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Forte’s Profit Drops by 34%, MTN Embraces Eurobond

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  • Forte’s Profit Drops by 34%, MTN Embraces Eurobond

The profit of Forte Oil Plc for the period ended September 30, 2016 (at the group level) dropped by 34 per cent year-on-year.

The firm’s profit as of September 30, 2015 was N4.284bn while for the current year, the profit stood at N2.796bn, according to the results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday.

At the company level, the profit rose marginally from NN3.62bn to N3.637bn.

MTN Group Limited, on the other hand, returned to the Eurobond market for the first time since 2014 as the Africa’s biggest wireless carrier by sales seeks funds for investment.

The mobile-phone company is offering a five-year note at a yield ranging from 5.375 per cent to 5.5 per cent, according to a person familiar with the matter.

MTN is also marketing a 10-year bond at about 6.5 per cent, the person said, more than 80 basis points over the yield of its outstanding bond due in 2024, Bloomberg reported.

“The initial guidance is quite generous, well over the existing bond, but there’s a lot of economic and regulatory uncertainty in both South Africa and Nigeria,” Richard Segal, a senior analyst at Manulife Asset Management in London, said by phone.

MTN’s bond sale comes after South Africa raised $3bn in its biggest Eurobond offering, taking advantage of demand for emerging-market debt. The company is seeking funds for capital expenditure after the company reported its first-ever half-year loss, partly caused by an agreement to settle a N330bn ($1bn) fine with Nigerian regulators.

The subscriber base of 233 million didn’t grow during the six months through June, while MTN is struggling to repatriate 15.4 billion rand ($1.1bn) tied up in its Iran unit.

MTN total debt was 22.48 billion rand at the end of 2015, with a debt-to-equity ratio of 14.8 per cent.

“The company has quite comfortable debt coverage ratios,” Alexandre Dray, a credit analyst at Gimme Credit in Tel Aviv, said in e-mailed comments, adding that, “MTN is thus ready to increase its cost of debt.” He estimated that the carrier could raise as much as $1bn.

 

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.

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Merger and Acquisition

MainOne to be Acquired by America’s Equinix in a $320m Deal

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MainOne - Investors King

Nigerian and West African data centre and cable service provider, MainOne is close to being acquired by an American internet company in a deal that is touted to have a value of $320 million.

In a release by Equinix, the $320 million deal is expected to be sealed and signed in the first quarter of 2022, pending the satisfaction of conventional closing conditions, including the required regulatory approvals.

A Public Relations personnel from MainOne confirmed the deal, but stated that he had access to limited information. He was however convinced that the deal would be a total buyout.

MainOne was founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, a Nigerian. The company has over 1,000 kilometres of reliable terrestrial fibre networks across the southern region of the country, while also owning and operating a subsea network from Nigeria to Portugal (in Europe).

The company also has digital infrastructure assets including three data centres (which are operational) across the western area of Africa. It also has another facility under construction, which is set for a launch in Q1 2022. These facilities have helped the company enable connectivity for Nigeria’s business community.

Equinix, on this background believes that MainOne is one of the most thrilling tech businesses to come out of Africa. Charles Meyers, the CEO and President of Equinix which has its headquarters in California, stated that the acquisition of MainOne would be the first step in the company’s strategy to become a leading African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company in the long term.

Meyers said that MainOne’s leading position in interconnection and its experienced management team are critical assets in Equinix’s bid to become the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure across Africa.

Meyers noted that the growth in data consumption in Africa is one of the fastest in the whole world, and MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships and operating capability will extend Equinix’s reach and boost opportunities for customers based in Africa and other parts of the world.

It was agreed in the deal that all members of the MainOne management team, including the CEO will continue in their respective roles. Equinix will also take on MainOne’s about 500 employees, but it is unclear what will happen to them under the new dispensation.

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Company News

Former Dangote Group Truck Driver Sues Company over Injuries Sustained in Accident

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Dangote Cement - Investors King

A truck driver who worked with Dangote Cement, Anas Ibrahim has filed a lawsuit against the company for abandoning him and sacking him after he had sustained serious injuries in an accident that occurred while he was on duty.

Ibrahim was involved in an accident on July 1, 2020 while travelling along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway when a vehicle ran into the Dangote truck he was driving after he offloaded bags of cement at the company’s depot.

Initially, he was taken to the Sango Otta General Hospital in Ogun state after he lost consciousness. After that, he was transferred to the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta before he was finally taken to the Mohammed Sunusi Specialist Hospital, Kano where he currently is.

The accident victim stated that he had suffered three broken ribs and had a complex fracture in his limbs, according to FIJ.

Ibrahim, through his lawyer dragged Dangote Cement to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria based in Kano. The complainant told the court that the company had neglected him and also refused to pay his medical bills after they terminated his employment.

Ibrahim sought an order of the court, which would require Dangote to pay him N50 million as compensation, N10 million exemplary damages and N1 million in legal fees.

The Dangote Group Spokesperson, Anthony Chiejina said to the FIJ that he was unable to comment on Ibrahim’s situation because he was still in mourning of Sani Dangote, brother to Aliko Dangote and the Vice President of the company.

Chiejina then said it was unfair for the newspapers to report the sacking and neglect of the truck driver who sustained serious injuries in the line of duty at a time when the company was in mourning. He went ahead to claim that truck drivers working for the company cannot be trusted all the time, although he failed to react to the situation.

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Google, Meta Dominate as Advertising Industry Set to Exceed Growth Expectations

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Lagos Nigeria - Investors King

The advertising industry is expected to exceed growth expectations for 2021 as more brands turn to the search engine and social media platforms to get across to their customers during this pandemic, according to two advertising industry forecasts released on Monday.

In spite of the fact that the year was marked by supply chain disturbances across the globe which delayed products from reaching shelves and a user privacy crackdown by Apple Inc that caused many to fear that mobile advertising would be disrupted, brands have gone on to advertise online.

According to Jonathan Barnard, the Director of Global Intelligence at advertising firm Zenith, in-store shopping has still been slow because of the pandemic. Zenith was one of those who published an ad expenditure forecast on Monday.

The new businesses that were formed in the thick of the pandemic needed to advertise so that they would find customers, while other companies most likely maintained the ad spending in order to stay rooted in the minds of consumers, as said by Brian Wieser, the Global President of Business Intelligence at advertising agency GroupM.

The GroupM forecast predicts that global advertising spending will grow about 22.5% in 2021 compared to the previous year, while Zenith estimated a growth of 15.6%. Both estimates were updated from the previous expectations that were held.

The reports state that by 2022, advertising spending around the world is expected to increase by about 9%.

The growth has been beneficial for Alphabet Inc (Google), Meta and Amazon.com Inc, who are major sellers of digital ads and can now account for more than half of all the advertising spending occurring outside the walls of China. This represents an increase from about 40% back in 2019, according to GroupM.

The need for marketers to reach their customers directly has resulted in the success of retailers such as Walmart, Kroger and Target to quickly grow their ad sales businesses, allowing brands to target more customers using their shopper data.

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