AIRTEL PLANS MOBILE MONEY ROLL OUT IN NIGERIA
Airtel Africa has said it will soon roll out its mobile money business in Nigeria.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Raghunath Mandava, said this as highlights of its operations show growth across the company’s business products.
The telecommunications and mobile money service provider, with presence in 14 countries across East, Central and West Africa, said it also plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange.
At the moment, Mr Mandava said the company is working towards securing approval of a brand name and obtaining a license for the mobile payment service.
“I am pleased to report a strong start to the financial year,” the CEO disclosed in the company’s quarterly results for the first quarter of this year ended June 30, 2019.
“The business continues to show momentum, and we are confident of delivering sustained growth across Voice, Data and Mobile Money, underpinning our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth,” he said.
AFRICAN TELECOM MTN RAISES $140 MILLION IN DIVESTMENT PLAN
MTN Group Ltd says it has raised 2.1 billion rand (140.24 million dollars) from asset sales in the first half of this year as part of a divestment plan to simplify its portfolio.
The Group Chief Executive, Rob Shuter told reporters in a post-earnings conference call on Thursday in Johannesburg that the firm’s three years plan to reposition the firm was on track.
MTN is in the middle of reviewing its presence in some markets alongside investments in e-commerce platforms as part of a plan to streamline the company into a focused operator in high-growth markets in the Middle East and Africa.
In March, it announced a 15 billion rand divestment programme over the next three years that will also reduce risk and improve returns.
The firm had said in a statement that in the first half of the year, it sold its shareholder loan in ATC Ghana to American Tower Corporation for 900 million rand.
It said it also sold its interests in investment fund Amadeus and its associated holding in Travelstart for 1.2 billion rand.
But the Africa’s largest mobile network by subscribers, however, reported a 9.3 per cent fall in earnings on Thursday.
Shutter said in spite of the drop in earnings, the firm was well on track for its 15 billion rand target over the next three years.
Headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main profit measure in South Africa stood at 195 cents in the six-months through June, compared to 215 cents in June 2018.
MTN said the earnings were impacted by the new IFRS 16 accounting standard, Nigeria fine interest, foreign exchange gains and losses, hyperinflation and the depreciation of the Iranian real, which resulted in lower earnings from MTN Iran cell.
AKIN -OLUGBADE APPOINTED FIRST AFRICAN MEMBER OF WORLD TRADE BOARD
Dr Adesegun Akin-Olugbade, an international legal and finance expert, has been appointed as a member of the World Trade Board.
Akin-Olugbade, an international counsel at ǼLEX Law Firm, joins 20 other global trade and finance leaders on the board as the first African member.
The Chairman of World Trade Board, Simon Paris said this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
Paris said that the appointment of the first African into the body comes at a most auspicious time, with the formal inauguration of the operational phase of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA has established a Continental Free Trade Area for the African continent of 1.2 billion people, with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.3 trillion dollars.
“With protectionism looming large around the world and ever-increasing regulation throwing up new challenges, global trade is in a state of flux.
In this unchartered environment, the board’s common vision of collaborative, connected, inclusive trade enabled by the latest business technologies has never been more important.
“We welcome Dr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade to our cohort as we continue to strive toward driving open trade for the benefit of all,” he said.
According to him, Akin-Olugbade is combining the highest academic qualifications and professional distinctions with excellent legal skills, extensive transactional experience and corporate governance expertise.
FIDELITY BANK DISBURSED N9.6 BILLION TO MSME
Fidelity Bank Plc says it has disbursed N9.6 billion to Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), from the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) fund being administered by participating deposit money banks.
Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, disclosed this at the Fidelity Bank SME Funding Connect-Lagos with the theme “Entrepreneurship Meets Capital which held yesterday in Lagos. Okonkwo said that the bank’s access limit to DBN fund was N25 billion, and that N9.6 billion had been disbursed to small businesses.
