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FirstRand Group Eyes Undervalued Assets in Nigeria

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FirstRand
  • FirstRand Group Eyes Undervalued Assets in Nigeria

FirstRand Limited, a South African bank and the leading lender by market value on the continent, plans to buy assets in Nigerian, as it seeks to capitalise on the global fall in commodity prices that has pushed down asset valuation in Africa’s biggest economy.

The plan comes five years after the lender decided against buying majority shares in Sterling Bank Plc because of high prices in shares.

Naira, the national currency fell to a record low of N309 against the dollar, in July further lowering asset valuation in the nation.

“Asset prices in jurisdictions such as Nigeria have become much more realistic. We feel more comfortable to look for opportunities to deploy shareholder capital for acquisitions to assist us in scaling our operations,” Reuters quoted the bank’s chairman, Laurie Dippenaar to have said in the annual report published on its website on Tuesday.

FirstRand Limited’s decision is likely to help the nation’s struggling economy.
Aliko Dangote, who is the richest man in Africa, recently advised the government to sell some of its assets to boost the economy.

FirstRand Limited has operations in nine African countries. The bank sought to expand in developed countries after the slump in commodity prices in several African countries like Zambia and Nigeria, where it has operations, Bloomberg reported.

The lender is also eyeing Kenya, the biggest economy in East Africa. FirstRand Limited revealed initial plans to buy a bank in the country four years ago.

“The banking sector in the East African nation is considered ripe for investors by market analysts. The quality of assets is likely to improve in the wake of new regulations such as the capping of interest rates,” Cytonn, an investment firm stated. “The sector is now attractive to both investors and clients,” the firm added.

FirstRand Limited’s decision to seek expansion in Nigeria and Kenya has been attributed mainly to the volatile environment in South Africa, where investor confidence is slow, since former Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, was fired in December last year.

Pravin Gordhan, the current minister is also locked in battles with the police and this has further dented investor confidence in Africa’s second biggest economy.

The South African lender set aside $294 million for expansion across Africa, three years ago.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Investment

Lagos State Government Set to Demolish $200 Million Landmark Beach Resort

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Landmark Beach

The Lagos State Government has issued a demolition warning to the proprietor of the $200 million Landmark Beach Resort, a renowned tourist destination in the region.

The resort nestled along the picturesque coastline faces imminent destruction to make way for the construction of a 700-kilometer coastal road linking Lagos with Calabar.

Paul Onwuanibe, the 58-year-old owner of the Landmark Beach Resort, revealed that he received a notice in late March instructing him to vacate the premises within seven days to facilitate the impending demolition.

The resort, which spans a vast expanse of land and hosts over 80 businesses, is a hub of economic activity, sustaining over 4,000 jobs directly. Also, it contributes more than N2 billion in taxes annually.

The news of the resort’s potential demolition has sparked concerns among investors and stakeholders in the tourism sector. Onwuanibe expressed dismay at the government’s decision, highlighting the substantial investments made in developing the resort’s infrastructure.

He explained that the planned demolition would not only lead to significant financial losses but also jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of employees and businesses associated with the resort.

The Landmark Beach Resort is a popular tourist destination, attracting approximately one million visitors annually, both local and international. Its unique amenities, including a mini-golf course, beach soccer field, and volleyball and basketball courts, make it a favorite among tourists seeking leisure and recreation.

The prospect of the resort’s demolition has triggered widespread panic among international and domestic investors associated with the Landmark Group. Many are now considering withdrawing their investments, citing concerns about the viability of the business without its flagship beach resort.

The Lagos State Government’s decision to proceed with the demolition is part of its broader plan to construct the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, a 700-kilometer roadway connecting Lagos to Calabar.

The government had earlier announced its intention to remove all “illegal” constructions along the planned route of the highway, including the Landmark Beach Resort.

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Investment

Investors Petition EFCC as Over N3 Billion Trapped in Agrorite Investment Scheme

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Agriculture - Investors King

Investors in one of Nigeria’s agritech crowdfunding platforms, Agrorite, have lodged a petition with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover more than N3 billion trapped in the company’s investment scheme.

