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Is a ‘Tesla’ About to Eat Construction Equipment Makers’ Lunch?

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Tesla Model 3 - Investors King

With digitalization, electrification and autonomy all set to change the industry, could construction’s established players be wrongfooted by a new market disruptor? Industry thinkers Alan Berger and Carl-Gustaf Goransson discuss who’s in the strongest position: Old guard or Newcomers.

In 2008 no one saw Tesla Motors as much other than a niche electric sports car company. Certainly not other car companies – in 2009 Tesla only made 147 cars. Fast forward 12 years and Tesla is making 500,000 cars a year and is valued higher than the top six car manufacturers combined.

Of course, much has been written about the unexpectedly and disproportionately large disruptive effect Tesla has had on the global automotive industry. Like construction equipment, the car business has been consolidating, with no significant new entrants in a long time. This raises the question as to whether the same thing could happen in the construction equipment world – could a disrupter barge into the sector and win? Indeed, the industry is trying to digest the triple challenges of digitization, autonomous operation and electrification – creating an opportunity for new players to emerge.

Central to the success of today’s OEMs is their extensive product, customer and application knowledge. But given the technical changes that are coming, is that going to be enough to save them from a digital disruptor?

Product

The new era of machines will require a completely new architecture, one that is designed around the capabilities of an electrical drivetrain. It will also be adapted from today’s equipment in order to transfer power with cables instead of belts, and shafts and hoses will enable new ways to optimize performance and productivity. Such a platform will be largely software controlled, moving a portion of feature development from relatively slow-moving mechanical changes to faster and more easily upgradable software changes. That said, by nature, construction equipment does physical work, and the working tools will remain similar to that used today. A disrupter would develop a completely new machine, while existing OEMs could do so only if they resist the temptation to take the ‘easy’ path of adapting current machines. Indeed, OEMs would be able to leverage their vast portfolio of intellectual property to speed this along. Advantage OEM.

Supply chain

Large parts of the supply chain will remain the same, as many components and raw materials of tomorrow’s machines will be like today’s. However, new components will be needed as well, particularly in the drivetrain and hydraulic systems. (If there is a hydraulic system). This has triggered a competitive scramble that is now pitting traditional engine manufacturers against transmission/axle manufacturers and hydraulic component suppliers. While this new competitive dynamic will take time to sort itself out, clearly the traditional supply base is positioning itself to offer the needed new parts. Therefore, existing OEM-supplier relationships – and access to the latest technology – will favor existing OEMs over newcomers. Advantage OEM.

Distribution network

With new, digitally enabled sales models, the traditional role of the dealer is likely to change, and a new player could greatly accelerate this. Just look at the success of Tesla’s direct selling model. That said, construction equipment requires responsive and intensive access to service, which is a vital part of the dealers’ offering. A disrupter could build a service-only network, leveraging established dealers while moving most of the sales activity on-line. This is difficult for existing OEMs and therefore the newcomer has an edge. Advantage disruptor.

Parts/service

It is well known that parts and services drive a large part of total operating income for OEMs. Simplified, software-driven machines require less maintenance and this will negatively impact the traditional business model and reduce the value of existing OEM’s captive parts distribution networks. Indeed, there is no need for a newcomer to develop their own parts network, since there are now third-party solutions such as Amazon. A newcomer can then more easily focus on other sources of high margin recurring revenues – such as offering features-as-a-service. Advantage newcomer.

Access to capital

To fund their existing portfolio and prepare for the technical transformation today’s OEMs have to balance R&D, capital expenditure and operating income – not an easy balancing act. Not so startups, whose compelling business models and few external dependencies can get access to significant capital. All they need to worry about is being focused on developing the new products, services and business. Advantage disruptor Before concluding, there is one additional and important consideration. Tesla was founded well before the automotive industry recognized the need and technology availability. Clearly, this is not the case for the construction equipment industry today. Taking all of these factors together, it seems that the existing OEMs can drive the disruption themselves if they are willing to commit to the extensive and complete transformation needed. But, if none do so, don’t be surprised if someone else decides to do it for or to them.

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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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank and African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited Merge to Deepen Presence in Zambia

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Access bank

Access Bank Plc on Monday announced it has signed a binding agreement with Atlas Mara Limited on a proposed merger between Access Bank’s subsidiary in Zambia, Access bank Zambia Limited and African Banking Corporation (Atlas Mara Zambia).

Upon completion of this prospective transaction, the Bank is expected to retain or increase its current shareholding in Access Bank Zambia, which following the merger will have over 70 branches and agencies, approximately US$1 billion in total assets and over 300,000 customers in Zambia.

