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Naira Records Little Gain, Closes at 512/dollar

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Dollar Scarcity
  • Naira Records Little Gain, Closes at 512/dollar

The naira recorded slight gain on Tuesday and closed at 512 against the United States dollar on the parallel market, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a new foreign exchange policy action.

The CBN had on Monday announced its decision to begin sale of $1m weekly to each of the country’s 21 commercial banks at a rate of 375 naira to clear a backlog of demand for retail users and try to narrow the premium between the official and black market rates.

The decision was announced hours after the naira tumbled to 520/dollar on the parallel market as scarcity of the greenback continued to weigh on the exchange rate.

The naira had closed at 516/dollar on Friday, after hitting 510/dollar and 507/dollar last Thursday and Tuesday, respectively.

Experts said demand for dollar for school fees payment overseas as well as Personal Travel Allowance by intending travellers was taking a toll on the exchange rate at the parallel market.

Meanwhile, currency traders have continued to digest the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new decision to sell dollars to retail users through commercial banks, Reuters reported.

Forex traders told Reuters that some banks had compiled a list of bids from customers awaiting dollars.

The CBN has been selling dollars at N305 to clear a backlog of demand from manufacturing, agriculture and airline companies, hoping also to help drag the country out of its worst recession in 25 years.

Experts are divided over the outlook for the naira this year. Some experts have said the naira may hit between 520/dollar and 1000/dollar at the parallel market this year unless the CBN reviews its forex policy.

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.

Finance

Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 6.1 Billion in Q1 2021

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Refinitiv today released the investment banking analysis for the Sub-Saharan African for the first quarter of 2021. According to the report, an estimated US$99.3 million worth of investment banking fees were generated in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first quarter of 2021, down 39% from the same period in 2020 and the lowest first quarter total since 2014. 

While debt capital markets underwriting fees doubled to US$47.1 million, the highest first quarter total since our records began in 1980, fees from equity capital markets underwriting, M&A advisory and syndicated lending all declined from the first quarter of 2020.  Equity fees declined 42% to US$21.8 million, while syndicated lending fees declined 74% to US$15.0 million. 

Advisory fees earned in the region from completed M&A transactions reached US$15.5 million, down 65% from last year to the lowest first quarter total since 2005. Seventy-two percent of all Sub-Saharan African fees were generated in South Africa during the first quarter of 2021, and 39% were earned from deals in the financial sector. B Riley Financial Inc. earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first quarter of 2021, a total of US$19.8 million or a 20% share of the total fee pool.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

The value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$6.1 billion during the first three months of 2021, almost level with the value recorded during the same period in 2020, and a five-year low.  The number of deals declined 14% over the same period to the lowest first quarter tally since 2014.

M&A involving a Sub-Saharan African target increased 73% year-on-year to US$4.3 billion during the first quarter of 2021.  Domestic deals increased 67% from last year to US$2.5 billion, while inbound deals, involving an acquiror outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, increased 83% to US$1.8 billion.  Meanwhile, Sub-Saharan African outbound M&A totalled US$721.4 million during the first quarter of 2021, down 66% year-on-year to the lowest first quarter level in six years.

The Zambian Government, through its mining investment arm ZCCM Investment Holdings, acquired the Mopani Copper Mines for US$1.5 billion in January.  The acquisition is the largest deal in the region to be announced so far during 2021.

With advisory work on deals worth a combined U$668.5 million, BofA Securities held the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during Q1 2021.

EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance reached just US$18.4 million during the first quarter of 2021, the lowest first quarter total since 1999.  Only Nigeria payments processing firm eTranzact raised new equity funds from its follow-on offering.  There were no initial public offerings. PAC Capital, Meristem Securities and Standard Bank Group share first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during the first quarter of 2021.

DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$12.1 billion during the first quarter of 2021, up 36% from the value recorded during the same period in 2020 and the highest first quarter total since 2018.  The number of issues declined 6% over the same period.  With Ghana’s government’s Eurobond raising US$2.9 billion and The African Development Bank’s $2.5 billion 5-year Benchmark bond, March 2021 saw more proceeds raised from bond issuance in Sub-Saharan Africa than any other month since May 2018, a total of US$7.4 billion.  Government & Agency issuance accounted for 64% of proceeds raised during the first quarter of 2021. Standard Chartered took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond book runner ranking during the first quarter of 2021, with US$1.4 billion of related proceeds, or an 11.5% market share.

