Unity Bank Plc yesterday reduced its over 2,000 workforce by sacking 215 members of staff, it was reliably learnt.
The exercise, it was further leant, was to enable the lender realign its operation and pursue a long term growth strategy.
Some of the downsized staff members were said to have opted to resign while management approved severance package for them in line with the bank’s policy.
The lender last May, forged a strategic alliance with Black Trituium, equity and investment fund manager.
The bank said it in a report on its website that it was driven by the vision to be the retail bank of choice for all Nigerians and “this is at the core of all that we do”.
Investigation revealed that the affected members of staff were those that achieved less than 40 per cent of their performance target, which affected the lender’s overall profitability in recent years.
The downsizing, which cut across all cadres including junior, middle and top management positions, happened at a time majority of banks are battling with poor profitability over harsh economic conditions and heightened business risks from the plunge in crude oil prices.
The bank is also said to have attracted specialist skills to its workforce since the relocation of its head office from Abuja to Lagos, which was in line with its plan to grow market share in viable clusters of the retail market.
A source close to the bank said the new focus of the business has led to significant enhancement of human capital in its various business units.
This was with a view to injecting fresh ideas, initiatives and energies to strengthen its various departments with capabilities to pursue the attainment of strategic business focus in the Agricultural financing, retail/Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and development of rural economy.
It bank, it was further leant, recently hired about 200 new staff to drive the transformation initiative while about 100 other staff were said to have been promoted.
Commenting on this development, an industry expert asserted that these exercises are part of the hard choices that forward-looking organisations desiring optimum performance had to take from time to time to enable it deliver consistently on shareholders expectations.
In the report on its website, the lender said it was one of Nigeria’s leading retail banks with 240 business offices spread across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. “We are Nigeria’s seventh largest bank by business locations,” it said.
The Nation learnt that the new investor in the bank, Black Trituium, was committed to making significant equity investment in the bank.
This strategic alliance will expand Unity Bank’s business scope, strengthen its capital base and support the bank’s retail strategy while meeting the investment objectives of Black Trituium. The Black Trituium manages funds for individuals and institutions such as Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The collaboration with the bank is expected to expand the retail and Small and Medium Enterprises segment of the bank. Investment analysts see this as a unique opportunity with the potential of broadening the bank’s customer base and provide long term stakeholders value.
Furthermore, given the current economic outlook, this strategic alliance will come with immediate benefits that will enhance the capacity of the bank to meet the needs of its banking public.The alliance will also support government’s initiatives aimed at driving growth in the real sector through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and retail products, with particular focus on the agricultural sector.
Unity Bank commenced operations in January 2006 following the merger of nine financial institutions with competences in investment, corporate and retail banking.
Microsoft Strengthens Partnership With AFDB, to Develop Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Africa
American multinational technology corporation Microsoft has strengthened its partnership with the African Development Bank (AFDB) to provide support to Africa’s youth entrepreneurs under the bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) Initiative.
Through its African Transformation Office (ATO), Microsoft will partner with AFDB to develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa through the creation of jobs and dramatically scaling impact in Africa through digital inclusion.
The partnership will see to the establishment and growth of national-level institutions, leveraging public-private collaboration model to ensure entrepreneurs get the required technical and financial support while building their capacity.
Microsoft reinforced its partnership with AFDB to develop Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem because it believes youth empowerment in the region will bolster solutions to unemployment if there is affordable access to finance, and quality business development services.
Commenting on its reinforced partnership with AFDB, General Manager of Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster, Wael Elkabbany said: “We believe much can be done to help foster youth entrepreneurship by collaborating with the African Development Bank, driving greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, and ultimately building a more prosperous society.”
”Already we’ve seen considerable success partnering together on initiatives such as Coding for Employment, which set out to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa in just 10 years.”
Also, the African Development Bank (AFDB) Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization Solomon Quaynor said “The strengthening of our partnership with Microsoft on the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) is an important development in our journey towards harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend and facilitating the creation of millions of jobs for young Africans by 2025.
