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Elon Musk’s Twitter Deal Poses the Multi-billion-dollar Question to Companies: Public v. Private?

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Elon Musk and Twitter

Elon Musk’s proposed $44 billion swoop on Twitter has highlighted a growing debate on the merits of companies staying or going private.

For now, the Tesla and SpaceX boss – and world’s richest man ($244 billion) – is said to have gone cool on taking over the social media platform.

Speculation here ranges from Musk recoiling from the pressure his eye-watering proposal is placing on Tesla’s stock, to claims that he aims to secure Twitter for much less than his original headline-grabbing offer.

Neither changes the fact that he vowed to take Twitter private if the deal goes ahead, prompting comment from progressive broker-dealer Rialto Markets, which is masterminding the rise of many successful high-growth companies who have no intention of ‘going public’.

Rialto Markets CEO and Co-founder Shari Noonan said: “Staying private delivers a flexibility that has been supercharged by crowdfunding from smaller investors and accredited investors who readily ‘buy in’ to a firm’s products or ethos, enabling company expansion free from potential constraints by big corporate shareholders or VCs and public scrutiny of their accounts and plans.

Noonan, who has just received the prestigious Instinet Positive Change Visionary Award at the 2022 Markets Choice Awards in New York, highlighted the electric vehicle company, ATLIS, which Rialto Markets helped to crowdfund $30 million during its crucial start-up phase.

It has also enabled crowdfunding for Digital Twin pioneer, Cityzenith, whose futuristic tech helps real estate owners and even whole cities cut their carbon emissions and running costs dramatically.

“In both cases, and typical of the new breed of companies liberated by the 2012 JOBS Act and its crowdfunding opportunities, ATLIS and Cityzenith have built investor communities who know they can offload their holdings for potential profit eventually, through a secondary market platform like our own ATS (automatic trading system).

“Public ownership puts other strong hands on the company in the form of major corporate investors, who must then be kept on board with the management’s business strategy.

“This isn’t always popular with visionary and entrepreneurial CEOs who want flexibility, particularly in the fast-moving tech sector.

“When Elon Musk announced his abortive plan to take Tesla private in 2018, he said this would enable it to be ‘free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible’.

“In Twitter’s case, he will see that the social platform went public in 2013 – for what then seemed a colossal $1.8 billion – but returned profits in 2018 and 2019 only.

“Though this makes his multi-billion dollar offer even more staggering, Musk must surely see greater profit potential for Twitter.

“The key stat is Twitter’s user base: less than 220 million, tiny against Facebook’s at around three billion or even TikTok’s one billion, but it must be argued that Twitter punches well above its weight in terms of influence so there is surely scope to boost numbers and, therefore, advertising revenues.

“All of which supports his intent to go private if his takeover succeeds: it means he doesn’t have a potentially powerful gang of shareholders who might slow his plans to change Twitter by say, insisting on an immediate drive for profitability when he prefers to play a longer game for greater rewards.”

Noonan added that it was not unusual for major public companies to go private, often to recover momentum away from alleged short-termism imposed by shareholders.

The computer giant, Dell went private from 2013-2018 to enable it to “be even more flexible and entrepreneurial” according to Founder Michael Dell, while the Hilton global hotel chain re-structured and expanded as a private company from 2007-2013.

Noonan added that private status also freed a company from the need to report its financial documents and other developments to the US Securities & Exchange Commission, which then become public information and available to scrutiny by competitors and other interested parties – perhaps would-be buyers, welcome or hostile.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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MTN Posts 20.2% Increases in PAT to N358.9 Billion in 2022

Total revenue raked in for the year stood at N2 trillion in 2022

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

MTN Nigeria has reported profit after tax for the fiscal year 2022 at N358.9 billion.

According to financial statement seen by Investors King, the amount is 20.2% greater than the N298.7 billion in the year 2021.

The report indicates a significant improvement across the financial result as the company increased its revenue in the face of challenges in 2022 due to global macroeconomic and geopolitical volatility, resulting in higher inflation, supply chain uncertainties, foreign exchange volatility and availability.

Total revenue raked in for the year stood at N2 trillion, a 21.5% jump from the N1.6 trillion in the previous year. This is owing to significant revenue from services, voice, data, fintech, digital and other services revenue.

During the period, mobile subscribers increased by 10.5% to 75.6 million as 7.2 million subscribers were added in 2022, while active data user increased by 15.3% to 39.5 million with 5.2 million active users added in 2022.

Similarly, active fintech subscribers rose by 57.5% to 14.9 million as the company saw additional 2 million active mobile money (MoMo) wallets since the launch of PSB while services revenue increased by 21.5% to N2.0 trillion.

EBITDA margin increased by 0.2 percentage points to 53.2% while the profit before tax grew by 22.3% to N534.0 billion

Speaking on the report, Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO noted that the company continued to manage and invest in the resilience of its business and networks, expanding coverage and capacity with a focus on expense efficiencies and disciplined capital allocation despite the hurdle.

He said, “We became the first mobile network operator to launch a 5G network in Nigeria, providing coverage in key cities in the six geopolitical regions. Since its commercial launch in September 2022, we have rolled out 588 sites and brought the 5G network to 5G-enabled smartphones, starting with iPhone users. In this regard, we made good progress towards the execution of Ambition 2025 while delivering commercial and financial performance in line with our medium-term guidance.”

