Fitch Ratings has assigned Ecobank Nigeria Limited (ENG) a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘B-‘ with a Stable Outlook, Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b-‘ and National Long-Term Rating of ‘BBB (nga)’. The report, released Thursday, noted that Ecobank Nigeria IDRs are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR).
The VR reflects the constraint of Nigeria’s challenging operating environment and modest core capital buffers amongst others. This is balanced by company profile strengths as well as a solid funding profile and good foreign-currency liquidity, which is enhanced by prudent liquidity management by the Ecobank group.
According to Fitch, “the Stable Outlook on ENG’s Long-Term IDR reflects our view that the bank has sufficient headroom at its current rating to absorb moderate shocks from sustained downside risks to the operating environment, the heightened level of risk in doing banking business in Nigeria and the ensuing risks to its financial performance (particularly asset quality) over the next 12-18 months. The Stable Outlook also reflects our expectations that capitalisation will remain resilient over this period with the bank maintaining adequate buffers over the minimum regulatory requirements”.
Fitch Rating reported that the VR benefits from ENG’s company profile strengths of being part of the leading pan-African Ecobank group. ENG is a 100% owned subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI; B-/Stable). ETI is a regional bank holding company with fully-fledged banking subsidiaries in 33 African countries (collectively the group). The group also has a banking license in France and representative offices in Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Beijing, London, and Dubai. The group’s operations are highly integrated, with all entities connected to a common operating platform and risk management framework, and common branding.
ENG is a material subsidiary for ETI, and its largest single entity, contributing to 23% of group assets at end-9M20. ETI continues to implement a turnaround strategy at Ecobank Nigeria, having deleveraged and de-risked the bank in recent years, although it returned to growth in 2020 and plans above-sector-average loan growth in the medium term. Fitch noted that ENG’s management quality is a relative strength, with ETI appointing experienced bankers to Ecobank Nigeria’s senior team.
“ENG has a solid funding profile, with low-cost current and savings accounts reaching 58% of total deposits at end-9M20 helping the bank to reduce its cost of funding. It has achieved good deposit growth through the expansion of digital channels and its financial inclusion initiatives. Retail and SME deposits to account for 58% of total customer deposits at end-9M20, which results in reasonable deposit concentration, with the top 20 customer deposits representing 29% of the total”. The report stated.
Fitch Ratings also views ENG’s liquidity management as prudent with contingency plans in place. Local-currency liquidity is underpinned by a high share of liquid assets (cash, interbank placements and sovereign securities) representing more than 50% of total assets at end-9M20. ENG’s foreign-currency funding benefits from sizeable interbank deposits, which represented about 15% of total funding at end-9M20. More than half of these deposits (about USD400 million) came from ETI’s affiliates at end-9M20. This reflects the group’s well-established inter-affiliate short-term deposit placement programme (IAP), amounting to USD650 million at end-1H20, which provides ENG with a significant competitive advantage compared with most other Nigerian banks, as ENG is able to rely on IAP funding when foreign-currency liquidity conditions temporarily tighten in Nigeria.
Q4 Report: Jumia Maintains 12% Gross Profit Increase YoY
….. as Business rebalancing drives growth
Africa’s leading ecommerce platform, Jumia has reported gross profit of €27.9 million, translating to a year-over-year increase of 12% in its 2020 Q4 and full year report released on Wednesday. The report by the pan African etailer showed that Gross Profit after Fulfillment Expense reached a record of €8.4m.
According to the company, business mix rebalancing, alongside enhanced promotional discipline, was a meaningful driver of economic improvement experienced throughout 2020, as the brand continues its progress towards profitability.
“While 2020 has been a challenging year operationally with COVID-19 related supply and logistics disruption, it has been a transformative one for our economic model, as we firmly put the business on track towards breakeven.
We continued to make significant strides towards profitability during the fourth quarter of 2020. Gross Profit after Fulfillment expense reached a record €8.4 million during the quarter. In parallel, efficiencies across the full cost structure allowed us to decrease Fulfillment, Sales & Advertising and General & Administrative expenses (excluding share-based compensation) by 18%, 34% and 36% respectively, year-over-year.
As a result, Adjusted EBITDA loss contracted by 47% year-over-year, reaching €28.3 million. In addition, we raised approximately €203 million in a primary offering in December 2020,” commented Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Jumia.
As contained in the report, Total Payment Volume on JumiaPay reached €59.3 million, increasing by 30% year-over-year. On-platform TPV penetration increased from 15.6% of GMV in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 25.7% of GMV in the fourth quarter of 2020. JumiaPay Transactions increased by 10% from 2.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Overall, the report showed that 33.1% of orders placed on the Jumia platform in the fourth quarter of 2020 were paid for using JumiaPay.
Jumia’s annual active consumers reached 6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 12% year-over-year with continued growth in both new and returning customers. This cascaded to increased sales on the platform, as Jumia’s 2020 Black Friday sales records surpassed that of the previous year.
The platform recorded 1.5 billion page views, up 34% when compared to 2019, while video content registered almost 100 million views, 3 times higher compared to the 2019 event. The report showed that more than 41,500 sellers participated in the 2020 event, with the top 20 sellers registering 141% growth in items sold in the 2020 Black Fridays compared to the same period in 2019.
