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Olam Invests $275m on Wheat, Pasta Mills in Nigeria

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Olam

Olam Nigeria said its Singapore-based holding company, Olam International Limited has acquired Amber Foods Limited for $275 million. If the amount is converted with the current official exchange rate this amounts to N8.4150billion.

The deal was consummated through Olam’s subsidiary Quintessential Foods Nigeria Limited who are owners of the wheat and pasta manufacturing assets of BUA Group in Nigeria.

The BUA Group, is a diversified foods and infrastructure business group in Nigeria, it’s among the top five wheat millers in the country with wheat milling and pasta manufacturing capacities of 3,760 and 700 metric tonnes per day (TPD) respectively.

The assets to be acquired include two wheat mills and a pasta manufacturing facility in Lagos, a mill in Kano, and a wheat mill and a pasta manufacturing plant under construction in Port Harcourt.

The wheat milling sector in Sub-Saharan Africa has been an area of investment focus for Olam since 2010 when it acquired Crown Flour Mills, CFM in Nigeria. Since then, Olam has expanded Crown Flour Mills capacity and set up milling operations in Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon.

Accordingly, this acquisition will strengthen Crown Flour Mill’s position as the number two wheat miller by sales volume and make it a leading pasta player in Nigeria. Crow Flour Mill’s total wheat milling capacity in the country will increase from its current 2,380 TPD to 6,140 TPD once the facilities in Port Harcourt are completed in June 2016.

The Country Head of Olam Nigeria, Mukul Mathur, said: “We are confident about the growth prospects in Nigeria, so expanding our participation hereis a logical step to capitalise on the opportunity. Our value-added export business in the country puts us in a strong position to generate the much required forex and actively support the Produce-Add-Value-Export, PAVE initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Managing Director of Crown Flour Mills, Anurag Shukla, added: “This acquisition further increases Crown Flour Mill’s ability to provide low cost food staples to the Nigerian population that have been manufactured in-country. Wheat-based products, such as pasta, have grown in popularity among Nigerians due to changing tastes, the gradual rise of convenience and, for many, as an affordable option to meet carbohydrate requirements.”

“We are pleased to acquire the BUA Flour and BUA Pasta brand. Both brands are very well known and respected in the industry and we look forward to further developing them and increasing their reach across Nigeria, leveraging our extensive sales and distribution network. We will also invest in building the skills and capabilities of our employees and in providing a safe working environment.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Investment

SEC Warns Against Proliferation of Unregistered Investment Platforms

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the investing public to be wary of the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.

SEC’s warning was conveyed via a circular issued in Abuja, Thursday to capital market operators.

It advised the investing public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products.

The circular read: “The attention of the SEC has been drawn to the existence of several providers of online investment and trading platforms which purportedly facilitate direct access of the investing public in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to securities of foreign companies listed on securities exchanges registered in other jurisdictions.

“These platforms also claim to be operating in partnership with capital market operators (CMOs) registered with the Commission.”

The Commission categorically stated that by the provisions of Sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations, only foreign securities listed on any exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription to the Nigerian public.

Accordingly, the SEC notified CMOs who work in concert with the referenced online platforms of the Commission’s position and advised them to desist henceforth.

Public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products advertised through conventional or online mediums.

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SoftBank Reaps $33 Billion Coupang Windfall

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SoftBank Group Corp on Thursday racked up a roughly $33 billion gain on paper through the public market debut of South Korea’s largest e-commerce company, Coupang Inc, the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround for its $100 billion Vision Fund.

Shares of Coupang opened 81% above their offer price on Thursday, after the company raised $4.6 billion in the U.S. stock market’s biggest initial public offering this year.

SoftBank paid around $3 billion for a 37% stake in the company, according to sources familiar with earlier fund-raising, giving it a roughly $33 billion headline profit if prices hold.

Coupang’s hugely successful stock market launch is welcome news for SoftBank, which is grappling with the collapse of billions of dollars worth of funds linked to Britain’s Greensill Capital, a supply chain finance start-up.

Vision Fund is Greensill’s biggest backer.

The Japanese conglomerate last month reported third-quarter net profit ballooned more than 20 times thanks to a recovery at the Vision Fund, a huge venture capital operation famous for investing early in Uber and other tech industry startup successes.

Only a year ago, SoftBank had been smarting from the flopped IPO and collapse in value of office sharing firm WeWork, raising questions over whether Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son had lost his midas touch and threatening plans to establish a successor to Vision.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced Son to sell assets but a second deal reported by Reuters on Thursday bodes well for VF II, a second, smaller fund.

The $225 million late-stage funding round for healthcare startup Forward Health was its first major investment this year, following a pickup in activity and the group’s fortunes in the second half of 2020.

The Vision Fund also made $11 billion on a blockbuster market launch of DoorDash Inc in December, which valued the food delivery company at more than $70 billion.

It also made gains on home seller Opendoor Technologies Inc’s initial offering in December.

The fund still holds large stakes in China’s biggest ride-hailing firm Didi, as well as Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab.

SoftBank is also trying to ride the mania for special purpose acquisition companies, launching a handful of blank-check firms this year, although none of them have found investment targets yet.

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Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) To €2 billion in Nigeria

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The French Development Agency (AFD) is a development finance institution 100 percent held by the French government.

In Nigeria, it is mainly into financing infrastructure projects (water, energy, transport and agriculture).

It also involves financing related to the banking sector, governance and the cultural and creative industries.

Speaking to the media, the AFD Country Director Nigeria, Pascal Grangereau, said €2 billion was set aside to be sent on mainly road financing, water sector, improvement in electricity and agriculture.

He said €300 million was being spent on the Abuja Electricity Backup, a project in collaboration with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to improve electricity at the nation’s capital.

Grangereau said a total of €200 million is equally expended on the North West Electricity Backup.

On agriculture, he said vocational training is currently held across the nation to improve the skills of Nigerians.

He added: “We intend to finance agricultural projects in five states, Benue, Imo and three other states to the tune of €50 million.”

He lamented that while it was endowed with reserves of crude oil and natural gas, Nigeria is characterised by power generation considered by the Nigerians themselves as not adequate.

He said concentrating more than half of the installed electricity capacity in West Africa, only half of which was harnessed by the country, implying a very low per capita consumption, limited access to electricity and frequent load shedding.

He added: “The sector is of strategic importance for successive governments, with the launching in the 2000s of a vast reform, supported by a massive investment plan; which reform although supported by the donors is yet to achieve the expected results. The project aims to strengthen the electricity transmission network, natural monopoly under the responsibility of the public company TCN, thus laying the foundations for a long-term partnership with TCN.”

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