- Nigeria’s Office Vacancy Rate Records Downward Trend
Vacancy rate in A-grade office buildings across the country is going down, a new report on the real estate sub-sector says.
According to the report, Office Market Viewpoint in Q4 2018 by Broll Nigeria, vacancy rates in A-grade buildings in Ikoyi and Victoria Island, which have the highest rate, are currently down by 59 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.
Broll stated that in 2018, landlords were increasingly sensitive to the existing oversupply of stock in the market and as such strategic leasing options had to be devised in order to attract tenants to their buildings.
It stated that these leasing options included attractive financial incentives such as extended rent-free periods as high as 12 months, longer beneficial occupation periods of six months and tenant fit out allowances of as high as $400 per square metre.
“Therefore, although asking rentals remained constant for much of 2018, net effective rents (base rents net of incentives) fluctuated below asking rents.
“The median average asking rent for A-grade offices in Ikoyi remained constant at $750 per square metre per annum in the fourth quarter. In the Victoria Island commercial node, the median average asking rent also remained fairly constant at $650 per square metre,” it added.
The report said 2018 saw a significant amount of activity relative to the previous year, especially as the economy emerged from recession and moved towards a path of recovery.
It added that the level of enquiries for office space also increased in the year under review with a more diverse profile of tenants in the tech, finance, oil and gas, FMCG, aviation and pharmaceutical industries.
“In the quarter under review, occupiers with longer term horizons continued to enhance their presence in the market with a number of signed leases being for more than 1,000m², which deviates from the smaller-sized office transactions in previous years. Approximately 14,500m² of A-grade space was taken-up in the Ikoyi market in Q4 of 2018 alone,” the report said.
“This move by investors occurred irrespective of the elections scheduled to take place in February 2019, highlighting less risk aversion to the aftermath of the elections relative to the previous electoral cycle of 2015,” it added.
According to the report, 2018 also witnessed a slight evolution of occupier requirements for lease acquisitions while an increased number of tenants have started looking at flexible, serviced office options, especially small scale new entrants seeking flexibility to either expand or exit the market as and when required.
It explained that co-working space requirements also rose and service operators were operating at full or near full capacity, adding that service providers, primarily local providers, operating in standalone converted residential properties or B- to C-grade office buildings.
Key factors to watch in 2019 and their potential impact on the office market, according to the report, include oil prices and the local currency, among others.
“The outlook for oil prices is one embedded in risk, and a possible devaluation in the local currency by year end could introduce transactionary risk impacts in the form of increased occupational costs within malls as well as higher product prices for retailers if goods are imported,” it added.
Shoprite: New Investor Assures Nigerian Consumers of Improved Services
Following the acquisition deal between Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited (RSNL), owner and operator of the Shoprite stores in Nigeria, and Ketron Investment Limited, the new investor has assured consumers of robust services in the years ahead.
Ketron, a Nigerian company owned by a group of institutional investors led by Persianas Investment Limited, recently acquired the supermarket brand.
The divestment by Shoprite International was in line with its strategy to change from an ownership model to a franchise model. This change in ownership has also received the approval of the Nigerian regulator the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
Speaking on the acquisition, Chairman, Ketron Investment Limited, Tayo Amusan said, “We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of Shoprite, ensuring the continued operations of one of the biggest retail success stories in Nigeria. We look forward to building an even stronger company following our acquisition and are excited about the greater impact we will achieve to the benefit of our customers and other stakeholders now and well into the future.”
Since its launch in Lagos in December 2005, Shoprite has expanded to 25 outlets across eleven states and Abuja, FCT.
According to the terms of the acquisition, Ketron acquired 100 per cent ownership of Shoprite in Nigeria and will continue operations across all existing outlets. It also plans to open additional stores and introduce more Nigerian-made products in the stores. This he noted, will also result in more opportunities for Nigerians.
“It is our vision to create fundamental change for the better within Nigeria,” said Amusan. “With benefits from our knowledge of the ever-evolving Nigerian retail marketplace, well-grounded social and economic research, and hands-on experience from our team, we are confident that this acquisition will foster a robust and sustainable business model for the ultimate benefit of all stakeholders,” he concluded.