The transaction will not require significant additional capital investment requirements from the Bank given the capital and other synergies created from the merger between Access Bank Zambia with Cavmont Bank in 2020. The proposed transaction is expected to be concluded in 2022, subject to fulfillment of conditions precedent including regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Zambia.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO of the Bank said, “This transaction represents another milestone that brings us closer to the achievement of our broader strategic objectives. The merger of Atlas Mara Zambia with Access bank Zambia is expected to augment our presence in Zambia and the broader COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area.

“We are particularly excited by the prospects of increased earnings contribution to the Bank from the enlarged Access Bank Zambia, which has also announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, Mr. Lishala Situmbeko, who brings over 25 years of cognate experience and deep local relationships into our Zambian operation.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the strong confidence of the Zambian market in the Bank’s country and regional strategy as well as our strong confidence in the long-term prospects for the Zambian economy.”

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Merger and Acquisition

Verdant Capital Advises Baxi, a Leading Super-agent in Nigeria, on its Sale to MFS Africa

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Edmund Higenbottam, MD of Verdant Capital - Investorsking.com

MFS Africa is acquiring Baxi to expand its network into Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and perhaps its most fintech dynamic market. Nigeria is also the largest remittance market in Africa representing one-third of intra-Africa remittance flows, and is home to the largest number of SMEs.

Verdant Capital views the two businesses as highly complimentary:  Baxi simplifies and integrates online and offline payments for SMEs and merchants in Nigeria through its omni-channel distribution network; MFS Africa simplifies cross-border payments, integrating payments via one hub. The transaction further extends Verdant Capital’s track-record of advising on transactions shaping the fintech sector in Africa.

The sale of Baxi is Verdant Capital’s fifth successful fintech transaction of the year, having advised Retail Capital, a leading tech-enabled SME-financier in South Africa on a USD 10 million capital raise; Zeepay, a leading pan-African digital remittance and mobile payments business on its USD 8 million Series-A and on its acquisition of Mangwee in Zambia; and Tugende, a leading tech-enabled SME-financier in East Africa on its USD 10 million Series-A.  The transactions cover West, East and South Africa.  In part because of its successful track-record in transactions in the fintech sector, as well as because of its leading private equity franchise, Verdant Capital was named the best independent advisor of the year, pan-Africa, by Africa Global Funds, for the second year running in October 2021.

Founded in 2014 by Degbola Abudu and Folu Majekodunmi, Baxi is one of Nigeria’s largest independent SME-focused electronic payment networks. Baxi provides a comprehensive range of services to the last mile including cash-in/cash-out, account opening, money transfer and bill payment. Through its network of more than 90,000 agents, Baxi processed over USD 1 billion in transactions in the first nine months of 2021.  Following the close of the transaction, MFS Africa plans to build Baxi into a key node on its digital payment network, allowing customers to make regional and global payments to and from Nigeria. MFS Africa also intends to expand Baxi’s proposition for offline SMEs to select markets within MFS Africa’s footprint of 320 million mobile wallets across more than 35 African countries.

Strong agent networks are the crucial interface for fintechs to reach Nigeria’s circa 100 million financially unserved or underserved population. Supporting and nurturing SMEs is crucial to Nigeria’s economy, as they contribute 50% of Gross Domestic Product and provide 76% of jobs (source:  Federal Ministry of Information and Culture).  With its presence in all 36 Nigerian states, Baxi fills a critical gap by providing informal SMEs and other unbanked Nigerians access to financial services.  Verdant Capital is proud to support the leading businesses that support SMEs across the Continent.

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Company News

Cadbury Nigeria Recognised For Human Resource Management

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Cadbury Nigeria

Cadbury Nigeria Plc announced that it had been recognised as a top employer by the Netherlands-based Top Employers Institute, even as it stressed the importance of employee well-being.

Cadbury Nigeria, a subsidiary of Mondelēz International, made the announcement in a statement released on Wednesday as part of the celebration of its third annual purpose day.

The consumer goods manufacturer said it held a webinar for its employees anchored by experts in healthcare management.

The Managing Director, Cadbury Nigeria, Mrs. Oyeyimika Adeboye, said the company takes the well-being of its employees seriously, adding that they would give their best if they had the right mental attitude.

“That is the reason we organised the webinar by bringing in experts from Helen Keller International to speak to us on well-being, as part of our Purpose Day,” she said.

Adeboye added that the growing importance of holistic well-being made the company focus its annual Purpose Day activities this year exclusively on well-being in the areas of mind, body and connection.

The Country Director, Helen Keller International, Ms. Philomena Orji, was quoted as saying during her presentation, “Helen Keller is dedicated to scaling up evidence-based, cost-effective solutions to improve care practices and ensure that basic health interventions reach vulnerable people, with a focus on women, youth, and children.”

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