BUSINESS A.M. FEBRUARY, MONDAY 12 - SUNDAY 18, 2018 20 COMPANY L–R: Chinedu Moghalu, regional head, NEXIM Bank, Enugu; Obiora Madu; Gertrude Ukoa, head, NEPC, Enugu, and Anayo Agu, SME Centre, Enugu NEXIM’s N5bn lifeline for Multi-Trex on table awaiting AMCON clearance Ajose Sehindemi MULTI-TREX INTEGRAT- ED Foods Plc, the indigenous production company, long troubled over a mounting of debts that led to the intervention of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AM- CON) could be in for a lifeline as the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) says it has N5billion facility on the table to revamp the company and bring it back to production. Information available to business a.m. suggest that access to this facility will depend on how quickly AMCON provide clearance to Multi-Trex. The N5 billion is expected to be sourced from a cocktail of funds that have been made available for such purposes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), including a N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF) and another N50 billion Export Development Fund (EDF). Both funds are targeted at export oriented businesses to boost their businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the foreign exchange revenue earnings of the country, for which Multi- Trex qualifies for. Abba Bello, chief executive officer of NEXIM, said once AMCON gives clearance to the company, the facility would be made available. He made this pledge over the weekend at Multi-Trext factory in Warapa, Ogun State, during an oversight visit by the House of Representatives’ committee on banking and currency, led by Jones Onyereri, its chairman. Bello said the value addition of the company to the growth of foreign exchange and the gross domestic product of the country is the core reason for the intervention by NEXIM as the company’s factory, when operational can employ 1,500 workers with the huge number of indirect employments that the community will benefit from. For two years now Multi- Trex has been under AM- CON’s receivership over its indebtedness to financial institutions which AMCON bought over from the deposit money banks. It was only in September, 2017 that AMCON and the company reached a mutual agreement to settle the matter. AMCON laid claims to a debt of N13.3 billion being the contested sum of N8.5 billion eligible bank asset (EBA), bought from Skye Bank, plus AMCON’s own interest calculated for the period that the company has been prohibited by CBN from accessing working capital for its operations. Multi-Trex had faulted the procedure and claimed its acquisition by AMCON was unlawful as it was performing and meeting all its financial obligations with Skye Bank before the N8.5 EBA was acquired. Multi- Trex insisted on the sum of N6 billion agreed with AMCON as full and final settlement. The CBN ban came via its issued guideline of September 17, 2012, prohibiting Abba Bello, chief executive officer, NEXIM I tell them that I am too old to start something new as dreams are better continued by those that started them all Nigerian deposit money banks from lending to individuals and corporate bodies whose loans of up to N5 billion has been taken over by AMCON. Bello said Multi-Trex Integrated, which is the largest cocoa processor company in the country was encouraged to begin production as cocoa is the largest non oil export of the country and with it being in business, more foreign exchange can be earned from cocoa. He said the bank was ready to support other industries that are value addition based, which he said can guarantee jobs for the teeming population. Onyereri said the situation with the company should not have arisen in the first place as AMCON ought to have considered the situation before closing down the company. He said he is delighted to have visited the company and will use all within his means to make sure that the CBN takes urgent actions to expedite the recovery process. He said there is an urgent need to engage the private sector as it is annoying for the country to be termed the biggest economy in Africa, yet private sectors contribution to GDP remains low. He said: “I wished l had been made aware of the situation earlier than now though it’s not too late as the company ought to be encouraged by government and not what it has experienced. NEXIM should do well enough to put a project manager that will monitor the fund disbursement and other details as foreign exchange figures of the country will receive a boost once the company starts production and exportation.” Dimeji Owofemi, the vice chairman and chief executive officer of Multi-Trex said it was the company’s expansion drive that led it to seek for more funds to finance the expansion in 2008; but that it led to this current predicament as its private placement experienced a technical failure, leading to problems with its bankers. He said a tripartite agreement between NEXIM, Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the Bank of Industry (BoI),with NEXIM leading, will quicken up the recovery process for full production to begin. “I have been in the cocoa business since July1 1987,which makes it 31 years now and people are saying that I should move on. I tell them that I am too old to start something new as dreams are better continued by those that started them, hence the resilience to see the company back to production. I have learnt my lessons from the situation and it won’t