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Nigeria Sovereign Investment’s profit drops in 2017, blames FG

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The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the agency managing the Sovereign Wealth Fund, has recorded a decline in its profit from N130.3 billion in 2016 to N22.5 billion in 2017.
The Managing Director, NSIA, Uche Orji, while presenting highlights of the financial performance of the fund to the media on Sunday in Abuja, said 2017 was a challenging year for the agency.
Orji said the total income of the agency declined from N149.83 billion in 2016 to N27.93 billion in 2017.
According to him, the agency also recorded a decline of N107.8 billion in profit from N130.37 billion in 2016 to N22.55 billion in 2017.
Orji blamed the Currency Management Policy of the Federal Government for the decline in profitability.
He said: “The decline of the net foreign exchange gains which accounted for the reduced net operating income recorded in 2017 was as a result of government’s Currency Management Policies, which were aimed at stabilising the Naira in 2016.
“To this effect, the Naira weakened in value from N196 per dollar to N305 per dollar in 2016.
“Considering that at the end of that year, about 80 cent of the Authority’s assets were denominated in the United States Dollars, the devaluation resulted in significant exchange gains in the Authority’s Naira books.”
Orji said dividend payment to its shareholders was discussed at the last board meeting but stepped down till next year.
The agency commenced operations in 2013 with N1.55 billion and there had been expectations that dividend to its shareholders would be paid at the end of the 2017 financial period.
Orji said: “The law said that we should show profits in each of the three funds consistently for five years after which we will start declaring dividend and this is the fifth year of showing profitability.
“The dividend policy was considered by the board but we decided to step it down and consider it again next year.”
Orji said also the delay in inaugurating the NSIA board led to a lag in re-investment of matured fund which affected profitability in the year under review.
However, he said despite the drop in profitability, the NSIA had decided to increase its funding for infrastructure development.
To achieve this objective, Orji said the asset allocation strategy of the NSIA was restructured to reflect an increased focus on domestic infrastructure investment.
Orji said henceforth 50 per cent of future contributions would be dedicated to infrastructure as against the previous arrangement where 40 per cent of the fund was allocated.
He gave the areas of priority for the agency as agriculture, healthcare, motorways, real estate and power.
On the outlook for 2018, he said the NSIA would continue to maintain its diversified asset strategy to drive returns and mitigate market volatility.
He said: “The NSIA anticipates increased investment in infrastructure as more projects come up to financial close.
“The deployment of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund is expected to drive 2018 infrastructure investment strategy as 650 million dollars has been voted by NEC to complete critical infrastructure projects across the country.”
According to Orji, the construction of the second Niger Bridge, which is one of the major road projects being financed by the NSIA, would be completed in the next four years.
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BUSINESS

Dangote pays 90% of net profits as dividend, shareholders get N10.50 per share payout

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L-R: Chairman, Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Engr. Joseph Makoju; Non-Executive Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Olakunle Alake; and Group Chief Financial Officer, Dangote Cement Plc, Brian Egan during the 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Dangote Cement Plc held in Lagos on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

The Board of Dangote Cement Plc has approved the dividend payout of N10.50 per 50k share, representing 90 per cent of net profit and an increase of 23.5 per cent on the N8.5 per share paid last year.

The shareholders described Dangote Cement as a very reliable company that has consistently demonstrated its love for the shareholders. They unanimously urged the regulators to give a special award to Dangote Cement and its Management for keeping faith with the shareholders.

President of Progressives Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, said the shareholders were pleased with Aliko Dangote and his team. He said for the company to still pay a robust dividend despite the recession in the economy, which also affected their operations shows the doggedness and the fighting entrepreneurial spirit of the Management.

According to him: “We are very happy and pleased with this result. 2017 was very tough with the recession and fluctuation in the foreign exchange market which the Chairman also said affected their operations, but despite all these challenges, the company was still able to pay us a very good dividend, better than last year, and even gave us hope of better returns on our investments in the years to come. This is very commendable and it is only a company like Dangote Cement that can achieve this laudable feat.”

Dr. Umar Farouk, another shareholders’ association leader urged the regulators to adequately compensate the Management of the Dangote Cement with an award as it has consistently kept faith with its shareholders.

He expressed optimism on the pan African plants, especially now that the Plants are contributing significantly to the turnover of the company. “It is a statement of fact that we are lucky to be shareholders of this great company. If you see what our subsidiaries across Africa are contributing to the turnover, then you will understand what I am talking about. I am very happy and our members are upbeat for the future, knowing fully well that it will only get better.”

