- NSE Okays N59b Rights Issue for Unilever Nigeria
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has approved Unilever Nigeria PLC’s plan to raise N58.9 billion in new supplementary equity issue.
This will pave way for the fast-moving consumer goods company to round off the pre-offer process and open subscription to the new offer.
According to the document obtained at the weekend, Unilever Nigeria will be raising N58.9 billion in new equity funds by selling 1.962 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to its shareholders at a price of N30 per share.
The rights issue will be pre-allotted to shareholders in the register of the company as at the close of business on June 28, on the basis of 14 new ordinary shares for every 27 ordinary shares held.
Shareholders of Unilever Nigeria had at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos approved a proposal by the board of the company to raise up to N63 billion in new equity funds by selling new shares to its shareholders.
In preparation for the rights issue, shareholders also increased the authorised share capital of the company to N5 billion or 10 billion shares through the creation of additional 3.95 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each.
Unilever Plc, United Kingdom, the majority core investor in Unilever Nigeria, is expected to provide about N35.4 billion in the capital raiser. It holds 60.06 per cent majority equity stake in Unilever Nigeria through its Unilever Overseas Holdings BV. Stanbic Nominees Nigeria Limited holds the second largest equity stake of 10.43 per cent in Unilever Nigeria.
Unilever UK has shown sustained interest in increasing its majority shareholding in the Nigerian subsidiary. It mopped up additional shares through open market purchases at the NSE to increase its majority stake by 1.53 per cent from 58.53 per cent in 2015 to 60.06 per cent last year. It had also made open market purchases in 2015.
Unilever UK will be required to contribute at least N35.35 billion to the rights issue to retain its shareholding and the multinational may increase its stake by applying for additional shares from renounced rights.
Unilever UK had earlier indicated it intended to acquire up to 75 per cent controlling equity stake in the Nigerian subsidiary. It had in first half of 2015 sought to increase its majority equity stake in the Nigerian subsidiary from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, citing long-term strategic importance of Unilever Nigeria to its global business.
In a transaction initially valued at about N43 billion or £144.5 million, Unilever Overseas Holdings sought to increase its equity stake in the Nigerian company from 50.04 per cent up to a maximum of 75 per cent by buying additional shares from minority shareholders. The tender offer sought to acquire about 942.42 million ordinary shares in Unilever Nigeria at a price of N45.50 per share in cash.
Unilever Overseas Holdings B.V. had said it was making the additional share acquisition as part of long-term strategic plan by the conglomerate as it believes that Nigeria offers significant growth potential.
“The Unilever Group has had a major presence in Nigeria for many years and continues to believe that the country offers significant growth potential. This makes Nigeria a strategic long term investment priority for Unilever Overseas. Globally, the Unilever Group is focused on investing in the foods, household and personal care categories and the long heritage and great brands of Unilever Nigeria in these categories in Nigeria make it attractive for Unilever Overseas to increase its holding in Unilever Nigeria, whilst maintaining its stock exchange listing,” Unilever stated.
Eat’N’Go Expands To East Africa, Projects 180 Stores By Year End
In a bid to further extend its tentacles beyond the West African market, Eat’N’Go limited, one of the leading Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) operators in Nigeria and master franchisee for world-class food brands – Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, and Pinkberry Gourmet Frozen Yoghurt, announced its expansion into the East African market.
This development comes after the successful acquisition of the franchisee which operated Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza in Kenya. This acquisition will see Eat’N’Go limited become the largest Domino’s pizza and Cold Stone Creamery Master Franchisee in Africa with operations in Nigeria and Kenya.
Since its entrance to Nigeria in 2012, the QSR company has grown exponentially and has continuously nurtured the drive to extend its footprint across the African market. This acquisition provides them their first foreign market expansion, making them a Pan African company with a total number of 147 outlets across Africa and a projection to reach 180 stores by end of 2021.
Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Eat’N’Go Limited, Patrick McMichael said that expanding into East Africa represents a very exciting time in the growth of the organization and also a strategic investment for the firm and its stakeholders. “Over the years, we have fostered the mission to not just bring the best QSR brands to Africa, but to directly impact on Africa’s economy and we are glad we are finally on the way to making this happen. Studying the growth of the Kenyan market in the last couple of years, we are convinced that now is the time to extend our footprint into the country.”