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Banking Sector

Wema Bank‘s Financial Fundamentals Remain Strong, Says CEO

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The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise, has reassured customers and shareholders that the bank has strong financial fundamentals and reliable performance metrics, riding on the back of seasoned and astute leadership.

Adebise stated this against the insinuations of weak liquidity. Wema Bank Plc posted gross earnings of about N81 billion and profit after tax of N5.1 billion for year ended December 31, 2020. The CEO explained that the strength and viability of financial institutions were not measured on the isolated performance of one outlier year, stating that, “Wema Bank has continually exhibited not just resilience, but admirable viability over the years with a 30.95 per cent increase in earnings recorded in just 2019.

“Then came 2020, and in spite of the difficulties, we succeeded in achieving impressive results in key areas such as net earnings from fees and commissions, while growing the bank’s asset base significantly.

That’s not all, customer credibility in the bank was also accentuated with a massive increase in customer deposits over the previous year. This is an audacious show of confidence from our customers at Wema Bank. These performance metrics amongst others, are testament to our smart balance sheet optimisation approach which will be affirmed by the time the audited and official 2020 Financial Report is released in the coming weeks,” he said.

According to him, the bank’s performance in the 2020 made it one of the best performing financial institutions in the land given the challenging operating environment.

“We won the BusinessDay award for the Best SME Bank of the Year for 2020. A recognition of our unrivalled support for small and medium scale businesses through loans, business advisory, and ease of payments and transactions. Also, the recently published 2020 KPMG Customer Experience Survey, showed Wema Bank making significant growth in the retail category, climbing up ten (10) places from the previous year to 2nd position, with an above industry average of 74.6 per cent Customer Experience score. This achievement is a mark of dedication to excellent customer service and refreshing support for all our customer categories.

The KPMG Customer Experience Survey grades banks over six universal pillars of Personalization, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time & Effort and Empathy, and Wema Bank has showed a mastery of these pillars and have been outstanding at all of them,” he said.

Adebise added that in line with the bank’s sustainability goal of developing digital solutions for societal impact, it successfully organised the second edition of Hackaholics, a radical gathering of developers, web designers and creative thinkers to develop solutions around key themes of education, health, agriculture, fintech, gaming & betting.

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Finance

CBN Freezes Another 194 Accounts of firms, BDCs, Others

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Godwin Emefile

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday said it got orders from the Federal High Court, Abuja division, to freeze 194 bank accounts belonging to firms and Bureaux de Change to enable it to conduct investigations into suspicious activities.

It disclosed this on Thursday in three separate documents on its website.

In one of the documents, the CBN said it got an order to freeze 60 bank accounts of Bluebeam Capital Limited.

The accounts were domiciled in 13 different banks, the CBN as the plaintiff stated.

Bluebeam, as the respondent had eight accounts each in Access Bank and Keystone Bank; seven each in First Bank and Ecobank; five each in UBA and GTBank; four each in Fidelity Bank, FCMB and Sterling Bank; three accounts in Polaris Bank; two each in Wema Bank and Heritage Bank; and one in Providus Bank.

In another document, the CBN said it got an order to freeze 84 accounts in 17 banks.

The third document revealed that the banking regulator had the court order to freeze 50 accounts domiciled in different banks.

The motions exparte which were signed on different dates sought the orders of the court to direct the banks to freeze all other bank accounts of the defendants for a period of 180 days, pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry being conducted by the CBN.

In the document signed by the Presiding Judge, A.R. Mohammed, the court empowered the CBN to direct the banks to freeze all the bank accounts for a period of 45 days only, pending the outcome of the investigation.

It added that the order may be extended upon good reasons shown.

Any person aggrieved by this order could apply to the court to have the order set aside, discharged or have the order reviewed upon good reasons without waiting for the 45 days to lapse, the document stated.

The CBN on Wednesday disclosed it got an order to freeze 11 bank accounts to enable it conduct investigations into suspicious activities.

It had listed the names of the defendants/respondents as Albert Austin Ugochukwu with two bank accounts; Belfour Energy & Allied Services; Belfour Oil and Gas Limited with three bank accounts; Circle Flow Integrated Services; Kacynaus Reality Nigeria Limited with three bank accounts; and Tasmara Integrated Services.

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