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Amidst Covid-19 Crisis Coca-Cola Nigeria Unit Triples E-commerce sales

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Coca-cola - Investors King

Coca-Cola Co.’s Nigeria unit said it has seen a threefold increase in e-commerce sales this year after virus-induced lockdowns inspired a change in consumer habits in Africa’s most populous country.

The US beverage giant saw a sharp rise in online sales of its products after Africa’s largest economy joined the global trend of imposing movement restrictions on people to contain the spread of the virus, according to its chief executive officer.

“The first one month of Covid-19 was the pivot point,” for e-commerce penetration in the company, CEO Alfred Olajide said at an interview in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. “We have more than tripled the e-commerce business that we have in our portfolio,” he said without sharing details as the company isn’t listed in Nigeria.

According to a Bloomberg report, Nigeria is seen as a frontier for growth in e-commerce due to a largely youthful population with an average age of 18 and increased data penetration. The use of smartphones is poised to rise almost fourfold to 140 million by 2025, according to Statista.com, adding to the number of people going online to buy everything from groceries to garments.

The maker of Fanta and Sprite carbonated drinks and Eva water is partnering with online shopping firms including Jumia Technologies AG, a Berlin-based e-commerce platform that provides services in Lagos to push its products in the country, according to Olajide.

“Right now e-commerce orders as a proportion of sales are still in the single-digit but the ambition for us is to scale it to double-digit and make it a very big significant channel of choice for our consumers,” the CEO said without giving a timeline. “We are partnering to help the trend grow and you will see more of that coming through in our strategy.”

While high inflation rate and unemployment have eroded disposable income, the company is starting to see sales return in 2021 and probably match the pre-covid period as the economy improves, Olajide said.

Coca-Cola has adjusted prices and has “smaller, more value-based pack sizes to cater for consumers that have low disposable income,” the CEO said. That has helped sales recover this year after they took a knock in 2020, as the country experienced its worst economic contraction since at least 1991 due to measures to contain Covid-19.

The foreign exchange shortage hampering industries in Africa’s biggest crude producer has not impacted operations as it gets most of its inputs locally including plastics, crowns, labels and sugar, Olajide said. Concentrates imports are not that huge to cause a disruption to the business, he said.

“What we do as an organization is to look for ways to continue to be more efficient,” Olajide said. “There is a lot recovery happening in the business and I will peg it to the fact that the country itself is improving.”

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Merger and Acquisition

Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Now Highly Unlikely to Go Through

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Gartner semiconductor analyst Alan Priestly has said that Nvidia’s planned $40 billion acquisition of United Kingdom Chip Designer Arm is becoming more unlikely to be successful.

Priestly attributed this possible failure to the increasing number of regulatory inquiries which the deal is facing, also making mention of concerns in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States of America and China. Priestly said this to CNBC on Wednesday, with both Nvidia and Arm failing to respond immediately to a request for comment by CNBC.

The deal had previously eyed a completion date of March 2022, but the CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang had admitted in August that the deal may go beyond the anticipated date.

Arm was born out of an old computing company known as Acorn Computers back in 1990. The energy-efficient chips designed by the company are used in about 95% of smartphones around the world and 95% of chips designed in China. The company was bought by Japan-owned SoftBank in 2016 for about 24 billion pounds ($32 billion), authorizes its chip designs to over 500 companies who use these chips when making their own semiconductors.

Critics have concerns that the merger with Nvidia – who is responsible for designing its own chips – could hinder Arm’s semiconductor designs which have been dubbed neutral, and may then lead to increased prices, less available choices and reduced innovation across the industry. Nvidia however argues that the deal will result in more innovation and that Arm will benefit from an increase in investment.

American chip giant Broadcom has publicly shown support for the deal, but many others remain against it.

Qualcomm has stated that Nvidia could proceed to limit the supply of Arm’s technology to competitors, or even raise prices. Bloomberg reports that Google and Microsoft have raised similar concerns with regulators.

The United Kingdom announced back in November that it would be launching a full investigation into the takeover of Arm by Nvidia, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigating antitrust concerns and national security issues over the period of 24 weeks.

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Transcorp Plc Targets of 843MW Combined Capacity

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Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc disclosed plans to increase the combined available capacity of its power plants Trans Afam Power Limited (TAPL) and Transcorp Power Limited (TPL) to 843 Megawatt (MW).

The power plants are currently undergoing upgrades and repairs. It plans to raise the average available capacity in the Trans Afam Power plant to 166MW and to 677MW in the Transcorp Power Plant.