happen again,” he added. Nestlé’s N4.1bn ready-to-drink Milo factory to create 100 new jobs Ajose Sehindemi THE N4.1 BILLION INVESTMENT in a new Ready- To-Drink Milo factory by Swiss transnational food and drink company, Nestle, opened last week by vice president Yemi Osinbajo, will create 100 additional new jobs in the economy, business a.m. has been told. The investment in the new beverage production plant became necessary, business a.m. learnt, to enable its Nigerian arm, Nestle Nigeria plc, meet the growing consumer demand of its product. The new plant is part of the existing Agbara factory, which has been operating for 37 years. The plant is equipped with the latest state of the art technology and adopts high safety and environmental standards, according to an information sheet made available by the company. While declaring the plant opened, Osinbajo said: “This new plant is a reflection of the continued confidence the industry has in the robustness of our economy. We are grateful to Nestlé for these significant investments, particularly for locating its factories in rural communities and sourcing its raw materials from local farmers contributing to the sustainable development of Nigeria.” The new plant produces Nestlé Milo Ready-To-Drink (RTD) beverage in 180ml cartons and has a yearly production capacity of above 8,000 tonnes. Launched in October 2017, Milo RTD is made from natural milk, malt and cocoa. The company described the drink as providing essential nutrients and that it is fortified with Nestlé’s unique blend of vitamins, ACTIV- GO (Vitamins B3, B2, B6, B12, vitamin C, and vitamin D) and minerals including Calcium and Iron. Mauricio Alarcon, the chief executive officer of Nestlé Nigeria said: “The new Nestlé Milo RTD is complementing the existing range of offerings of our iconic Milo brand. It is conveniently packaged to offer the unique Milo taste and meet the nutrition needs of active children on the go. This is in line with the company’s commitments to enable healthier and happier lives. “This new production plant is a true reflection of how Nestlé creates shared value for all, by providing good jobs, sourcing 80 per cent of our inputs with local farmers and investing in the development of rural communities,” he added. Nestlé has been operating in Nigeria since 1961. With staff strength of over 2,300 direct employees, three manufacturing sites, eight branch offices and a head office located in Lagos, Nestlé is a major player in the Nigerian economy. It products include Maggi, Milo, Golden Morn, Nescafé and Nestlé Pure Life. The new plant is part of the existing Agbara factory
BUSINESS A.M. FEBRUARY, MONDAY 12 - SUNDAY 18, 2018 COMPANY Hedge Funds 21 Guinness makes board change, appoints Njoroge executive director Ajose Sehindemi Guinness Nigeria Plc. has notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the investing public of a change in its board following the resignation of Ronald Plumridge as executive director. In a notification to the NSE last Friday, Guinness said it has approved the appointment of Stanley Njoroge as replacement to Plumridge effective March 1, 2018. Njoroge is a certified public accountant and member of the Institute of Certified Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK). He is an alumnus of both the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University in Nairobi Kenya. Within the Diageo family, he has held a number of key finance leadership roles across Asia and Africa including financial controller of EABI; finance director of PT Gitaswara Indonesia and finance director of Meta Abo Brewery SC/ Diageo Ethiopia. THIS WEEK ISN’T TURN- ING out to be great one for Uber in Japan. Two of its investors — Didi and SoftBank — are teaming up to launch a rival service, while one of its existing competitors has just landed a big cash infusion and highly influential backer after Toyota backed JapanTaxi. The auto giant said it will invest 7.5 billion JPY ($69 billion) into JapanTaxi, an Uber-like service that is owned by Ichiro Kawanabe, who runs Japan’s largest taxi operator Ni- He is an alumnus of both the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University in Nairobi Kenya Toyota invests $69M in Japanese Uber rival backed by the taxi industry Ajose Sehindemi JapanTaxi also offers a fare calculator app if you took a taxi offline, and an app for booking rides for children In his most recent role as the Diageo global audit and risk director, Africa and Europe, he was responsible for providing assurance to the audit committee of Diageo Plc’s board of directors on the management of risks across Diageo businesses in Africa (Nigeria, East Africa, South Africa, and Africa regional markets) and Europe. hon Kotsu and heads up the country’s taxi federation. Toyota is also an Uber investor and it previously backed JapanTaxi via $4.5 million investment from its Mirai Creation Fund, according to Bloomberg. These new funds will go towards developing the service further, while Toyota said it plans “cooperation and business collaboration in such areas as connected terminals for taxis, the joint development of vehicle-dispatch support systems, and big-data collection.” JapanTaxi also offers a fare calculator app if you took a taxi offline, and an app for booking rides for children. Uber doesn’t provide business information or user numbers for its business Japan or other markets in Asia. However, it is said to