- We’re Open to New Investors – 9Mobile
A Global System of Mobile telecommunications operator, 9Mobile (formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria), has said the change of its brand name will not affect the quality of its services, even as it is open to new investors.
The Chief Executive Officer, 9Mobile, Mr. Boye Olusanya, said the company would continue to make more positive contributions to the telecommunications sector and deliver better value to customers.
Olusanya, who stated this while unveiling the new brand identity at a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday, said, “The change in name has no bearing on the quality of service that you are going to get from this network. This is a continuation of our excellence. Our name has changed only to something that we believe will resonate more with our customers and stakeholders.
“In our nine years of operations, we have remained at the forefront of innovation and take pride in consistently delivering superior experiences to our subscribers. We continue to establish meaningful partnerships with our customers and partners by providing platforms that support their goals and aspirations.”
Commenting on the departure of one of the former shareholders, he said all the services from the company “are run, operated, managed and maintained by the same team that exists here today.”
According to Olusanya, there is currently no service that is being run with the support and help from anybody outside the shores of Nigeria.
He said, “So, the departure of any partner has absolutely no bearing on the quality of service that you will continue to get.
“The people that exist within the business today are the ones who have offered that service; the same ones who have been resilient and dynamic to cope with the need for this change, who will also be the ones who will continue to offer you service and if they show the same dynamism that they’ve shown over the last few days, then the service will only get better.”
Asked if the company was open to new investors, Olusanya said, “Like any business, we are always available for someone with a good offer. But we are prepared to manage this business for the long haul.
“If at any point in time someone does come in with an offer that is attractive, then that person will have the right to do whatever they want to do with the brand. But this brand was not developed with the mind-set that it’s a two- or three-month brand.”
He said the company was going through a process of removing and replacing all materials that referred to what it was before, adding that the process would be concluded as soon as possible.
Olusanya said the company would not change old SIM cards being used by subscribers, adding, “We have to acknowledge that that is part of our history and it is there for you to continue to use.”
He stated that the company would continue to put data at the forefront of its business and deliver more platforms, products and services, using the power of technology.
“The vivacity of our new brand is an affirmation of our creativity and the recent launch of a volley of value-adding services, such as our BlazeOn and Kwikcash service, is testament to this,” he added.
Also speaking, the Chief Financial Officer, 9Mobile, Mrs. Funke Ighodaro, said, “The immediate focus of the business is to drive value for the benefit of its customers. The approach and timing of the rebranding is evidence of the agility and responsiveness of the business.”
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.
Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) To €2 billion in Nigeria
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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