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Airtel Increases 9 Months Profit by 1.7% to $523 Million

Total customer base increased to 138.5 million

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Telecommunications and mobile money services, Airtel Africa Plc has reported $523 million as profit after tax for nine months ended December 2022. The amount is 1.7% higher than the $514 million in the same period of the previous year.

According to the company’s financial report obtained by Investors King, revenue increased for the period by 17.3% to close at $3.9 billion compared to the $3.5 billion in the previous year. The increase was driven by increase in voice revenue, data revenue, mobile money revenue and other revenue.

While revenue growth in constant currency was 17.3% (18.0% in Q3’23) driven by double digit growth across all reporting segments, Mobile Services revenue in Nigeria grew by 20.9%, in East Africa by 11.9% and in Francophone Africa by 11.8% (and across the Group by 15.9%, with voice revenue growth of 12.7%and data revenue up 22.3%). Similarly, Mobile Money revenue grew by 29.8%, driven by 32.5% growth in East Africa and 21.7% in Francophone Africa.

During the period, total customer base increased to 138.5 million (up 10.1%), as the penetration of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving the data customer base up 13.6% and mobile money customer base up 22.2%. the company also saw ARPU growth of 7.2% in constant currency, largely driven by increased usage across voice, data, and mobile money and Mobile money transaction value increased by 37.0%, to an annualised value of almost $100 billion in Q3 2023.

EBITDA was $1,916 million, up 12.6% in reported currency and 17.3% in constant currency, with an EBITDA margin of 49.0%, increasing 20 basis points in reported currency and broadly flat in constant currency. According to the company, EBITDA growth was partially offset by higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $184 million.

Earnings Per Share before exceptional items was 10.8 cents, a reduction of 5.8% largely driven by higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $184 million. Basic EPS increased to 12.5% (up by 6.3%) as a result of deferred tax asset recognition in Kenya. Meanwhile, EPS before exceptional items and excluding foreign exchange and derivative losses increased by 21.6%.

Providing update on trading, Segun Ogunsanya, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa explained that the strong results are testament to this strategy despite the current macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainties.

He noted that the execution of its six-pillar strategy continues to provide the foundation for growth, driving 10% customer growth, supported by 14% growth in data customers and over 22% growth in mobile money customers. He added that higher usage across voice, data and money, have contributed to further ARPU growth of over 7%, resulting in 18% revenue growth in the quarter as penetration across each segment continues to increase.

He said, “I am particularly excited by the performance of our mobile money business, with annualized transaction value reaching nearly $100 billion, as we continue to drive financial inclusion in the continent. Despite the inflationary pressures across our markets, the strong revenue performance in the first nine months of the year, combined with continued focus on cost optimisation, contributed to EBITDA growth of over 17% in constant currency, with stable EBITDA margins. Our strong operating performance, combined with continued focus on our capital allocation priorities has facilitated the de-risking of our balance sheet with the early repayment of $450m HoldCo debt in July this year.”

Looking forward, he said the company will continue to invest in expanding its network and evolving its service offerings to further deepen both financial and digital inclusion across markets as the company has especially focused on enhancing its spectrum footprint across all our markets.

He added, “Over the last nine months we have spent almost $490 million on 4G and 5G spectrum across key markets to improve network capacity and quality, future-proof the company for continued growth opportunities and facilitate economic progress in all our markets. I am particularly pleased with these results which demonstrate the opportunities these markets offer, our ability to deliver against these opportunities and the contribution we make to local communities and economies across our footprint. For the remainder of the financial year, we continue to anticipate sustained growth in the business with continued EBITDA margin resilience.”

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Dangote Refinery: All You Need to Know About Dangote’s 650,000bpd Refinery

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Dangote refinery

Dangote Refinery is a multi-billion dollar oil refining project located in Lagos, Nigeria. The facility is owned by the Dangote Group, a conglomerate of companies owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Dangote Refinery is expected to be one of the largest oil refineries in the world when completed, with a refining capacity of up to 650,000 barrels per day, Investors King reports.

The construction of the Dangote Refinery began in 2016, with the aim of reducing Nigeria’s reliance on imported fuel and providing refined petroleum products to meet the growing demand in Africa. The project is located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, a special economic zone in Lagos, which offers tax incentives and streamlined processes for investors.

The Dangote Refinery will have a wide range of capabilities, including the production of gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, kerosene, and propane. The facility will also have an integrated petrochemical complex, which will produce chemicals such as ethylene, propylene, and butadiene. These products will be used to manufacture a variety of consumer goods, including plastics, textiles, and fertilizers.

The Dangote Refinery will have a significant impact on the Nigerian economy. The project is expected to create thousands of jobs, both during the construction phase and when the facility becomes operational. Additionally, the refinery will provide much-needed competition in the petroleum sector, which will help to reduce the cost of fuel and improve the availability of refined products in Nigeria.

The Dangote Refinery is a major milestone for Nigeria and for Africa as a whole. The project will not only boost the Nigerian economy but also enhance the country’s energy security and provide a much-needed source of refined petroleum products.

The Dangote Refinery is a testament to the Dangote Group’s commitment to investing in the future of Africa, and it is poised to make a significant impact on the region for many years to come.

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