year-End - CBN Shifts Deadline to Dec 2009

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday shifted the deadline for banks to adopt a uniform accounting year-end from December 2008 to December 2009.

Announcing the suspension at the end of the Financial System Surveillance Commit-tee (FSSC) meeting held yesterday in Abuja, CBN Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, said the decision was in response to "irrational behaviour" of some banks in mobilising deposits and jacking up of interest rates, which could not be defended.

CBN's soft-pedalling confirms THISDAY's story of yesterday that the apex bank might review the December 31 deadline given to banks to adopt a uniform financial year-end.

Pointing out that the core (non-food) inflation rate stood at about 3.6 per cent, Soludo said the prevailing rates of both the deposit and lending rates in the market could not be justified.

For this, he said, the CBN would investigate the unwholesome practices by the banks.

According to him, the FSSC had decided "to postpone the requirement for the adoption of a uniform accounting year-end in the banking industry from December 2008 to December 2009. This is in response to the observed desperate behaviour of some banks in deposit mobilisation and hiking interest rates at levels that cannot be justified by the fundamentals. The CBN will investigate these practices by some banks."

THISDAY had published a report of its investigations last Monday on how many banks were planning to adjust to the new financial year-end policy.

The newspaper reported that banks, especially those that have over-stated their financials over the years, were sending out their staff to mobilise deposits at month-watering interest rates, ranging between 16-20 per cent, depending on the value of the deposit.

This was with a proviso that such deposits should be fixed with the bank till December 31, when all banks were expected to comply with the uniform financial year policy.

Until the CBN compelled all banks and discount houses to adopt a uniform financial year, many banks, because of different accounting periods, usually went to the inter-bank market in order to boost their balance sheets.

As soon as the regulatory authorities finished verifying their financials, the funds were usually returned to the inter-bank market.

Currently, the average lending rate, which hovered between 13-16 per cent some three months ago, has nudged upwards to 23 per cent, minus fees and commission. If other costs are added, the lending rate could stretch to 29 or 30 per cent.

Mixed reactions, however, trailed the shift in the uniform financial year end yesterday. While the banks that have not burnt their fingers by taking deposits at exorbitant costs were jubilating, others that have taken position lamented that the CBN was inconsistent.

Commenting on the development, the Managing Director/CEO of one of the big banks, it was a very good development, which would bring down banks' cost of funds and ultimately reduce the lending rate.

"This is very good development that would drive down lending rate and also have a fill-over effect on the capital market that has been starved of liquidity, which has moved to the money market where good return on investment is guaranteed.

"The Nigerian economy is not yet matured for banks to have a uniform financial year end. I just can imagine banks holding their Annual General Meetings at the same time. Besides, our auditors would not have the capacity to audit the banks at same period. Banks would also be saving a lot of money, which would have been paid for changing the accounting year. Ultimately, the banks, the shareholders and the borrowers are the beneficiaries of this policy shift," he said.

A treasury of one of the banks that has taken position lamented that his bank would lose substantial money.

"It is really very sad that the CBN is shifting the goal post now. What happens to some of us that have taken deposits at a very high cost for 150 days? The CBN is just not consistent. They (CBN) asked us (banks) to seek board approval for a uniform financial year end, which we have secured. So, why shift the goal post," he asked rhetorically.

Also yesterday, Soludo disclosed that the CBN would introduce resident examiners' programme (REP) effective from January 2009 - confirming THISDAY's report on the plan earlier in the year.

"In effect, from January 2009, the CBN will post staff to each of these banks who will monitor and supervise the activities of the banks on a daily basis and report to head office," he said.

This, he explained, was to strengthen CBN's effectiveness in the risk-based supervision, stating that "it is designed to enhance our hands-on knowledge of the banks' operations, the complexity of their risk profile and to provide real-time and continuous evaluation of their operations".

Similarly, the FSSC, Soludo said, reaffirmed to the general public that the CBN was still receiving and processing requests for banking licences.

"This is to correct the wrong impression that requests for banking licence are no longer being entertained by the CBN. The required conditions for banking licence are available on the CBN website and any investor that meets the conditions will be issued with a banking licence," he said.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #36
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Nicon, Nigeria Re Recapitalise With N25 Billion

NICON Insurance Plc and Nigeria Re yesterday completed a N25 billion recapitalization, meeting conditions as part of an out of court settlement with the Federal Government.

The Jimoh Ibrahim led board of the two insurance companies was suspended by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for non-compliance with relevant laws and the non-injection of appropriate funds in line with recapitalisation requirements, among others.

The Federal Government appointed an interim board which Mr Ibrahim protested in court, but the parties finally reached an 11-point out of court agreement this year.

One of the conditions was the injection of N17.3 billion into the NICON Insurance and N7.3 billion into the Nigerian Re within 60 days of the inception of the agreement.

Mr Ibrahim yesterday presented Union Bank draft and Intercontinental Bank draft worth N8.6 billion each for NICON Insurance and an AfriBank draft worth N7.5 billion for the Nigerian Re to the Managing Director of NICON insurance, Mr. Jegede Emmanuel.

Those present at the presentation include the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mrs Irene Chigbue, and chairman of the Nigeria Re, Dr. Amos Akigbe as well as other members of the board.

He said "the cash injection at this point in time is unnecessary but in order for us prove ourselves and our integrity in business, we have decided to do that," adding that about 60 percent of the money was gotten through loan and would be used to pay outstanding claims including pensions, investment and branch expansion of the companies.

Commenting on his arraignment in Lagos over a N1 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tuesday, Mr Ibrahim said his arraignment in absentia was the handiwork of detractors who were bent on frustrating his ownership of NICON.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #37
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Leadway Assurance's Gross Premium Income Surges to N15 Billion

Leadway Assurance Company Limited, has announced a gross premium income of N15billion for the year ended December 31, 2007, as against N5 billion recorded in 2006.

