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.
Custodian Investment To Raise $15M Additional Capital
Shareholders of Custodian Investment Plc yesterday gave their approval to the board of directors of the company to raise the naira equivalent of up to $15 million as additional capital through a convertible loan instrument.
The shareholders, who gave the approval at the 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the group held in Lagos, also authorised the directors to convert the loan into shares in the company at a conversion price higher than N6.00 per share or the 12-month historical daily share price of the company derived from the Daily Official List of the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX)for the period ended March 23, 2021.
They hailed the board and management for reporting improved financial performance and returns on investment despite the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted global and local economies in 2020.
Sunny Nwosu, the founding Coordinator of Independent Shareholders of Nigeria (ISAN), commended the company’s performance and returns on investment. He, however, advised that the company should consider a bonus issue to shareholders because of the robust statutory reserves and regulatory requirements.
Also speaking, the President of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association, Mr. Matthew Akinlade, said the performance was a very good one based on the financial indices.
Another shareholder, Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, commended the company for weathering the storm of 2020 and its challenging operating environment. He praised the company for the foresight of having a holding company which now enables it to make investment decisions easily.
The shareholders approved the final dividend of 55 kobo per share, bringing the total dividend to 65 kobo, having paid an interim dividend of 10 kobo last year.
Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, the Chairman of the board of directors, Dr. (Mrs.) Omobola Johnson, said, “I am delighted to report that our company recorded significant successes during the 2020 financial year despite the challenging operating environment, a fallout of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting weak oil earnings, Naira devaluation and high inflation.”
She noted that the successes recorded by the company in 2020 was an affirmation of the robustness of the group’s business model, which allowed it to quickly adapt to the fast-changing environment, the astute leadership of the company supported by energetic employees using technology to efficiently provide prompt services to clients.
According to her, despite the challenges faced during the year under review, the group more than doubled its profits by posting a profit after tax of N12.69 billion as against N6.01 achieved in 2019.
FBNQuest Mutual Funds returns 104%
FBNQuest Asset Management, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings, has held yearly general meetings for five mutual funds managed by the firm.
The funds are the FBN Balanced Fund, FBN Smart Beta Equity Fund, FBN Eurobond Fund, FBN Bond Fund and the FBN Money Market Fund.
The Fund Manager continues to deliver commendable results, as demonstrated by strong performance across all its funds.
The FBN Bond Fund was the best performing of the mutual funds, returning 104.20 per cent over five-year while its US Dollar fund, the FBN Eurobond, returned 48.43 per cent in US dollars over the same period.
The Managing Director of FBNQuest Asset Management, Ike Onyia, said: “Our strong performance track record is premised on the research capabilities, insights and experience of our portfolio management and research teams. Our mutual funds serve as useful investment options useful in formulating unique and value-adding investment strategies for various client segments. This is because our range of mutual funds cut across various asset classes including equities, bonds and money markets.”
“Our funds remain easily accessible, as our goal is to continue to drive financial inclusion and democratise wealth creation, by supporting the financiainclusion and democratise wealth creation, by supporting the financial security aspiration of investors” he added.
Increasingly, financial markets are becoming complex to navigate and as a result, it will not be out of place for investors to actively seek the inclusion of mutual funds in their investment portfolio, which will serve as the structured gateway to such markets. Seeking the help of experienced financial planners to assist you in establishing your risk tolerance levels and advise on suitable options is highly recommended.
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.
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