Niyi Adenubi is the Co-Founder and Executive Director, Institutional Business & Investor Relations of VFD Group Plc, a proprietary investment company based in Lagos. Adenubi, a trained investment banker with over 10 years of hands-on experience in Private Equity, Venture Capitalism, and Financial Advisory started his banking career in his mid-20s in London and at various instances, he has played specific oversight on Corporate Governance and Financial Advisory roles to numerous firms both in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom, most notably with the Royal Bank of Scotland and ATOS Consulting.
In this recent interview with Eleni Giokos of CNN Marketplace Africa, Adenubi, bares his mind on a range of issues including the success of the Group’s digital bank, V bank, and expansion plans.
At what point did you begin to think of starting a firm?
In my mid-20s, I was an investment banker in London. After about three or four years in investment banking consulting, I started thinking about my country and the continent. I started thinking of how to build businesses and create values in that space. My only expertise is investment banking so very quickly I set up an investment management firm called Paragon Partners and since that time we created 10-year strategies to build out initially a financial service holding company now a diversified investment company looking at financial services, power, education, and media – which is VFD Group.
Reading through the VFD Group corporate strategies, it is interesting to see a word about holding a positively socially conscious ecosystem. Do you really go in with this socially conscious kind of agenda?
I think the balance is extremely important. When we came up with those concepts, for us sustainability was very important. So, we want a sustainable business that is profitable but is also socially conscious. We are building people; we are lifting people out of poverty; we are giving people a chance to access capital either debt financing for their businesses or equity financing for their businesses as they go on to employ people. And those things matter to us because without that sustainability you cannot build that ecosystem and a country that has viable jobs for the young population. That was very key to what we were trying to achieve. However, if you do all those things and you do not make money you are also unsustainable
In terms of market shares, what are you aiming for and what is the next phase for you?
Some of that information is private and confidential but what I will tell you is that we are on track till half year 2021 to gain about 15% of the total banking market for our platform and once we do that we’ve ascertained that V bank is already a success. We would go from there to build. The initial plan was 15% to 20% of the initial banking market and either way, we are on track to meet that target even before half year next year.
What is the most exciting sector for you right now, where are you seeing the best opportunity coupled with the social impact you say. Where are you seeing the best alignment at the moment?
I will say easily it’s in financial technology. I know that’s been oversold but I think the story of Africa cannot over-sell the concept of involving 80% to 90% of the entire population bringing them into the financial space and banking sector. Till today, I think we still have about 40 million accounts, out of a population of 200 million. We will probably look at the power sector too as it is also an interesting space; Fintech also, definitely; and as we go along, we continue to transition.
Clearly, you and your team are thinking of the long term so what is the plan in 5 to 10 years, do you want to be a Pan African banking giant or group across many sectors?
We want to be a Pan African Investment company. We are already looking at Ghana and we have started a conversation in Ghana. We are looking to deploy a small payment bank in Ghana using the V Bank platform. From Ghana, we also looking at Kenya- it’s a very exciting market. We definitely have ambition for Africa and if we get lucky in our lifetime, we will go global, but I am quite hopeful that we can land in Africa.
Chivita Crowned “Outstanding Juice Brand of the Decade” at MarketingEdge Excellence Awards
Dangote Group Reigns Supreme as Nigeria’s Most Valuable Brand
The Dangote Group has proudly asserted its position as Nigeria’s most valuable brand, achieving a remarkable aggregate score of 86.2 percent on the Brand Strength Measurement (BSM) Index, a meticulous evaluation conducted by Top 50 Brands Nigeria as part of its comprehensive 2023 Top Brand Perception Assessment.
During a much-anticipated media briefing held in Lagos on Wednesday to unveil the 2023 Top 50 Brands Nigeria list, the organization lauded Dangote for its unwavering commitment to excellence, which has solidified its stature as a premier brand within the nation.
The conglomerate revealed that MTN, a formidable contender in the market, secured a closely contested second place, boasting an impressive 85 BSM index score.
