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Airtel Africa to Raise $200m From QIA

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  • Airtel Africa to Raise $200m From QIA

Airtel Africa will raise $200 million( Rs 1,420 crore) from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) through an issue of primary shares, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

The funds will be used to reduce the Africa unit’s debt, thereby also strengthening Bharti Airtel’s consolidated books. It will help the UK-based holding company of Airtel’s Africa operations cut its net debt to roughly $3.5 billion, the mobile phone operator counted among the world’s top three by subscribers said.

“We are excited to welcome Qatar Investment Authority as a longterm strategic equity partner … This transaction will not involve any sale of shares by existing shareholders,” said Airtel Africa, which operates in 15 countries on the continent. QIA said it looks forward to “supporting Airtel’s vision in building a world class business in the African continent,” it said.

In November, Airtel Africa had raised $1.25 billion ( about Rs 9,200 crore) through a placement of shares to six global investors, including Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel and SoftBank Group International, in the runup to an Airtel Africa IPO likely around June this year, through which the telco plans to garner an additional $1.5-1.6 billion.

The follow-up fundraise is estimated to dilute Airtel’s stake in its Africa unit to 67.24 per cent from roughly 71.6 per cent, said a senior sector analyst who did not wish to be named.

Bharti Airtel — facing severe pressure on revenue and profitability at home in India owing to intense competition triggered by the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm — is trying to build a war chest to fund its 4G network expansion across the country.

It has been selling stakes in tower unit Bharti Infratel, and plans to sell another 32 per cent — valued at close to Rs 15,500 crore —in that firm. Airtel is also planning a Rs 15,000-crore rights issue. Bharti Airtel’s net debt was at Rs 113,204 crore at September-end. Its shares closed 1.22 per cent lower on BSE at Rs 303.35.

The latest developments come at a time when the Sunil Mittalled telco’s Africa business has continued to put on a robust show in the September quarter, with Africa net income (before exceptional items) rising to Rs 232.3 crore from a net loss of Rs 207.9 crore a year back. Total revenue of Airtel Africa rose nearly 13 per cent to Rs 5,647.2 crore.

Airtel Africa is the second largest telco in the continent with customer base of more than 94 million. It is one of the top two operators in most of its 14 markets. In November, Airtel Africa had also constituted a board of directors that includes representatives from Airtel and the global investors.

The combined strength of the board is expected to bring a wealth of industry and governance experience to further drive Airtel’s Africa operations.

Airtel Africa has essentially seen a turnaround of its business in recent years, completing its first full year of profitability in March, after continuously losing money in previous years marking a turnaround from previous years when losses mounted every quarter, dragging down consolidated numbers and casting doubt on Bharti’s strategy of expanding into the continent back in 2010.

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.

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NCDMB and NEXIM Sign $30 Million Agreement to Support Oil and Gas Services Firms

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The Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) yesterday signed a $30 million agreement on working capital and capacity building fund to support oil and gas services firms.

Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB and Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello, signed the funding agreement at the Abuja office of the Nigerian content monitoring agency.

Wabote said the Oil Producers Trade Section, Independent Petroleum Producers Group and Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria had raised concerns over funding challenges confronting oil services firms, as this had made most of the companies to consider downsizing their staff.

He said, “The OPTS and IPPG had at some point raised before the NCDMB the inability of most indigenous contractors to provide services to them due to challenges of funding.

“This was especially when we got struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. I recall receiving several letters particularly from IPPG trying to see how we can support this.”

He added, “I also recall receiving similar letters from PETAN when the COVID-19 struck and most of their members had nothing to do anymore.

“This is because companies were shut down and their members were threatening on how to downsize and take Nigerians off their payrolls.

“Based on this, we then set up a committee to say how do we support these firms with the provision of working capital.”

Wabote noted the roll-out date for the fund would be July 1, 2021 and that the fund size of $30m would be boosted by matching funds of the same amount to be provided by NEXIM in naira (to be converted at prevailing official exchange rate).

“The scheme shall cover loans for working capital support and capacity building, oil service contracts, invoice discounting including acquisition of low-end equipment to service short-term contracts/service obligations,” he stated.

He said the target market comprised Nigerian oil service providers which belonged to a professional association in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and commercially viable with a business relationship with either an international oil company or a major Nigerian oil firm.

“Maximum amount that can be borrowed by a single obligor is $1m or its naira equivalent at the official exchange rate prevailing at the time of borrowing,” Wabote said.

He added, “Tenor shall be up to 12 months for working capital loans and up to three years for capacity building loans with moratorium of up to 12 months.

“The applicable interest rate shall be five per cent per annum all-in for dollar-denominated loans and eight per cent all-in per annum for naira-denominated loans and the rate shall be fixed throughout the tenor of the loan.”

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LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Appoints Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as Company’s Secretary

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LivingTrust Mortgage bank has appointed Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as company secretary/head of legal services.

The bank disclosed in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Omuku, the Finance Officer/Head, Investor Relations, LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc.

The statement reads “We wish to notify The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public of the appointment Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as Company Secretary/Head, Legal Services of LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc.

“Mr. Gbadeyan is a consummate corporate attorney with experiential background in deals advisory, real estate finance, facioring, general commercial transactions, corporate governance, company secretarial services and regulatory compliance. Until his appointment, he was the Head of Legal Services of Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc.”

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Farmforte, Others Signs MoU To Strengthen and Sustain Growth in Agricultural Sector

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Farmforte Limited has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with the Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria; HYBR, a pan-African innovation firm; and ALTS, a consulting and strategy development firm.

The firm said in a statement on Sunday that the partnership would strengthen common interest cooperation and stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth within the agricultural sector, by capitalising on the synergy and comparative advantage offered by each organisation.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Farmforte Co-Chief Executive Officer, Osazuwa Osayi, said, “Our mid to long-term strategic goals are further reaffirmed, as this partnership will facilitate the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and expertise across the agricultural sector.

“We will collectively address initiatives and approaches concerning agricultural investments, food security, and the overall robustness of the value chain.”

He said the collaboration would also unlock the full potential of the sector and place it on a renewed path for success, especially within a post-pandemic economy.

The President of AFGEAN, Tajuddeen Dantata, said, “By creating dialogue and fostering investment in the horticulture sector, this partnership will endeavor to support Farmforte in its exporting efforts by improving operational efficacy and cost-savings, while ultimately driving socio-economic growth in the country.”

The Chief Executive Officer, HYBR, Charles Ojei, said to drive inclusion, sustainability, job creation, and Nigeria’s overall economic growth, the optimisation of the agriculture value chain was critical.

“This collaboration is a fusion of the complementary capabilities of all partners to move a bigger agenda forward.”

The Managing Partner, ALTS, Akintunde Sawyerr, said, “The goal of this partnership is to support Farmforte’s vision of becoming the largest agribusiness by 2035 via scalable and world-class innovation across its enterprise.”

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