- Ambode Advises LFZDC on New Investors
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. AkinwunmiAmbode, has urged the Lekki Free Zone Development Company to continue to seek more foreign and local investors to take advantage of the huge trade and investment potential of the free trade zone.
Ambode, who said this at the Nigeria-China Forum on Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation held at the free zone on Thursday, lauded the bilateral relations of the two countries, which he noted had brought about job creation and wealth generation.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr. Benjamin Olabinjo, the governor said Lagos aimed to be the first choice for local and foreign investors considering the investment potential of the state.
He said, “The Lekki Free Zone is the primary location for business development in Lagos State and I am happy to note that enquiries and intention to invest in the zone by foreign investors have been concretised over time.
“The presence of Chinese investors in the free trade zone as well as involvement in the provision of public infrastructure in conformity with global standards is a strong indication of the bilateral business and cultural relations between Lagos State and China.”
He commended the efforts of the management of the LFZDC and for organising the Nigeria-China Forum on production capacity and investment cooperation, adding that it was a platform that would continually nurture and sustain relations for mutual benefit of both countries and their citizens especially through job creation and wealth generation opportunities.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of LFZDC, Mr. Ding Yonghua, said the free zone management was implementing policies that would encourage utilisation of local materials by companies operating in the zone.
He urged government to help with the development of Lekki port and surrounding road network, provide pipe gas and implement offshore banking services policies for the zone.
“In February 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed that it was implementing policies to ease banking services for companies operating in free zones, but there doesn’t seem to be any plans on the ground for implementing offshore banking services,” he said.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, who was represented by the Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council, Mr. Aminu Jalal, said the ministry would continue to consult stakeholders in finding solutions and seeking more investment for the free zone.
Also speaking, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pingjian, said China’s presence in Africa was based on the principles of sincerity and mutual friendship, with the country committing $6bn into farming in Africa.
He said, “From the engineering services, this opened a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation and since her independence, China has regarded Nigeria as an important strategic partner in Africa. Nigeria has the potential to become a major player in the global economy but this potential has remained untapped for many years.
“By 2020, Nigeria will have a more diversified economy and as the world’s largest manufacturing economy, China is willing to transfer technology to Nigeria.”
FBNQuest Mutual Funds returns 104%
FBNQuest Asset Management, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings, has held yearly general meetings for five mutual funds managed by the firm.
The funds are the FBN Balanced Fund, FBN Smart Beta Equity Fund, FBN Eurobond Fund, FBN Bond Fund and the FBN Money Market Fund.
The Fund Manager continues to deliver commendable results, as demonstrated by strong performance across all its funds.
The FBN Bond Fund was the best performing of the mutual funds, returning 104.20 per cent over five-year while its US Dollar fund, the FBN Eurobond, returned 48.43 per cent in US dollars over the same period.
The Managing Director of FBNQuest Asset Management, Ike Onyia, said: “Our strong performance track record is premised on the research capabilities, insights and experience of our portfolio management and research teams. Our mutual funds serve as useful investment options useful in formulating unique and value-adding investment strategies for various client segments. This is because our range of mutual funds cut across various asset classes including equities, bonds and money markets.”
“Our funds remain easily accessible, as our goal is to continue to drive financial inclusion and democratise wealth creation, by supporting the financiainclusion and democratise wealth creation, by supporting the financial security aspiration of investors” he added.
Increasingly, financial markets are becoming complex to navigate and as a result, it will not be out of place for investors to actively seek the inclusion of mutual funds in their investment portfolio, which will serve as the structured gateway to such markets. Seeking the help of experienced financial planners to assist you in establishing your risk tolerance levels and advise on suitable options is highly recommended.
SEC Warns Against Proliferation of Unregistered Investment Platforms
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the investing public to be wary of the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.
SEC’s warning was conveyed via a circular issued in Abuja, Thursday to capital market operators.
It advised the investing public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products.
The circular read: “The attention of the SEC has been drawn to the existence of several providers of online investment and trading platforms which purportedly facilitate direct access of the investing public in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to securities of foreign companies listed on securities exchanges registered in other jurisdictions.
“These platforms also claim to be operating in partnership with capital market operators (CMOs) registered with the Commission.”
The Commission categorically stated that by the provisions of Sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations, only foreign securities listed on any exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription to the Nigerian public.
Accordingly, the SEC notified CMOs who work in concert with the referenced online platforms of the Commission’s position and advised them to desist henceforth.
Public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products advertised through conventional or online mediums.
SoftBank Reaps $33 Billion Coupang Windfall
SoftBank Group Corp on Thursday racked up a roughly $33 billion gain on paper through the public market debut of South Korea’s largest e-commerce company, Coupang Inc, the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround for its $100 billion Vision Fund.
Shares of Coupang opened 81% above their offer price on Thursday, after the company raised $4.6 billion in the U.S. stock market’s biggest initial public offering this year.
SoftBank paid around $3 billion for a 37% stake in the company, according to sources familiar with earlier fund-raising, giving it a roughly $33 billion headline profit if prices hold.
Coupang’s hugely successful stock market launch is welcome news for SoftBank, which is grappling with the collapse of billions of dollars worth of funds linked to Britain’s Greensill Capital, a supply chain finance start-up.
Vision Fund is Greensill’s biggest backer.
The Japanese conglomerate last month reported third-quarter net profit ballooned more than 20 times thanks to a recovery at the Vision Fund, a huge venture capital operation famous for investing early in Uber and other tech industry startup successes.
Only a year ago, SoftBank had been smarting from the flopped IPO and collapse in value of office sharing firm WeWork, raising questions over whether Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son had lost his midas touch and threatening plans to establish a successor to Vision.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced Son to sell assets but a second deal reported by Reuters on Thursday bodes well for VF II, a second, smaller fund.
The $225 million late-stage funding round for healthcare startup Forward Health was its first major investment this year, following a pickup in activity and the group’s fortunes in the second half of 2020.
The Vision Fund also made $11 billion on a blockbuster market launch of DoorDash Inc in December, which valued the food delivery company at more than $70 billion.
It also made gains on home seller Opendoor Technologies Inc’s initial offering in December.
The fund still holds large stakes in China’s biggest ride-hailing firm Didi, as well as Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab.
SoftBank is also trying to ride the mania for special purpose acquisition companies, launching a handful of blank-check firms this year, although none of them have found investment targets yet.
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