This year’s rankings saw Airtel Nigeria and Globacom securing the third and fourth positions, both earning significant BSM index scores of 77.9 and 77, respectively.
BUA Group made its inaugural appearance in the Top 10, capturing the attention of industry observers with a noteworthy BSM Index score of 70.8.
The illustrious list of the Top 10 brands further includes Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Coca-Cola, GTCO, and First Bank, each of which has maintained its exceptional reputation and resonance within the Nigerian market.
Commenting on the outcomes of this year’s assessment, Taiwo Oluboyede, CEO of Top 50 Brands Nigeria, said, “A brand is akin to a person, embodying all the traits that define its personality to the audience. When you hear a person’s name, you’re likely not merely recalling their appearance or attire, but rather who they genuinely are and the significance they hold for you.”
Oluboyede continued, “One may profess to be the best in the world and may even invest in extensive advertising to attract attention. However, the true perception of that individual is ultimately shaped by one’s personal experience. Likewise, the perception of a brand can evolve from favor to disfavor, or vice versa. This dynamic holds true for both individuals and brands alike.”
SnackFix From Bühler Adds Value to Local Grains in Nigeria and Boosts Food Security
The SnackFix small-scale cereal bar production system from Swiss technology group Bühler is the ideal solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to add value to locally produced grains in Nigeria and assist the country to address food security, says Manuel Murrenhoff, Managing Director, Bühler Nigeria.
On-the-go snacking consumption in Nigeria is rising steadily, presenting opportunities for SMEs to enter the market. “In terms of bars, fruit, and sweet snacks alone, this market segment is expected to exceed half a million tonnes by 2025,” says Murrenhoff. The main driver is the burgeoning population, estimated at 223.8 million in 2023, a 2.41% increase over 2022, and expected to grow to 377 million by 2050.
“The economically active part of the Nigerian population is quite sizeable and very mobile, which is boosting on-the-go snacking consumption,” says Murrenhoff. In addition, with half of the population living below the poverty line, there is more than ever the need to drive consumption of the full range of locally grown grains to keep final product prices in check.
“With the price of wheat projected to rise to record heights, Nigeria cannot possibly feed the growing population by importing wheat and other products. On the one hand, there is a shortage of forex and on the other hand, prices are escalating globally. That is where innovation, using local grains, plays an important role in food security, especially as these can be successfully incorporated into ready-to-eat foods,” says Murrenhoff.
Iyore Amadasun, Sales and Channel Business Manager at Bühler Nigeria, says that Bühler’s Snackfix, designed for food producers seeking a share from the on-the-go snack segment, promotes the processing of locally sourced grains for snacks while maintaining the highest food safety standards.
SnackFix is a multi-grain solution that allows SMEs to innovate across the spectrum of locally produced grains in Nigeria. The technology presents an entry-level, plug-and-play solution that is compact, cost-effective, and easy to commission and operate.
SnackFix includes a continuous mixer, a cooling tunnel, and a cutting system, all in one – everything needed for quality production. The combination allows SMEs to manufacture a huge variety of cereal bars at a volume of up to 130 kg per hour.
Customers benefit from Bühler’s experience in product development using a wide range of locally produced grains including, for example, sesame seeds, cashews, and peanuts. “We can help newcomers in the market achieve the best recipe to satisfy functional and indulgence consumer requirements in this segment and then supply them with a customised solution,” says Amadasun. In addition, Bühler has an innovation centre and laboratory in Switzerland to assist with different formulations and product development.
“The ready-to-eat market is of strategic importance to Nigeria, as it can adapt local grains for snacking consumption, promote healthy eating habits, and at the same time assist with Food Security,” says Amadasun.
With offices in Lagos and Kano, Bühler Nigeria is a leader in grain and food processing and offers solutions for grain drying and storage, flour milling, rice milling, cacao and chocolate processing, wafer and biscuit, pasta and noodles, feed, and aqua feed milling. Bühler Nigeria also provides support in the form of solutions for ink and coating applications and flexible packaging systems.
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