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Lafarge Africa Assures Shareholders of Better Performance, Reduces Debt

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  • Lafarge Africa Assures Shareholders of Better Performance, Reduces Debt

Shareholders of Lafarge Africa Plc were yesterday assured of better performance going forward following the reduction in its debt to very low level. Lafarge Africa Plc’s fortunes have been affected negatively in recent years by huge debt, non-performing subsidiaries, and high cost of operations.

However, addressing shareholders at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos, the Chairman of the company, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, said the company had reduced its debt by $1.1 billion in last three years, noting that efforts are being made to ensure further reduction in the debt. According to him, part of the effort was the proposal to sell its shares in Lafarge South Africa Holdings Propriety Limited (LSAH), which the shareholders approved at the AGM.

With the proceeds from the proposed sale, it is expected that Lafarge Africa’s shareholder loan as at July 31, 2019, will be completely paid off. The loan represents the only existing foreign currency loan in the books of the company.

Balogun, explained that the balance restructuring will impact on the company positively, disclosing that cost of finance will reduce by N168 billion, while net debt at the end of July 2019 will be about N56 billion.

“With the sale of LSAH as proposed by the Board to shareholders the only debt that will remain on the books of the company will be the second tranche of the corporate bond due for redemption in June 2021 and the subsidised loan in respect of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Power Intervention Funds through the Bank of Industry(BoI). This significant reduction in debt holds prospects for dividend distribution in future,” he said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Lafarge Africa, Mr. Michel Puchercos, appreciated the understanding showed by the shareholders in approving the Board’s proposals. He maintained that management was determined to deliver on the trust expressed by the shareholders.

“We are delighted with the understanding by our shareholders on the need to focus our business in Nigeria. The approval of the proposed sale of Lafarge South Africa by the shareholders will cut debts service obligation and curtail substantially financial charges which will have positive impact on liquidity and the opportunity to expand our operations in Nigeria,” Puchercos said.

Lafarge Africa Plc recovered from a loss N8.8 billion in the full year of 2018 to a profit of N3.14 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, 2019.

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.

Appointments

Standard Bank Appoints Sanni Chief Executive for Africa

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The Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets has appointed Yinka Sanni as its new Chief Executive for Africa Regions and a member of the Group Leadership Council.

Sanni, the group’s Regional Chief Executive for West Africa, takes over from Sola David-Borha, who is retiring after 31 years of service to the banking group.

This was disclosed in a statement.

Sanni holds a B. Agric. (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA from Obafemi Awolowo University. He attended the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 2009, and the Global CEO Programme at the Wharton School in 2017. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector across wholesale, retail and asset management, and joined Standard Bank Group’s Nigerian subsidiary, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, in December 1990.

In a note to employees, Standard Bank Group CEO, Sim Tshabalala, congratulated Sanni on his appointment and thanked David-Borha for her extraordinary contributions to the group.

“Sola was appointed as the Chief Executive of Africa Regions in January 2017 and is one of the group’s most deeply expert and experienced bankers,” Tshabalala said.

“Under her leadership, the Africa Regions portfolio has grown remarkably in capacity, market share and contribution to the group’s headline earnings.”

David-Borha has been a passionate advocate of culture change and executive leadership development, having sponsored the ‘Last Mile’ programme, which has resulted in the successful promotion of talented people into both Regional Chief Executive and Country Chief Executive positions, including the appointment of two female Chief Executives in the Africa Regions business.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to serve and contribute to the growth of the Standard Bank Group,” David-Borha said.

“I am delighted to be handing over to Yinka Sanni, an exceptional, authentic and experienced leader who will take the baton forward in driving Africa’s growth.”

David-Borha will remain with the group until the end of June to ensure a successful leadership transition and handover process. Sanni’s appointment is effective from today, 15 April.

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Experts to Provide Insights on Tech & Digital Transformation at MSME Dialogue 3.0

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The third edition of MSME Dialogue will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 10am (WAT). Experts at the virtual event will provide insights while discussing the theme: Powering MSMEs with Technology and Digital Transformation.

The event, which is organized by MSME Africa, is expected to have owners and managers of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Business owners from different sector in attendance.

MSME Dialogue which holds every quarter, seeks to address, burning and relevant  issues about entrepreneurship and running a small business as well as proffering solutions to those issues.

The event aims to provide the right knowledge and know-how for MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, and Startups to enable them to grow and thrive and features subject matter experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and players within the MSME Ecosystem.

The speakers expected at the event are: Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Group, Rex Mafiana: CEO, FPG Technologies, Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Operational Excellence at Sokowatch, Kenya, David Lanre Messan, CEO, FirstFounders, Bisoye Coker, CEO/Co-founder, Kiakia FX. The session will be moderated by Solape Akinpelu: CEO/Founder, HerVest.

According to the convener of the event who is also the founder of MSME Africa, Seye Olurotimi “Every business owner who is serious with their business would agree with me that technology and digital transformation are important factors for business growth and success. We all can’t all run or won Tech startups but we can always drive our businesses and operations with Technology and Digital Tools”

“Tech-driven Businesses are making waves and turning in almost unbelievable results against all odds. Businesses who have embraced technology, automation and digital transformation are enjoying unquantifiable advantages. It is because of this that I am calling on business owners and managers to join us at the 3rd Edition of MSME Dialogue, on Saturday April 24, 2021 at 10am ( WAT), as we bring in experts to provide insights on this theme” Olurotimi added.

MSME Africa is a multi-faceted resource platform for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Africa providing capacity development, news, opportunities, business articles and other resources for MSMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Olurotimi said the platform was poised to build the biggest network and community of MSMEs in Africa in the nearest future.

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Ericsson Launches Automation Hub in Nigeria

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Ericsson announces plans to create an Automation Hub in Nigeria to support operators for improved consumer experience.

Ericsson Automation Hub is an open innovation platform, inspired by lean startup methodology in which the Ericsson team works in close dialog with customers, users and partners to showcase and reach the high potential that network automation allows in configuration, provisioning, assurance and orchestration of network services.

This will enable service providers to gain the ability in their environments to govern, manage and orchestrate hybrid networks holistically and in real time and as a result, offer an enhanced consumer experience.

Fields to be covered include but not limited to 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, Network Slicing and Orchestration, Hologram Calls, Complex Standalone, Business Support System (BSS) and Operations Support System (OSS), Cloud and Core product cases, Automated Acceptance Tests demonstration and enhancements as well as complex charging scenarios for 5G and 4G networks.

Lucky La Riccia, Vice President and Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa at Ericsson says: “As Industry 4.0 accelerates in Africa, automation in operations is proven to boost customer experiences. Ericsson continues to support the telecom industry players in setting #AfricaInMotion, and with the Ericsson Automation Hub in Nigeria, we will focus on driving business outcomes for our partners in Africa as they aim to leverage digital transformation to turn complexities into opportunities while offering a greater experience and value to consumers.”

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