account for less than one percent of Tokyo’s taxi market. JapanTaxi, meanwhile, claims four million downloads and 60,000 taxis — or around one-quarter of all taxi drivers in Japan — on its platform. Messaging app Line is another competitor in Japan, where peer-topeer rides are banned. Line’s hailing service sits inside its app — which is Japan’s most popular messenger — and it has integrated with taxi operators that include Nihon Kotsu, but it is unclear how popular it is now following its 2015 launch. Japan’s taxi industry is one of the largest at $15 billion per year. With Didi and SoftBank set to offer yet another competitor, it is no surprise that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made Japan the first stop of his inaugural trip to Asia as head of the ride-sharing firm. Equity Assurance announces name change, now Sunu Assurances Nigeria EQUITY ASSURANCE PLC. has announced name change to Sunu Assurances Plc. The company in a notification to all stakeholders said having passed the necessary special resolution in line with section 31()3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), Cap20, laws of the federation, 2004, and obtaining the approval of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it has changed its name to Sunu Assurances Nigeria Plc. It further said that pursuant to section 31(5) of CAMA, it has been issued a new certificate of incorporation by the registrar general of CAC evidencing the change of name. Equity Assurance Plc was incorporated on 3rd October 1991 with registration number RC.175105. It provides non-life insurance to corporate and retail customers in Nigeria and Ghana. It operates through three segments: Non-Life, Asset Management, and Health Management. The Non-Life segment covers the Cadbury taps Mordi from Dangote to lead communications strategy Ajose Sehindemi CADBURY NIGERIA PLC, the Nigerian arm of multinational confectionary company, Cadbury, has tapped Frederick Mordi, a serial writer and journalist from Nigeria’s Dangote Group, to lead its communications strategy. Mordi was tapped in the closing headhunting season of last year, according to sources in the marketing communications industry. His role at Cadbury sees him functioning as the confectionary maker’s communications specialist. Cadbury has been without a substantive spokesperson since Omije Akomen left for Nigerian Bottling Company a few years ago. Money market rates to spike on tighter system liquidity MONEY MARKET RATES - Open Buy Back (OBB) and Over Night (OVN) - trended higher on three of five trading days in the past week as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN ) conducted OMO auctions on all days of the week. At the start of the week, OBB and OVN rates closed at 18.4 percent and 19.3 percent from 11.6 percent and 12.2 percent recorded the previous Friday following an OMO auction worth N110 billion as well as wholesale Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) worth US$100 million, which were conducted by the CBN. On Tuesday, OBB and OVN rates further increased to 35.8 percent and 37.4 percent respectively as the protection of customers’ assets and indemnification of other parties that have suffered damage as a result of customers’ accidents. The Asset Management segment offers finance leases to both individual and corporate clients. The Health Management segment offers health management to both corporate and individual clients. The company offers various insurance products, including fire and special peril, consequential loss, burglary, householder’s, cash in transit, goods in transit, public liability, products liability, fidelity guarantee, aviation, oil and energy, motor trade, machinery breakdown, professional indemnity, medical expense/evacuations, personal liability, and personal accident insurance products. Equity Assurance Plc is a corporate member of the West African Insurance Company Association (WAICA) and the Nigeria Insurers’ Association (NIA), the official umbrella of registered insurance companies in Nigeria, as well as The Africa Insurance Organization (AIO). Bala Yusufe, a sales and marketing professional has discharged communications’ function since then. A business journalist of repute, Mordi has over 15 years experience spanning economic and developmental journalism, public relations and corporate communications. He once wrote for Londonbased African Business magazine, a pan-African monthly publication. He had also worked with the now rested Financial Standard newspapers, where he rose from a reporter to news editor. Mordi holds a masters degree in Media and Communications from the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, and until recently, was the Prosci-certified change manager and group head, internal communications at Dangote Group in CBN mopped up N20 billion (offered N40 billion) through its OMO auction. Similarly, the uptrend was sustained on Wednesday as rates further surged to 53.0% and 53.1% respectively consequent on a N12.3 billion decline in system liquidity which settled at N10.2bn. However on Thursday, system liquidity improved following an OMO maturity of N67.7 billion, which hit the system, hence OBB and OVN rate declined to 46.7 percent and 48.0 percent respectively. Money market rates remained in double digits on Friday, albeit lower than Thursday, closing the week at 43.3 percent and 45.5 percent, up 31.7 and 33.3 percentage points week-on-week, respectively.