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Naira Plunges to All-Time Low of 365.25 a Dollar

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500 and 1000 naira bills (Nigerian currency)

The Nigerian Naira traded at a record low on Thursday in a single interbank market trade of $1m, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The local currency traded at 365.25 to a dollar, with about $13m exchange reportedly carried out by 12:35 GMT.

Traders and experts expect the Naira to plunge further considering the present economic situation in the country, and drop in the volume of oil production needed to breach the gap created by the lack of forex.

Three-month non-deliverable forward contracts rose 4.1 per cent to 364.5 against the US dollar, while contracts maturing in a year climbed 3.5 percent to 403.

The Naira has slumped 38 percent since June 20, when the Central Bank of Nigeria ended a 16 month fix rate of 197-199 a dollar.

Since then the local currency has plummeted as foreign investors that were expected to offset the current deficit created by lack of liquidity flee, after the United Kingdom left the European Union – pushing global risks and uncertainties to the recession era.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund forecast a 1.8 percent contraction of the Nigerian economy this year, after the activities of the militants distorted oil production.

“There’s still a lot of demand for dollars,” said Craig Thompson of Nyon, a Switzerland-based brokerage Continental Capital Partners SA.

“The central bank has been supplying them. They sold some at 309 on Wednesday to keep the rate down. They’ve been selling dollars most days to keep it going above 320 and have done their best to try and keep it closing around 310. Managing the exchange rate is difficult because there’s pent-up demand,” he added.

Commercial banks are unable to meet surge in demand for the greenback, forcing customers to the black market.

Currently, the Naira is trading at 394 per dollar at the parallel market, about 11 percent lower than the official rate.

“There is no liquidity” in the interbank foreign-exchange market, an analyst at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Kunle Ezun, said.

“They won’t want to see this jump,” Ezun said. “They will come in, maybe tomorrow, to bring it down to 320 or 330.”

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.

Banking Sector

Union Bank CEO, Godson Chukwuemeka Okonkwo Acquires 2.4 Million Shares in the Bank Ahead of Acquisition

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Union bank - Investors King

The Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank Plc, Godson Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, has purchased 2,431,917 ordinary shares of the bank, according to the latest disclosure filing from the lender.

The CEO acquired the 2,431,917 shares of Union Bank at N4.90 per share on Thursday 6th May 2021 from the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.

Okonkwo’s N11.916 million investment was after Investors King reported a possible acquisition of the bank by Zenith Bank or Access Bank following sources cited by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg said, “Atlas Mara Limited, the London Stock Exchange-listed pan-African banking group started by Mr. Bob Diamond has received a number of approaches for its 49.97 per cent holding in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria.”

It also stated that Atlas Mara received interests from Nigerian and Middle Eastern lenders for its remaining assets on the continent, according to Bloomberg sources.

The sources claimed the banks in talks with Atlas Mara asked not to be identified as talks are private. But they mentioned Nigeria’s Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank as some of the banks that have so far expressed interests in acquiring Union Bank.

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Others Express Interest in Acquiring Union Bank

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Atlas Mara - Investors King

Zenith Bank and Access Bank are some of the financial institutions in talks to acquire Atlas Mara Ltd.’s 49.97 percent stake in Union Bank Plc.

Bloomberg said, “Atlas Mara Limited, the London Stock Exchange-listed pan-African banking group started by Mr. Bob Diamond has received a number of approaches for its 49.97 per cent holding in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria.”

It also stated that Atlas Mara received interests from Nigerian and Middle Eastern lenders for its remaining assets on the continent, according to Bloomberg sources.

The sources claimed the banks in talks with Atlas Mara asked not to be identified as talks are private. But they mentioned Nigeria’s Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank as some of the banks that have so far expressed interests in acquiring Union Bank.

Middle Eastern banks and private equity suitors have also shown interest, according to the people. Some potential buyers have indicated they may acquire all of Atlas Mara’s remaining assets in Africa, which would include its Zimbabwe unit, the people said.

Atlas Mara has been working with Rothschild & Co. to consider options for its Union Bank stake. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said.

Representatives for Atlas Mara and Zenith Bank didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Attijariwafa Bank Managing Director Ismail Douiri and a representative for Access Bank declined to comment.

Speaking on the matter, Frontier and Sub-saharan Africa Banks’ Analyst, Renaissance Capital, Adesoji Solanke, on Thursday said this is good for Atlas Mara.

He said “Good for Atlas Mara if they’re able to exit successfully, as they’ve been selling a bunch of assets over the past year, to KCB and Access Bank respectively across different markets. Whether they get a good valuation for Union Bank is another thing.

“We don’t think it’ll be a transformational deal for Access or Zenith (Return-on-Equity dilutive for both), but could be a good way for the Middle Eastern banks to get a decent foothold in the market. We suspect getting the other private equity investor block to sell will be critical as we wouldn’t expect a strategic bank investor to desire a minority shareholding.”

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Finance

Nestle Nigeria Reports N12.4 Billion Profit After Tax in Q1 2021

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Nestle Nigeria - Investors King

Nestle Nigeria Plc, a food and beverage specialty company headquartered in Lagos and majorly owned by Nestle S.A of Switzerland, grew revenue to N87.258 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 from N70.329 billion filed in Q1 2020.

The company disclosed in its unaudited financial statement released in late April.

Gross profit stood at N34.743 billion in the quarter, up from N31.658 billion achieved in the same quarter of 2020.

Results from operating activities rose from N17.538 billion in Q1 2020 to N20.314 billion in Q1 2021.

While finance income contracted from N335.242 million in Q1 2020 to N123.340 million in Q1 2021. Finance costs rose to N1.435 billion in the quarter, up from N417.928 million recorded in Q1 2020.

Net finance income/cost stood at N1.312 billion, up from N82.686 million in Q1 2020.

Profit before tax rose to N19.002 billion in the quarter under review, better than the N17.455 billion achieved in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

Nestle Nigeria paid N6.602 billion as income tax for the period, slightly higher than the N6.259 billion paid in Q1 2020.

Profit after tax expanded to N12.400 billion in the quarter, up from N11.195 billion filed in Q1 2020.

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