Professional services firms, KPMG Advisory Services, MBO Capital Management Limited and Banwo & Ighodalo advised Ketron on the deal. CEO, MBO Capital, Jide Ogundare, stated that the deal signalled an opportunity for Ketron to uphold a thriving business.
“It will be hard work,” he said, “but with the plans we have in place, and with the support of the larger Shoprite family in Nigeria including our staff and every Nigerian shopper that walks through our doors, we are confident of success.”
Shoprite Holdings is Africa’s largest food retailer, operating 2,843 supermarkets in 15 countries and serving 35 million customers in Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. At the moment, Shoprite Nigeria’s supply chain includes more than 300 leading Nigerian suppliers, and boasts small businesses and farmers among its partners and suppliers.
Ketron said Shoprite International will continue as technical advisers and Ketron will sustain the relationships established by Shoprite over the last decade and a half while ensuring a smooth “transfer of values.”
CBN Offers Assistant In Printing Gambia’s Currency
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that the bank is willing to assist the Central Bank of the Gambia to print its legal tender.
Emefiele said this in Abuja on Tuesday during a two-day visit by a delegation from the Central Bank Of Gambia, led by its governor, Mr. Buah Saidy.
This was in response to a request by the CBG for a possible partnership to tackle acute currency shortages among other currency management challenges in the country.
Saidy informed the CBN governor that relying on its current printer, De La Rue of London, for its currency needs was expensive and unsustainable.
He explained that it costs the bank about £70,000 to lift printed currencies from Sri Lanka to the Gambia.
In response, the CBN Governor assured his visitors that the bank had an extremely competitive advantage to undertake the currency printing for Gambia, adding that the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting had a lot of idle capacity to satisfy the demand of the CBG.
He said, “I note your point on currency management. The Nigerian mint was set up in the early 1960s and we’ve been producing our currency since the early 60s and we have a lot of idle capacity to ensure that instead of you going to Europe or other countries, you will be able to benefit from our ideas.
“Our colleagues will take you to the security printing facility. Our colleagues that came in from Liberia two months ago were fascinated by the kind of facilities we have at our security printing and minting facility and I am sure that you will also enjoy them.
“And I am sure they will follow you back to the Gambia to see how they can help you to structure your economic order quantities so we can also be of assistance in printing your currency.
“And I can assure you that we can be extremely competitive if only from the standpoint of logistics and freight from Europe but it’s just going to be a few hours from here to the Gambia and the rest of them.”
The CBG Governor also noted that one of the purposes of the visit was to benefit from the CBN’s vast experiences on how it had successfully regulated the financial system and sought assistance in the areas of information technology, modernisation, cybersecurity, forex shipping and management, among others.
Emefiele in response attributed the successes to the support which the apex bank had enjoyed from the National Assembly.
He said, “On the issue of the CBN independence, I thank you for the kind words. But I think the point is that we thank our own parliament. Our parliament has been extremely supportive of the CBN.”
He, therefore, advised the CBG to work with its parliament to create laws that would provide the independence needed.
Emefele further stated that the apex bank was not sparing any effort to address issues of supply management to ensure economic growth.
Ardova to Acquire 100 Percent Stake in Enyo Retail and Supply Limited
Ardova, an indigenous energy company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, with extended operations in Ghana, has reached an agreement with Enyo Retail and Supply Holding Limited to acquire a 100 percent equity stake in Enyo Retail and Supply Limited.
This announcement follows the execution of a share purchase agreement by the two companies.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Oladeinde Nelson-Cole, Company Secretary/General Counsel, Ardova Plc.
The statement highlighted the parties’ commitment to closing the transaction in line with the share purchase agreement, as soon as agreed closing conditions are satisfied, and regulatory approval is received.
Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited and Banwo & Ighodalo are acting as Financial and Legal Advisers respectively to AP, while Rand Merchant Bank and Herbert Smith Freehills Paris LLP are acting as Financial and Legal Advisers to ERSHL and certain of its shareholders.
Olumide Adeosun, Chief Executive Officer of AP, stated that “On completion, this acquisition will lead to a stronger downstream energy group that benefits from the increased customer reach and service delivery excellence of both companies, with the combination expected to produce stronger financial results.”
Ardova Plc and Enyo Retail & Supply Limited will communicate details of future progress made on this acquisition.
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