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

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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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Total Nigeria Rebounds from 2020 COVID-19 Damages, Grows Profit by 1,601 Percent to N8.1 Billion in H1 2021

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Total Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Total, grew revenue by 42 percent from N106.705 billion recorded in the first half (H1) of 2020 to N151.333 billion in the first half of 2021.

In the company’s unaudited financial statements for the period, the cost of sales inched higher by 33.4 percent from N94.305 billion filed in the first half of 2020 to N124.83 billion in the period under review.

Total Nigeria’s gross profit appreciated by 105.7 percent to N25.504 billion in the first half of 2021, up from N12.400 billion in the corresponding period of 2020.

The company grew operating profit to N12.526 billion in the first half from -N716.812 million achieved in the first half of 2020 during the peak of COVID-19.

Profit before minimum tax jumped by 2,358 percent from -N523.898 million in H1 2020 to N11.779 billion in the period under review.

Total Nigeria paid N3.713 billion as income tax in the first half of 2021 to take the total profit after tax to N8.1 billion, a 1,601 percent increase from -N537.188 million posted in the corresponding period.

Shareholders’ funds expanded by 17 percent to N32.821 billion from N28.151 billion in H1 2020.

Total Nigeria’s share price grew by 49 percent during the period under review to N145.00 a share, up from N97.50 a unit in the first half of 2020.

Earnings per share jumped from -N1.58 in H1 2020 to N23 in H1 2021.

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CBN Approves BUA Sugar Refinery, Dangote Sugar Refinery and Golden Sugar Company to Import Sugar into Nigeria

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The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday said it has approved BUA Sugar Refinery Limited, Dangote Sugar Refinery and Golden Sugar Company to import sugar into Nigeria given their commitment to ensuring the country is sugar sufficient through their backward integration.

This was contained in a statement signed by Dr. O.S Nnaji, Director Trade and Exchange Department, CBN.

The decision is in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s plan to encourage and incentivize sugar refining companies in their Backward Integration Program (BIP) for local sugar production.

This will allow the three companies to sustain production while simultaneously building their backward integration in the sector.

However, the apex bank said, “Authorised Dealers shall Not open Forms M or Access foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market for any company including the three listed above for the importation of sugar without the prior and express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the Bank is charged with the mandate of monitoring the implementation of the backward integration programs of all the companies.”

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JPMorgan On A Blockchain Hiring Spree

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JPMorgan is on a hiring spree for its blockchain unit, seeking to fill positions across audit, engineering and marketing, several LinkedIn postings reveal.

The bank — which has been active in the blockchain space for several years — announced in October 2020 that it would bring all of its blockchain-related products and services under a new business unit, dubbed Onyx. Those services including Liink, a blockchain network of hundreds of financial-services firms and corporations, as well as its Coin Systems business, as per its website.

As for the job ads, JPMorgan has plastered dozens of new postings on LinkedIn, including engineering-related roles. One role for a blockchain platform software engineer is looking for someone with a background in proof of stake, Ethereum, and bitcoin and would create a “forum for innovation with the blockchain technology community that drives thought leadership around the digital architecture roadmap and strategy.”

There’s also evidence the firm wants a stronger external presence for the blockchain work being worked on at the firm.

“This individual will drive the Liink marketing strategy by developing a thorough understanding of our strategic objectives, positioning, brand voice, and offerings so that you can create consistent and engaging content across multiple touchpoints,” the ad reads. The person hired would be tasked with creating marketing strategies that “spark engagement — both internally and externally.”

The bank added that they want the person to have a sense of humor that is a touch irreverent.

JPMorgan has already made quite a number of big-ticket marketing hires for Onyx. At the beginning of the year, Ariana Gianacopoulos — formerly VP of global commercial marketing at Conde Nast — joined the firm as a marketing director.

Ray Beharry — previously a marketing executive for IBM’s cloud services division — also joined at the beginning of the year as head of marketing at Onyx, as per his LinkedIn.

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