The Group CEO, Owen Omogaifo spoke at the company’s third-quarter 2021 Analysts presentation and investors conference call and said the company would leverage strategic relationships to sell its stranded capacity through the West African Power Project (WAPP), through partnerships with DisCos, directly to eligible customers among other means.

She went on to say “60 Percent of the population or 117 million people have some level of access to grid electricity, With a generation capacity of only 32 percent, there is a large gap to be filled in the power industry. Given the gap in the sector and the increasing demand for electricity, the power sector remains an attractive investment choice. Our plants are undergoing significant upgrades and repairs that will significantly increase the available capacity by December 2021. We plan to have an extensive engagement with TCN towards resolving several transmission challenges which are affecting our generation and evacuation capabilities.”

She went on to present the company’s financial performance for the third quarter. The company grew its Profit After Tax by 672.1 Percent from N1.75 billion in the prior year to N13.5 billion while earnings rose by 57.4 Percent to N85.59 billion from N54.38 billion in the prior period.

Transcorp Plc is a leading diversified conglomerate focused on acquiring and managing strategic businesses that create long-term value and socio-economic impact. Its subsidiaries include Transcop Hotels, Transcorp Power, and Transcorp Energy. The company is listed on the main board of the Nigerian Exchange Group.

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MTNN Still Maintaining the Largest Share – Coronation Merchant Bank

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

The latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, show that internet subscriptions stood at 140 million in October. This represents a y/y decline of -8.2%. However, we noticed a m/m increase of c.61,000 in subscriptions. The y/y decline can be partly attributed to the FGN’s subscriber identification Module (SIM) card regulation, which requires each SIM card to be linked to a National Identification Number (NIN). Based on our channel checks, the stress associated with the NIN-SIM linkage has resulted in customers abandoning SIMs of devices that are not their primary source for communication or internet connectivity.

Furthermore, over the past year, there has been a visible shift to fibre broadband internet subscription plans which do not require SIM cards to function. Residential estates are increasingly tilting towards this option given the heavy reliance on internet services at home due to the ongoing work-from-home approach.

Among the mobile network operators, MTN Nigeria (MTNN) accounted for the largest share (38%) of total subscriptions. We noticed from the commission’s data that in October MTNN recorded a 0.1% m/m increase in internet subscriptions. Airtel and Glo recorded m/m increases of 1.6% and 0.7% respectively. Meanwhile, 9mobile recorded a m/m decline of -1.3%.

Furthermore, the commission’s data show that outgoing porting activities was highest for 9mobile while Airtel was the chief recipient of incoming porting activities.

The latest earnings release by MTNN show that revenue grew by 22.9% y/y in Q3, compared to the 31.4% y/y growth it delivered in Q2. The solid sales growth was largely driven by a 57.3% y/y growth in data revenue, on the back of sustained data demand supported by fintech, digital services and partly by base effect.

Broadband penetration currently stands at 39.8%. Based on the national broadband plan 2020-2025, the FGN projects a broadband penetration target of 70% by 2025. In March, Anambra state waived right-of-way (RoW) fees for telecom operators as part of the state’s efforts to drive broadband expansion. The harmonisation of right-of-way (RoW) charges across states and local government areas would assist with boosting broadband penetration. The FGN proposed a RoW fee of N145 per linear meter of fibre.

We understand that the NCC plans to auction two slots of 3.5GHz spectrum license this month. The sale of these slots of 3.5GHz spectrum is expected to facilitate 5G rollout across the country. The commission disclosed that the remaining three slots will be auctioned over the next two years. The NCC has pegged the reserve price for the 3.5GHz spectrum at USD197.4m. Industry sources suggest that the successful 5G rollout will result in a boost to internet data speed at ultra-low latency as well as more reliable and increased network capability.

Turning to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) capital importation into the telecommunications sector declined by -99.7% y/y to c.USD342,000 in Q2 ’21. This significant decline in investments into the sector can be linked to general investor apathy given the hazy macroeconomic environment triggered by the pandemic as well as infrastructure deficit in the telecommunications sector, high cost of services, low digital literacy, among others.

For Nigeria to become an active member of the current digital transformation within the global village, huge investments in telecommunications infrastructure are required. A deepened broadband penetration feeds directly into better internet access and the ripple effect of the latter on the economy attracts immeasurable benefits.

According to the latest national accounts, telecommunications posted double digit growth of 10.9% y/y in Q3 2021. Furthermore, the latest inflation report shows that communications prices rose by 10.6% y/y in October compared with 10.7% y/y recorded in the previous month. The telecommunications segment was already expanding rapidly and has been further boosted by the prevalence of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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