“DBN started about two years ago, we have access to N25 billion in DBN, and have already done N9.6 billion,” he stated. Okonkwo said the bank would remain committed to the growth and development of SMEs by ensuring disbursement of the balance to qualified small businesses.
He also said that the bank equally disbursed N2.3 billion from the N220 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) SME fund in support of small businesses.
The Fidelity Bank boss said the Tier 2 lender would continue to play actively in the various intervention funding intiatives introduced by the Federal Government for SMEs, stressing that the sum of N6 billion has also been disbursed under the Bank of Industry (BoI) SMEs fund.
Okonkwo said that these funds were disbursed to benefitting SMEs at single digit interest rate. He identified funding as a major problem affecting small businesses in Nigeria, hence Fidelity bank had resolved it would concentrate on SMEs to bridge funding gap.
Speaking on the SMEs Funding Connect, Okonkwo said the bank partnered PWC to bring SMEs to founders and funders. “2,500 people entered the competition, we were down to about 12, now finalists are about five,” He said.
He explained that winning the prize was not the major issue but knowledge and interaction these SMEs were exposed to. Also speaking, Mr Ernest Ebi, Chairman Fidelity Bank, assured that the board was solidly behind the management on the initiative.
Ebi said that the bank was playing a leading role in Nigeria’s SME and retail banking space. “SME is very important to stimulate economic growth and development, and no economy can do without them,” he said. He called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for SMEs to thrive.
The chairman said that the needed infrastructure should be provided for them to succeed apart from funding.
TOLARAM GROUP LAUNCHES FRUIT DRINK
Tolaram Group has made its entry into the fruit drink market with the launch of “GoodLife Magik” fruit drink.
Tolaram Group is one of the largest conglomerates in West Africa, which has over the years laid an indelible footprint especially in the Nigerian landscape with the introduction of numerous successful brands.
The company’s latest brand, GoodLife Magik, is a healthy fruit drink that rides on three unique selling propositions of “Healthy, Nutritious and Great Taste”.
The fruit drink is targeted at children who require all the beneficial nutrients they can get, to grow and function optimally.
The brand comes in three variants: Orange, Watermelon & Mango and is fortified with key nutrients such as Vitamin-C and Glucose that improve immunity and give energy.
The new product offers a great natural taste and comes in unique and attractive packaging.
Tolaram Group Managing Director Chief Harkishin Aswani assured Nigerians that the company will continue to maintain the reputation of unwavering quality which the group has established over the years.
“Tolaram Group is one of the largest manufacturers in Nigeria and the group has consistently produced strong household brands keeping in mind the consumers’ needs. Keeping the same philosophy of being consumer-centric, we hope that this new addition to the group will create another success story,” he said.
Aswani, however, appealed to Nigerians to continue supporting the group as it grows, while assuring them of its commitment towards creating another Nigerian success story with the GoodLife Magik fruit drink brand.
Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, who was special guest, praised the group for its efforts in putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians through the introduction of numerous brands which have over the years expanded so large and are actively topping the charts in their respective categories.
“There is hardly anyone in this hall who has never consumed the Indomie brand,” she said, describing it as an evidence of a brand’s success.
“It must also be mentioned that the Tolaram Group’s marketing doggedness and product innovation culture is quite admirable and strong, hence, I am confident that this latest addition; GoodLife Magik fruit drink will also grow big and perform well in the Nigerian market just like the rest of the brands from the group “ Bamidele said.
Also speaking at the launch in Lagos, during the week, President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai, said: “We are excited to be a part of the launch of the GoodLife Magik, which has come with the proposition of healthy nutrition for Nigerians.
“Nutrition Society of Nigeria has always been in support of the Tolaram group brands not because of their market dominance, but because they have consistently demonstrated interest towards the promotion of health.
“We are always happy and open to support any brand that promises to promote healthy nutrition which is what the society largely stands for.”
GoodLife Magik is being manufactured by Tolaram Nutri Beverages Ltd under the Tolaram Group. It is a healthy fruit drink which has just been launched into the Nigerian beverage segment.