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Foreign Investors Acquire 12 Nigerian Insurance Companies

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  • Foreign Investors Acquire 12 Nigerian Insurance Companies

The number of indigenous insurance companies acquired by foreign investors will soon rise to 12, findings have revealed.

Information obtained from the National Insurance Commission on Friday showed that 10 foreign firms had already acquired Nigerian underwriting firms and two were about to be taken.

“There were three foreign acquisitions into the sector in 2014; two in 2015; five in 2016 and two companies are now in progress,” according to NAICOM.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, had said that the Nigerian development plan vision 2020 described the Nigeria insurance sector as a grossly untapped opportunity with low market penetration.

He said, “The foreign investors, having noted these great opportunities, are attracted by the huge potential in the Nigerian insurance space. The investors are ready to position themselves for the future, hence the likes of AXA, Prudential, Liberty, Swiss Re, SUNU Group, Saham, have taken positions in the industry and in partnership with indigenous companies for development and growth.”

Despite that, he said that the growth of the Nigerian insurance industry was hinged on right products, innovation, prompt claims payment and healthy competition between local players and their foreign counterparts.

He said that it was noteworthy to see that insurance entities had been working hard to clear some of the misconceptions inhibiting insurance penetration and growth by planning massive sensitisation campaigns across multiple communication channels.

According to him, once consumers understand and value the actual benefits of insurance, the Nigerian insurance industry will grow sharply and prosper, as it has been the case in many other countries.

“The presence of foreign insurers in the Nigerian market is another incentive expected to boost penetration, technical capacity and service delivery,” he said.

The Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association, Mr. Eddie Efekoha, also observed that the insurance industry was becoming more attractive to foreign investors.

He said, “The indices are clear. If you look around, you will see that a lot of our friends from outside Nigeria are looking at Nigeria and if they are doing so, then you don’t need any one to tell you that there is something good about us or potential they are seeing.”

However, some operators who spoke with our correspondent said that insurance companies that were acquired by foreign investors in recent years had not fared better than the indigenous companies generally.

However, they added that they were optimistic to see how the new investors would boost activities in the sector.

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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Investment

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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