- Nigerian cinema has best-ever box office returns
Despite a gloomy economy and an uncertain outlook, the Nigerian movie industry has just enjoyed its best year at the box-office with an amazing N1 billion from a record 50 locally-produced titles. After years of predictions, it seems that Nollywood is finally delivering on its promise and putting quality before quantity.
As a result, movie-goers have rewarded the industry with a massive increase in cinema ticket sales. The N1 billion bonanza, represents nearly 30 percent of the N3.5 billion generated from just 28 cinemas across Nigeria, which includes movies from Hollywood and around the world.
The Wedding Party, Nigeria’s latest blockbuster movie, has broken box-office records at every milestone since it was released nationwide to critical acclaim on December 16. It took just two weeks to eclipse the record of N176 million held by AY’s A Trip to Jamaica, emerging with a staggering N200 million before the New Year weekend was over. Both films led a strong lineup of popular Nigerian films in 2016, including Wives on Strike, The CEO, 93 Days and ‘76.
A Trip to Jamaica had an amazing run during September-October and looked set to close the year as the box-office champion. However, The Wedding Party hit the cinemas with the biggest opening weekend in Nollywood history with N36 million; the best-ever opening week with N66 million; the biggest week ever with N110 million; and a jaw-dropping Christmas box-office total of N146 million.
What followed appears to be unprecedented, with cinemas in many parts of the country reporting sold-out screens throughout the rest of the holiday season, as excited fans who saw earlier screenings returned for a second round, often with friends and family in tow. Much of the appeal of the film is due to a heartwarming storyline, beautiful sets and gorgeous costumes, while most of the audience can identify with the lavish Nigerian wedding, contentious relatives and almost-chaotic proceedings that defy even the most careful planning.
This amazing response to a Nigerian film suggests that the producers, ELFIKE Film Collective, were right to assemble such a stellar cast and to trust director, Kemi Adetiba, to guide them to superb performances. Relative newcomers like Banky W and Adesua Etomi look comfortable alongside veteran actors, Richard Mofe-Damijo and Ireti Doyle, while the comedy genius of Sola Sobowale, Ali Baba and AY shine through. ELFIKE relied on the collective experience of the partners, EbonyLife Films, Film One, Koga Studios and Inkblot Productions, to ensure high production values throughout.
According to the executive producer, Mo Abudu, “We really believe that the Nigerian consumer will support ‘made in Nigeria’ products if the quality is comparable to international standards. We wanted to create a film that would make our people proud and the response of movie-goers suggests that we have succeeded. Equally important has been the support of so many sponsors, including Dubai Tourism, Airtel, Diageo and Bank of Industry, who were instrumental in getting us off to an amazing start.”
COO of FilmOne Distribution, Moses Babatope, is delighted by the public response, noting enthusiastically, “This has been an amazing year for Nigerian cinema. With returns of well over N200 million, The Wedding Party is on track to deliver numbers we have never seen before for a Nigerian film. It’s important to note that it is selling more tickets than Rogue One, part of the Star Wars franchise and the biggest film worldwide this season. For the first time, Nollywood is competing with Hollywood at the Nigerian box-office and winning.”
The Wedding Party is only the second film produced by EbonyLife Films. It’s predecessor, Fifty, was the most successful film at the Nigerian box-office in 2015 and has spawned a television series due to air on EbonyLife TV in 2017. Fifty was the only Nigerian film and one of only five African films from a global selection of 238 films to be screened at the 59th BFI London Film Festival.
There are two new films in the works, including a sequel to The Wedding Party that will ensure more outstanding commercial success for EbonyLife in 2017/18. The Wedding Party is still showing at all cinemas across Nigeria.
Finances of International Oil Companies Suffered in the Second Quarter
Finances of IOCs Plunged Amid COVID-19 Pandemic in the Second Quarter
Global leading oil companies suffered substantial losses in the second quarter, according to their various financial statements published in recent weeks.
On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell posted $18.9 billion loss in the second quarter of 2020, far below the profit of $3.5 billion posted in the same quarter of 2019.
This, the company attributed to the plunge in global oil prices in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shell warned that oil demand remained uncertain, adding that it had cut its exploration plans for this year from about 77 wells to just 22.
This was after the price of Brent crude oil plunged to $15 per barrel during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic while the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dipped to -$37 per barrel, the lowest on record.
Also, the company said it has reduced its capital expenditure for the year from the initial $25 billion to $20 billion amid a plunge in revenue and demand for the commodity.
Similarly, ExxonMobil reported a $1.1 billion loss, its biggest decline on record. The oil company also announced it would be lowing spending by 30 percent in 2020 to about $23 billion.
Among the various oil companies posting negative financial statements for the quarter was Chevron Corporation, the company reported $8.3 billion decline in the second quarter of the year. The lowest ever posted by the oil giant in almost three decades.
Chevron, therefore, warned that the havoc caused by COVID-19 pandemic in the energy sector might continue to weigh on earnings.