Agrorite, which touted itself as a premier digital agricultural platform connecting smallholder farmers with finance and markets, is now at the center of a financial debacle.

The investment scheme operated by Agrorite attracted funding from eager investors who were promised returns on investments within a fixed timeframe.

However, the situation took a turn for the worse late last year when investors found themselves unable to access their funds as promised.

Despite repeated assurances from Agrorite’s founder and CEO, Toyosi Ayodele, the repayment deadlines were continually postponed until it became evident that the company had no intention of honoring its commitments.

The magnitude of the crisis became apparent as copies of the petition submitted to the EFCC revealed that investments totaling over N3 billion were trapped in Agrorite’s schemes.

Investors, including one individual who had invested N482 million in a Naira-denominated project and $100,000 in a dollar project, are now pinning their hopes on the EFCC to facilitate the recovery of their funds.

The dire consequences of the situation were tragically highlighted by the case of an elderly woman who had invested her entire pension benefit of N40 million in Agrorite.

Upon realizing that her savings might never be recovered, she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, underscoring the devastating impact on individual investors’ lives.

Efforts to reach Agrorite’s CEO for comments proved futile, with reports indicating that he had been arrested by the EFCC in connection with the investment debacle.

While some staff members confirmed the CEO’s arrest, they claimed ignorance regarding the reasons behind the company’s inability to fulfill its financial obligations to investors.

According to them, the EFCC’s investigation revealed a severe lack of funds in Agrorite’s accounts, leading to the arrest of key management personnel.

As the EFCC intensifies its efforts to recover investors’ funds, Agrorite’s website, agrorite.com, has mysteriously disappeared from the web, further fueling suspicions of financial mismanagement within the company.

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Treasury Bills Yields Reach 17.67% Amidst Central Bank’s Tightening Policy

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FG Borrows

The Treasury Bills yields rose to 17.67% amidst the Central Bank’s rigorous tightening of monetary policy.

This sharp surge in yields reflects the profound impact of the Central Bank’s efforts to rein in inflation and stabilize the foreign exchange market, though at the expense of investors and borrowers alike.

The surge in Treasury Bills yields from a modest 6.29% at the beginning of the year to 17.67% as of March 26, 2024 underscores the magnitude of the Central Bank’s tightening measures.

This unprecedented rise comes in tandem with a series of aggressive interest rate hikes with the monetary policy rate soaring by 600 basis points to 24.75% since the start of the year. Such a drastic increase in borrowing costs has sent shockwaves through the financial sector and prompted investors to reassess their portfolios and risk appetite.

Analysts attribute this surge in Treasury Bills yields to the Central Bank’s unwavering commitment to curbing inflation and stabilizing the foreign exchange market.

By raising interest rates and tightening monetary policy, the Central Bank aims to stem the tide of rising prices and restore confidence in the Nigerian economy.

However, these measures come with significant repercussions for investors and businesses, as borrowing costs escalate and investment returns diminish.

The Central Bank’s decision to issue a total of N1.64 trillion in Treasury Bills in the second quarter of 2024 further underscores its commitment to tightening liquidity and reducing inflationary pressures.

This substantial issuance of Treasury Bills is expected to absorb excess liquidity from the financial system, thereby exerting downward pressure on inflation and supporting the stability of the Nigerian currency.

While the Central Bank’s tightening policy may yield benefits in terms of price stability and exchange rate management, it poses challenges for investors and borrowers alike.

High borrowing costs and elevated Treasury Bills yields have the potential to dampen investment activity and constrain economic growth, particularly in sectors reliant on credit and financing.

As the Treasury Bills market grapples with soaring yields and heightened volatility, investors are advised to exercise caution and adopt a prudent approach to risk management.

In an environment characterized by uncertainty and policy tightening, navigating the financial markets requires a keen understanding of macroeconomic dynamics and a proactive strategy to mitigate potential risks.

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