The brand also recorded impressive figures on platform monetization. As contained in the report, Jumia Logistic service which was opened to third parties in 2020, shipped almost half a million packages on behalf of more than 270 clients.
According to the report, Jumia is also making meaningful progress in the reduction of the overall rate of Cancellations, Failed Deliveries and Returns (CFDR). “The CFDR rate as a percentage of GMV improved from 30% in 2019 to 25% in 2020. The CFDR rate as a percentage of Orders improved from 22% in 2019 to 16% in 2020.
The CFDR rate is typically lower when expressed as a percentage of Orders than GMV as higher average item value orders tend to show higher CFDR rates. As a result of the significant improvement in CFDR ratios, year-over-year trajectory of GMV and Orders after CFDR compares favorably vs pre CFDR. GMV was down 19% in 2020 while GMV after CFDR was down 12% and Orders increased by 5% while Orders after CFDR increased by 14% over the same period,” The report read.
The company also stated that General & Administrative expenses, excluding SBC, reached €21.8 million, down 36% on a year-over-year basis. This significant decrease was attributable to staff costs savings as a result of the portfolio optimization and headcount rationalization initiatives launched in the fourth quarter of 2019, alongside a decrease in professional fees, including legal expenses.
Jumia also reported operating loss of €40.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, while Adjusted EBITDA loss was €28.3 million, decreasing by 35% and 47% on a year-over-year basis respectively.
ACCESS BANK COMMENCES ACCELERATOR PROGRAM, TO EMPOWER STARTUPS THROUGHS AFRICA FINTECH FOUNDRY (AFF)
The Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF), an initiative of Access Bank Plc has commenced its accelerator programs.
The initiative is set to empower emerging startups, with mentorship programs, advisory and has committed N10 million in cash to the top three finalists.
The accelerator program which opened its entries last month, received 306 registrations and after rigorous assessments was later shortlisted to 30 participants.
Theses finalists were further screened by the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Mr. Daniel Awe; Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede; and Vice President, Investments MBO Capital and Fintech Consultant, Mr. Oshone Ikazobor, in a bid to narrow it down to 10 -15 finalist.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Awe said the AFF was committed to empowering startups with resources and to ensure start-ups are equipped to scale their businesses.
He said: “If a start-up has an idea and you throw it into a market of 42 million customers, the acceleration is going to be faster. So, it is using the entire ecosystem of our group to build the future of the country.”
“In the next 10 years, these guys coming here we see them becoming a unicorn worth over $100 million and a season is coming where would see these startups becoming the next drivers of our economy.”
On funding available for the start-ups, he added: “Funding is based on ideas and what would be required to move the idea forward. We have a commitment of about N10 million. After they come into the accelerator program, there are a top three but the other ones are going to be exposed to investors.
“This initiative would have a direct impact into the economy because it is targeted at the medium scale businesses and these are the businesses that can change economies in terms of reducing employment rate and socioeconomic levels.”
Also speaking at the event, the Head, Retail Product Insight and Capabilities, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Rob Giles said: “We are looking for companies with ideas that can solve real world problems and were we are different from venture capital firms is we offer an environment where startups can be supported, nurtured, advised and get access to people who are further ahead on their journey like mentors.
“We have seen three companies that can go all the way and our job is to make sure they stay the course and structure their foundations from the very beginning that would allow them to scale.”
Furthermore, speaking to one of the participating startups, the Founder, Farm Delight Ms. Love Uduma, a start-up focused on agriculture value chain from production to distribution and consumption said this platform is an impactful stream for startups to get support from.
On her expectation, she said: “I am expecting tech support and a good relationship with the tech community. We have the agricultural aspect covered but we need the technology assistance and also funding.”
Nigerian Breweries Declares N337 Billion Revenue For 2020
Nigerian Breweries Plc has declared a revenue of N337.01 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020.
The revenue represented an increase of 4.3 per cent compared with N323 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.
The company disclosed this in its audited financial statement to newsmen signed by its Legal Director/Secretary, Mr Uaboi Agbebaku, on Monday, in Lagos.
He said that the company posted a profit after tax of N7.52 billion during the review period against N16.1 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2019.
Agbebaku said that the board of directors would be recommending to the shareholders at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) a total dividend of N7.52 billion.
“Recall that the company had earlier in 2020, paid an interim dividend of N1.99 billion which translated to 25k per share.
“The final proposed dividend of N5.52 billion at 69k per share will be payable to shareholders upon approval on April 23,” he said.
Agbebaku said that only qualifying shareholders whose names appear on the company’s Register of Members at the close of business on March 10 would be paid the final dividend.
“Directors would also be recommending to shareholders for their approval at the forthcoming AGM, a right of election for qualifying shareholders to receive new ordinary shares in the company as against the final dividend in cash,” he added.
According to Agbebaku, the board of directors expressed confidence in the company’s position to continue to deliver return on investment to shareholders.
He added that the company remained committed to not only keeping its balance sheet strong but ensuring that the health, safety and welfare of its employees, customers and partners were protected.
Agbebaku noted that the company made various donations in cash and kind valued at about N531 million out of a phased commitment of N600 million to the federal and seven state governments COVID-19 Task Forces Relief Funds.
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