Chairman of Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote, however, attributed the 31 percent increase in the company’s revenue of N805.6 billion to its pan African operations growth which also recorded a significant increase in revenue from N195 billion to N258.4 billion in 2017.

He said: “Pan African operations increased volumes by 8.4 percent, with Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa all performing strongly and close to their operating capacity”

Noting that the company experienced some challenges in operating in sub-Saharan Africa, Dangote said the Management responded in a robust fashion and benefited from “…the diversity we have created across our business and because of our local knowledge and attitudes towards doing business in neighboring countries in Africa.”

Explaining the rationale behind the success recorded by the Dangote Cement’s revenue, the acting Group Chief executive, Joe Makoju said “… the increase was helped by our decision to increase our use of local coal in Nigeria and that also helped to improve our fuel security, maintain production uptime and it reduced our need for foreign currency. We source coal from our parent company, Dangote Industries and from another Nigerian supplier, and we are very happy with the way this has worked out for us because it has enabled us to phase out the use of expensive low pour fuel oil in our kilns and also to reduce our use of imported coal”

On the future growth plans for the Group, Makoju said “ …As it stands, I think we will focus on building new grinding plants along the coast of West Africa, and ensure we have clinker export facilities in Nigeria. We are looking at the possibility of two new lines in Nigeria, perhaps by the end of 2020 and it is likely these will be in Edo state and Obajana, with a combined capacity of 6Mta”

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Decade old story wins GTBank’s Dusty Manuscript Contest

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The MD/CEO Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje with Winner of the contest, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson

 

A manuscript written almost ten years ago has been selected as the winner of the Dusty Manuscript Contest; a Prize organized for budding Nigerian writers. Written by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, the winning manuscript, titled Devil’s Pawn clinched the top prize ahead of The Orchid Protocol by Onoche Emeka Onyekwena and The Other Side of Truth by Nneoma Anieto, which came first and second runner-up respectively.

Organized in partnership with Kachifo Ltd. and Okadabooks, the Dusty Manuscript Contest is the latest in a long line of GTBank’s YouREAD initiatives aimed at fostering the culture of reading and creating a platform for the appreciation of Africa’s literary excellence. As part of the contest, Nigerians were invited to submit their unpublished stories and stand a chance to get publishing deals for their works. The contest received over 1,000 entries and had a panel of four judges made up of authors Eghosa Imasuen, Yejide Kilanko and Toni Kan and Assistant Professor of English, Dr Ainehi Edoro-Glines.

As part of the prizes in the Dusty Manuscript Contest, the authors of the top 3 manuscripts received 1,000,000, N500,000 and N250,000 respectively, as well as publishing contracts with Kachifo Ltd. The authors of the 10 manuscripts also received e-publishing contracts with OkadaBooks, while the authors of the top 20 manuscripts were hosted to a two-day intensive writers boot-camp to sharpen their literary and business skills.

Speaking about the winning entry, the lead judge, Dr Ainehi Edoro, said; “Devil’s Pawn was a unanimous choice. Told in a fast paced narrative style that keeps you glued to the pages, the story is a gift that keeps giving’’. “The Orchid Protocol is an intriguing detective story, call it CSI Lagos and you won’t be too far off the mark,” said Eghosa Imasuen, one of the judges. “The Other Side of Truth presents a woman’s life, without judgement. In making the case for the novel a single word comes to me: Empathy,” added another judge, Toni Kan.

Commenting on the Dusty Manuscript Contest, Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “At GTBank we see Art as not just a medium for creative expression but also as a means of livelihood, and by organizing the Dusty Manuscript Contest we are helping budding writers share their stories with the world whilst providing them with a platform to build successful writing careers.”

GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run African financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation. The Bank’s footprints in Corporate Social Responsibility are guided strategically by its decision to operate on four major pillars: Education, Community Development, Arts and the Environment, which it believes are essential building blocks for the society and prerequisites for economic growth and societal development.

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BUSINESS

CBN boosts Forex market with $210 million

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made available the sum of $210million, to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the foreign exchange market.
In its desire to meet customers’ needs in the various segments of the market, the CBN offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got boosted with the sum of $55 million.
According to figures obtained from the Bank on Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, customers needing foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.
It will be recalled that the Bank last Thursday, June 14, 2018 intervened to the tune of $343.06 million to cater for requests in the retail segment of the forex market.
Meanwhile, the naira continued its stability in the FOREX market, exchanging at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.
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