“The initiative places much-needed focus on youth entrepreneurship, which is key to achieving our ambitious employment targets.”
This partnership seeks to support the establishment of national-level institutions through a public-private collaboration model to scale up technical and financial support for youth entrepreneurs to build their capacity.
Shell to Acquire Nigerian Solar Energy Provider, Daystar Power
Subject to regulatory approval, Shell Petroleum Development Company is set to acquire Daystar Power.
Subject to regulatory approval, Shell Petroleum Development Company is set to acquire Daystar Power.
Daystar Power, which is one of the leading providers of hybrid solar power solutions to commercial and industrial (C&I) hubs in West Africa, announced the potential acquisition in a press release.
According to the energy provider, the acquisition will help Daystar Power to continue its growth in West Africa while expanding its presence to other African countries in East and Southern Africa.
The Lagos-based company has a target to increase its installed solar capacity to 400MW by 2025.
Daystar Power currently has an installed solar capacity of 32 Megawatts (MW).
This could make Daystar Power to become one of Africa’s leading providers of solar power solutions for commercial and industrial businesses.
The Chief Executive Officer of Daystar, Jasper Graf von Hardenberg disclosed that Daystar Power needed more capital to expand operations to meet the rising demand for solar energy and the choice of Shell as the new parent company comes at the right time.
Jasper further stated that Shell’s strong balance sheet and long history in Africa will help to take Daystar to a new height.
On the other hand, Shell’s Executive Vice-President, Renewable Generation, Thomas Brostrøm noted that the deal will be Shell’s first power acquisition in Africa.
He noted further that the deal is a fundamental step for Shell in growing its presence in the emerging power market.
“We have had a long and established presence in West Africa and with Daystar Power, we are taking our first steps into the renewable power space,” he said.
“Daystar Power has a loyal customer base and a promising growth outlook, and by combining our efforts and expertise, I believe we can make a real difference in the energy transition, for West Africa and beyond.” Shell’s Executive Vice-President concluded.
Investors King learnt that Daystar Power currently has a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Togo. The company also received $20 million in funding last year to boost its operations.
ASUS Committed to Deepen Market Shares in Nigeria
ASUS has disclosed plans to increase its market shares in Nigeria which is currently at 16 percent
Multinational computer hardware and consumer electronics company ASUS has disclosed plans to increase its market shares in Nigeria which is currently at 16 percent.
The electronics company had earlier disclosed that it will continue to create innovative technologies for everyone to enjoy in Nigeria as it targets a 40 percent activation rate.
The country manager for ASUS English-speaking Africa Simplice Zaongo disclosed that ASUS is driven by innovation and commitment to quality products that include notebooks, netbooks, motherboards, graphics cards, etc as it intends to deepen the market.
He said, “I must admit, when we compare ourselves with top competitors in the market, we still manage to achieve the number three position in the consumer industry in Nigeria, according to the IDC 2022.
“Besides being the No.1 consumer notebook brand in Asia-Pacific and East Europe, ASUS gaming notebooks account for the highest market share, No.1 worldwide.
“Our market share is 16 percent, while our activation share is 17 percent.” This means that when we push into the market, there is acceptability. That’s how we interpret it.
“But when we go back over the years, we noticed that market share was below 10 percent activation. We tried to analyze what the problem was.”
While responding to how ASUS intends to go beyond its 16 percent market share to its target of 40 percent, Simplice stated three strategies the company intends to use which are; brand awareness, affordability, and public enlightenment.
According to him, the primary goal for the next quarter is to reach a 40 percent activation rate.
“To achieve our goals, we have decided to strategically deploy three options. So, the first step is to create awareness. The second one is to educate customers. And the third one is to make our laptop affordable. We think it works for us”, he added.
It should be recalled that in February 2019, Investors King reported that ASUS plans to expand its operations in East Africa.
Last week, the electronics company introduced the ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED (UX3402) and Zenbook 17-Fold (UX9702) to the Media.
The company has three distributors in Nigeria, namely Coscharis Technologies, Mitsumi Distribution, and TD Africa, as well as five service centers in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.
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