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Nigeria’s Stable Democracy Attractive to Investment – Phillips Morris MD

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Nigeria investment
  • Nigeria’s Stable Democracy Attractive to Investment

The Managing Director, Phillips Morris Limited, Nigeria, Mr. Coskun Dicle, has said that the stable democracy in Nigeria is attracting global investors to the country.

Dicle said this while unveiling plans of the firm for local manufacturing in Nigeria, noting that Africa was at the forefront of investment focus for many international companies across a wide range of industries.

He said, “Within Africa, Nigeria’s human and natural resources, combined with the fact that there has been political stability and democratic governance since 1999, make the country an attractive investment destination.

On why the firm was embarking on local production in the Nigeria despite the current economic challenges, he said that the firm had plans from the beginning to manufacture its brands locally, adding that finding the right partner had made everything simple.

“Having found the right partner in International Tobacco Company Limited, we are proud that this is happening in less than two years of our presence in Nigeria. This will no doubt contribute to the local economy and establish a long-lasting presence for our company.

“There is also the advantage of significant job creation, which the PMI globally is passionate about. We are already providing direct and indirect employment for thousands of Nigerians, through our distributors, agencies and the support we are giving to the trade.

“Presently, one of the major attractions of the Nigerian economy to global investors, to my mind, is the stability that has been bestowed on it by the sustenance of democratic governance. International businesses and investors want to flow with stable policies. For a country that endured long spell of military intervention in governance from independence in 1960, with civil rule lasting about six years, to find herself under unbroken civil leadership since 1999 is remarkable.”

He added, “Civil rule promises stability, and as long as that is guaranteed, global investors will be attracted. And so long as leading investors from across the world are attracted to any economy, it will continue to witness growth.

“For us, this time is the best time to invest in Nigeria economy. I believe that Nigeria economy is growing. It will not grow over night but gradually. Despite all the concerns about the state of our economy, I will say that the country offers tremendous opportunities for investors. What is missing is the capacity to harness these opportunities for our common good. I am confident that this will happen before long.”

The PML boss stressed that doing business in Nigeria at this time might not be as difficult as it was being portrayed outside the country.

He noted that the media had created an erroneous perception of the Nigerian business terrain as a difficult operating environment.

“With the government’s intervention in addressing the power supply challenges, infrastructure deficiency as well as the recent economic reforms focused on the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the business environment can only get better. From the PML’s perspective, the operational and economic outlook is extremely positive and we are here to stay,” he stated.

According to him, both the opportunities and challenges in Nigeria were great, adding, “ However, we have invested considerable time and resources to better understand the market and how to work in it.

“As a result, we are confident that with fair competition and a level-playing field, we will be able to operate with integrity in Nigeria and provide meaningful contribution to the community while delivering long-term sustainable growth.”

Dicle said the firm aimed to grow its investment in Nigeria, adding that it expected its efforts in tobacco harm reduction to transform the industry.

He added, “Next, we have already created approximately 500 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the country and are still creating new ones with the hope to grow our footprints by as much as four times in the near future.

“To aid this, and in pursuit of our long-term investment plans in Nigeria, full-scale local manufacturing of our brands will begin before the end of the year through strategic partnerships.

“Overall, we are committed to contributing to the local communities, while operating with integrity, and look forward to becoming a major player and establishing a long-time presence in the Nigerian economy.”

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.

Investment

SEC Warns Against Proliferation of Unregistered Investment Platforms

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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.

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SoftBank Reaps $33 Billion Coupang Windfall

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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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Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) To €2 billion in Nigeria

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The French Development Agency (AFD) is a development finance institution 100 percent held by the French government.

In Nigeria, it is mainly into financing infrastructure projects (water, energy, transport and agriculture).

It also involves financing related to the banking sector, governance and the cultural and creative industries.

Speaking to the media, the AFD Country Director Nigeria, Pascal Grangereau, said €2 billion was set aside to be sent on mainly road financing, water sector, improvement in electricity and agriculture.

He said €300 million was being spent on the Abuja Electricity Backup, a project in collaboration with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to improve electricity at the nation’s capital.

Grangereau said a total of €200 million is equally expended on the North West Electricity Backup.

On agriculture, he said vocational training is currently held across the nation to improve the skills of Nigerians.

He added: “We intend to finance agricultural projects in five states, Benue, Imo and three other states to the tune of €50 million.”

He lamented that while it was endowed with reserves of crude oil and natural gas, Nigeria is characterised by power generation considered by the Nigerians themselves as not adequate.

He said concentrating more than half of the installed electricity capacity in West Africa, only half of which was harnessed by the country, implying a very low per capita consumption, limited access to electricity and frequent load shedding.

He added: “The sector is of strategic importance for successive governments, with the launching in the 2000s of a vast reform, supported by a massive investment plan; which reform although supported by the donors is yet to achieve the expected results. The project aims to strengthen the electricity transmission network, natural monopoly under the responsibility of the public company TCN, thus laying the foundations for a long-term partnership with TCN.”

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