“We are very thrilled about this expansion as this move avails us more opportunity to provide Jobs to more Africans, especially in times like this. We remain thankful to all our customers, partners, and stakeholders who have supported us this far and we are more than ready to strengthen our dedication in satisfying the needs of our customers” Patrick added.
Eat’N’Go has over the years maintained its position as the leading food franchisee in Nigeria. As it expands its presence to other parts of Africa, the organization also places a strong focus on the quality of its products and services of all its three brands. The expansion to this new region is in line with the company’s plan to reach 180 stores across Africa by the end of 2021.
The milestone achievement and development will better position the company in its contribution to Nigeria and Africa’s economy. Currently home to over 3000 staff members across Africa, the company is committed to continuously provide job and business opportunities across the continent.
Eat’N’Go launched in 2012 in Nigeria with the vision to become the premier food operator in Africa. Today, the company has over 147 stores in Nigeria and Kenya and it continues to deliver on this promise by successfully rolling out the globally recognised brands Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza across Africa. The company continues to expand its presence in key markets by fusing company goals with new strategic development goals and is projected to reach 180 stores across Africa by end of 2021.
Shoprite Exit: LCCI Explains Challenges Hurting Business Operations in Nigeria
Following the recent announcement of Shoprite, a leading South Africa retail giant, that it is leaving the Nigerian market due to harsh business environment and tough business policies, Dr Muda Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has explained some of the challenges responsible for such decision despite Nigeria’s huge population size.
Yusuf said while such decision is negative for the Nigerian economy, several factors like harsh business environment could have forced the company to make such decision. He said it also could be due to intense competitive pressure.
He said, “Shoprite is an international brand with presence in 14 African countries and about 3,000 stores. The comparative analysis of returns on investment in these countries may have informed the decision to exit the Nigeria market.
“The opportunities for retail business in Nigeria is immense. But the competition in the sector is also very intense.
“There are departmental stores in practically every neighbourhood in our urban centres around the country. There is also a strong informal sector presence in the retail sector. It is a very competitive space.”
According to the Director-General, there are also important investment climate issues that constitute downside risks to big stores like Shoprite.
He said, “These include the trade policy environment, which imposes strict restrictions on imports; the regulatory environment, which is characterised by a multitude of regulators making endless demands.
“There is also the foreign exchange policy, which has made imports and remittances difficult for foreign investors. There are challenges of infrastructure which put pressures on costs and erodes profit margins.”
The LCCI boss added, “But we need to stress that Shoprite is only divesting and selling its shares; Shoprite as a brand will remain. I am sure there are many investors who will be quite delighted to take over the shares.
“It should be noted that there are other South African firms in Nigeria doing good business. We have MTN, Multichoice, Stanbic IBTC, and Standard Chartered Bank, among others. Some of them are making more money in Nigeria than in South Africa.”
He added that some sectors are more vulnerable to the challenges of the business environment than others.
Afrinvest Appoints Mrs. Onaghinon As COO
Afrinvest West Africa Limited, has appointed the former head of public private partnership agency of the Edo State, Mrs Onoise Onaghinon as its chief operating officer.
Onaghinon joined Afrinvest in 2003 as an analyst in the firm’s investment banking division, rising through the ranks to become an associate, then vice president and eventually executive director & head of investment banking.
She is a seasoned veteran in the Nigerian capital markets and investment landscape with over 18 years of experience in capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings across many industries.
In 2017, Onaghinon took a sabbatical from the Firm to head the Public Private Partnership Agency of the Edo State Government. Having acquitted herself creditably in the public sector, she has rejoined the Firm to resume as the new COO.
Speaking on the appointment, group managing director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, said: “over the years, Onaghinon has demonstrated great leadership, professional excellence and outstanding client commitment in driving the firm’s business units, particularly our investment banking division. We are delighted to have her back and we look forward to leveraging her cross-disciplinary experience across the Afrinvest group”.
In her new role, Onaghinon will oversee human resources, legal & compliance, internal control and general services while leading the firm’s initiatives to improve efficiency across its subsidiaries.
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