- Gap Between Tier 1, Tier 2 Banks Widens
The divide between the haves and the have-nots among Nigerian banks is widening, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The country’s biggest lender is so flush with cash it plans to repay $400 million of bonds when they become due in November 2018 rather than issuing additional debt, while the next two largest banks sold international bonds for the first time since 2014. At the other end of the scale, smaller lenders are scrapping plans to raise dollar loans and struggling to find investors to raise capital.
Top-tier banks in Africa’s most-populous nation and biggest oil producer are rallying after the central bank in April opened a foreign-exchange trading window, easing a crippling currency shortage that contributed to the worst economic contraction in 25 years. Smaller banks are lagging behind as they battle rising levels of non-performing loans and capital buffers near regulatory minimums.
“The gap between the Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks has been widening in profitability and balance-sheet size,” an analyst at Afrinvest West Africa Limited, OmotolaAbimbola said
“In the next one or two years we will probably see the trend extending further.”
United Bank for Africa Plc, the third-biggest lender by market value, raised $500 million in its first Eurobond sale on June 1 at yields below initial guidance. This followed an equivalent issue a week earlier by Zenith Bank Plc in a deal that was four times oversubscribed. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc said this month it has no plans to sell Eurobonds because it’s setting aside funds to repay existing debt.
By contrast, small- and mid-sized lenders like WemaBank Plc dropped plans last month to raise dollar loans to rather sell naira debt locally in smaller tranches. Unity Bank Plc has been in talks with investors since October, while Diamond Bank Plc has started negotiations to issue debt, the report added.
“We view the Tier 2 banks as potentially challenged,” Exotix Partners LLP analysts Jumai Mohammed and Ronak Gadhia said in a note last month. The lenders seem unable “to weather asset-quality deterioration storms.”
Still, the five-year dollar bonds didn’t come cheap. Lagos-based United Bank for Africa settled on a coupon, or interest paid twice annually, of 7.75 percent. That’s the highest of at least 10 sales of $500 million by emerging-market banks this year from Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain, South Korea and China. Zenith will pay 7.375 percent, compared with 6.25 percent on five-year notes sold in April 2014.
Even so, more lenders will issue Eurobonds because they need dollars to offer loans in the U.S. currency or to repay debt, an analyst at Vetiva Capital Management Limited, Lekan Olabode said.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, based in Lome, Togo, plans to sell a $400 million, five-year convertible bond this month to refinance debt and provide short-term bridge funding for non-performing loans at its Nigerian unit.
Fidelity Bank Plc will decide in the third quarter whether to refinance $300 million of bonds due in May next year or issue new debt after seeing yields on the securities drop and strong demand from investors for Zenith and UBA’s notes, its Chief Operations Officer Gbolahan Joshua said.
“Big banks have a pricing advantage,” said Vetiva’sOlabode. “That makes a big difference in size and capacity to do business.”
MILO Cereal Launches New Online Campaign, ‘Beast Mode – Activated’
MILO Cereal has launched its first major marketing campaign for its newly launched Protein cereal, via independent creative communications agency Connecting Plots.
Building on MILO’s brand message of fuelling active kids, the new campaign platform, ‘Beast Mode – Activated’, evolves the master brand’s focus on team sports.
This aims to celebrate how MILO Protein helps active kids unleash their own full potential, take their training to the next level and successfully compete with their peers.
The campaign launched on 16 April and will run across various social channels and online videos.
Connecting Plots creative partner Dave Jansen said the approach to the MILO Protein cereal campaign was about tapping into the teen mindset and being less overt and more authentic.
“Creating advertising that doesn’t feel like a ‘sell’ is the challenge when targeting teens,” Jansen said in a statement.
“We’ve shied away from the polished tropes of traditional, achievement driven sports ads to bring this to life in a way that hopefully gives life to a teenager’s desire to do their best, feel like they are stepping into their future adult self and showing how MILO Protein Cereal can help on that journey.”
Cereal Partners Worldwide’s marketing manager, Keara Deignan, added: “Aussies grew up with MILO cereal, it’s a staple of every Australian pantry.
“However, we’ve seen that as teens start to carve out their own identities, their consumption habits change so this product aims to keep pace with their active on-the-go lifestyle.”
Global Digital Consumer Spent $900B In 2020 – Mastercard
According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900bn being spent in retail online around the world in 2020. Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.
For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.
Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution. The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.
“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”
Venmo Launches Cryptocurrency Trading
Venmo, owned by PayPal, is launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
This service set to be widely available within the new few weeks, Venmo’s 70 million+ customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly within the Venmo app. The launch is offering users access to in-app guides to help them to better navigate the cryptocurrency trading space and will encourage them to share their cryptocurrency experiences via the Venmo feed.
Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $1 worth of cryptocurrency and can use either funds from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
Over 30% of Venmo customers have already begun to purchase cryptocurrency or equities, according to the company’s research into 2020 customer behavior. Of these, 20% began their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the public health and concurrent economic crisis has accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.
Support for cryptocurrency on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of crypto products such as its stable coin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal is also the holder of a conditional Bitlicense from the exacting New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, are required to pair off with firms that have already been granted full-blown licenses — as, in this case, has Paxos.
Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman hinted at developments underway since the payments giant first went live with its crypto offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and to tap into smart contracts and other, more expansive features of blockchain technology. He also pitched the company’s vision of leveraging crypto for the attainment of a more “inclusive economy,” in which “things will be done much differently than today.”
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