Net premium income for the year under review rose to N7.4billion, while profit for 2007 was N1.2 billion. Besides, the gross premium income recorded in the first half of 2008 was N13 billion.

Industry watchers attribute the impressive performance of the company to the re-capitalisation exercise in the insurance industry, stressing that the policy which was criticized by some in the industry, has started yielding dividend.

The managing director and chief executive of the company, Mr. Oye Hassan-Odukale, addressing insurance brokers during the Leadway 360 brokers forum in Lagos, said that, the performance was as a result of the support of the brokers, stressing that 90 per cent of the company's businesses were sourced through the brokers.

He said, "we want to use this forum to record our appreciation of the support to the company in our commercial business dealings with the intermediaries. We hold the brokers very dear to our heart, as 90 per cent of our commercial businesses are sourced through you, and we still need your continued support as we move along in this competitive environment".

He stated that, the forum was a better place to exchange ideas on how to serve the brokers and customers better. "This we can do more efficiently through the use of information technology (IT), to drive the business in the new insurance environment". The managing director, said that Leadway was prepared to support and assist the brokers to do the business more efficiently by the use of IT components.

Some of the brokers who spoke, expressed joy on the performance of the company, adding that the company can always count on the support of brokers as it builds its business drive around professionalism.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:00 PM   #38
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Stanbic IBTC Earnings Hit N28.9 Billion in Nine Months

Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc has recorded gross earnings of N28.9 billion for its audited nine-month result ended December 31, 2007.

The bank's third quarter result further showed that earnings increased by N7.78 billion or 36.8 per cent compared with N21.12 billion recorded for the 12-month period ended March 2007.

Similarly, the profit after tax surged by N2.05 billion or 35.3 per cent from N 5.8 billion achieved in during the 12-month financial year ended March 31 2007 to N7.85 billion within the period under review.

The directors are recommending a dividend of N30 kobo per every 50 kobo ordinary shares held by investors at the closure of registrar July 17, 2008.

However, the bank despite the recent rush by the nation's banks to raise capital base to the tune of $1billion to enable it manage part of the nation's external reserves, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc said that it is not making any arrangement to source for additional money to increase its shareholders fund.

Managing director/chief executive of the Bank, Mr Chris Newson said in Lagos that the bank is highly capitalized, adding that with the N60 billion capital base, the bank is buoyant enough to do banking business in the country.

He, however, said that although the bank is planning to expand its banking services to other parts of the country, it would do everything to maintain the significant legacy position IBTC Chartered has in the investment banking.

He stated that the steps to be taken by the bank will be to balance its portfolio in both retail and investment banking to add value to the growth of the institution.

Newson explained that the most valued assets of the bank is the staff who are now exposed to a global range of professional and personal development opportunities that would enable them sharpen their skills in order to improve customers services delivery.

He further stated that the bank was committed to contributing towards the development of Nigeria's economy as demonstrated by Standard Bank's significant investment in Nigeria.

According to him "the size and scale of our investment into the country is a clear sign of our long term commitment to Nigeria."

It could be recalled that IBTC Chartered Bank Plc and Stanbic Bank Nigeria Limited, a member of the Standard Bank Group of South Africa Limited recently unveiled new brand name "Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc" to show the successful conclusion of the merger of the two institutions.

The re-branding of the bank identity was because Standard Bank had in August 2007 secured 50.1 per cent shareholding of IBTC Chartered Plc through merger of the two banks and tender offer.

This resulted in the Standard Bank group having a total estimated $640 million investment in the country and re-branding of the merged entity to reflect the majority ownership of the bank.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #39
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Solid Trust Raises N1.8 Billion

Solid Trust Saving and Loans Board of Directors has agreed to raise N1.8 billion through private placement of 1,200,000,000 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N1.50 per share.

Arising from the company's completion board meeting in Lagos, the chairman of the board, Mr Oladipo Ashafa stated that the fund, when realized, would be used to expand the company's operations, such as opening of more branches, upgrade and expand the company's computer infrastructures to meet the expected demands, meet the expected minimum capital requirement for primary mortgage institution, beef up the working capital as well as embarking on rapid and extensive human capital development.

Ashafa said, with enhanced capital base, the company would not only position itself to maximize its potentials in private housing development, but would be able to improve the market share, efficiency in asset development and utilization with resulting improvements in returns to shareholders.

"To achieve these, six more branches will be opened in urban centres within the next two years while the company will also consolidate its position in the property trading and real estate development as well as break new grounds in financial advisory services", he said.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 09:14 PM   #40
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Reps Urge FG to Stop Stock Broking Firms' Recapitalisation

Due to the general outcry by stock broking firms in Nigeria against Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the N1billion minimum recapitalisation capital for the proposed consolidation exercise, the House of Representatives has urged the federal government and other relevant agencies to put an indefinite hold on any exercise aimed at recapitalising stock broking firms in Nigeria.

Moving the motion to put the exercise on hold, on Tuesday's plenary session, the House said the exercise and any other programme aimed at the recapitalisation will continue after consultations have been made by the stock broking firms and other stakeholders in the industry on the exercise.

The members noted that, if not addressed, the exercise needed to be conducted with consideration of the stock broking firms in order not to relieve them of their positions in the capital market, a vacancy which is waiting to be filled by banks through their stock broking subsidiaries.

"The House regrets the imminent danger of a possible takeover of the Nigerian Capital market by the mega banks and wiping off of the dividing line between the money market and the capital market, since these banks have already diversified into capital market operations through their subsidiary companies".

The lower chamber added that it was aware that majority of the stock broking firms in Nigeria have described the minimum capital requirement as being "too high, outrageous and unrealistic".
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