“While demand and commodity prices have shown signs of recovery, they are not back to pre-pandemic levels, and financial results may continue to be depressed into the third quarter of 2020,” Chevron’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Wirth, said.
Oil Halts Bullish Run as US Oil Inventories Rises Than Expected Last Week
Oil Caps Gain as US Oil Inventories Rises Than Expected Last Week
Oil prices halted its bullish run on Wednesday after data from a group known as the American Petroleum Institute (API) revealed that U.S. crude inventories expanded by 7.5 million barrels last week, higher than the expected 2.1 million barrels.
This surged in oil inventories damped the recent increase in oil prices brought about by the renewed hope in COVID-19 vaccines and the 750 billion Euro ($859 billion) stimulus announced by the European Central Bank (ECB) to prop up economies – within the region – affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose to $44.86 barrel per day on Tuesday before pulling back to $43.80 on Wednesday during the London trading session.
The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose as high as $42.48 per barrel on Tuesday before hitting $41.31 a barrel on Wednesday following the release of the data.
“Crude’s rally hit a brick wall after the API report showed a sharp rise in stockpiles and on President Trump’s warning that the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is likely to worsen,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.
“The crude demand outlook just got a double whammy with what could be the biggest rise in stockpiles since late May if confirmed by the EIA report tomorrow and on Trump’s downbeat virus briefing,” Moya said.
The official crude oil inventories data would be released on Wednesday by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Hits US$10.3bn in Q1 2020
Sub Saharan Africa M&A Hits US$10.3bn in Q1 2020
South Africa – Refinitiv today released the 2020 first-half investment banking analysis for the Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the report, investment banking fees in Sub-Saharan Africa reached an estimated US$64.5 million during the second quarter of 2020, half the value recorded during the first quarter of 2020 and the lowest quarterly total since Q1 2012.
Around US$196.1 million worth of fees were earned in the region during the first half of 2020, down 27% from last year and a six-year low with fee declines recorded across M&A advisory, debt capital markets underwriting, and syndicated lending. Debt capital markets underwriting fees declined 45% to US$26.2 million, marking the lowest first half year total for bond fees in the region since 2016. Advisory fees earned from completed M&A transactions generated US$43.4 million, down 50% year-on-year to the lowest first half level since 2005, while syndicated lending fees fell 36% to a six-year low of US$71.5 million. Equity capital markets underwriting fees increased 164% year-on-year to US$55.1 million.
Government & Agency fees accounted for 26% of total investment banking fees earned in the region during the first half of 2020, up from 14% during the same period last year. South Africa generated the most fees in the region during the first six months of the year, a total of US$108.4 million accounting for 55%, followed by Nigeria with 13%. JP Morgan earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first six months of 2020, a total of US$23.1 million or an 11.8% share of the total fee pool.
As for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), the value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$10.3 billion during the first six months of 2020, 44% less than the value recorded during the same period in 2019, and a two-year low. The number of deals declined 18% over the same period. After just US$424.5 million worth of deals were recorded in April, marking the lowest monthly M&A total since October 2005, activity increased for two consecutive months to reach US$3.0 billion in June, a nine-month high.
Deals with a Sub-Saharan African target declined 76% by value to an eighteen-year low of US$3.2 billion, as domestic M&A within the region declined 71% from last year and the combined value of inbound M&A deals reached just US$1.2 billion, the lowest first-half level in more than two decades. The largest deal involving a Sub-Saharan African target was announced at the end of May – Afrimat’s US$644.3 million acquisition of South African mine operator Unicorn Capital Partners.
Deals in the materials sector accounted for 46% of Sub-Saharan African target M&A activity during the first six months of 2020. South Africa was the most targeted nation, followed by Uganda and Nigeria. Outbound M&A totalled US$3.6 billion during the first six months of 2020, 67% more than the value recorded during the same period in 2019, despite a 22% decline in the number of deals. With advisory work on eleven deals with a combined value of U$1.7 billion, JP Morgan holds to the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during the first six months of 2020.
In the Equity Capital Market space, Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance totaled US$1.5 billion during the first half of 2020, 16% more than the value recorded during the same period last year, but lower than every other first half total since 2009. The number of deals recorded declined by 29% to the lowest first half tally since 2009.
Only one initial public offering was recorded during the first six months of the year. Malawian telecoms company, Airtel Malawi, raised US$28.7 million on the Malawi Stock Exchange in February. JP Morgan took first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during the first six months of 2020.
As for Debt Capital Markets, the African Development Bank raised $3 billion in a “Fight Covid-19” social bond at the end of March to help alleviate the economic and social impact the Coronavirus pandemic will have on livelihoods and economies in the region. With this deal, and Ghana’s US$3 billion Eurobond in February, Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$8.9 billion during the first quarter of 2020, the second-highest first quarter DCM total in the region of all-time. Only US$1.9 billion was raised during the second quarter, taking the value raised during the first six months of 2020 to US$10.7 billion, down 14% from last year and a four-year low. Deutsche Bank took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond underwriter ranking during 1H 2020 with US$1.7 billion of related proceeds, or a 16% market share.
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