Items filtered by date: Saturday, 17 February 2018

Dangote Cement Plc, owned by Africa’s richest man, has revived plans for a share sale in London that could raise about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Nigerian company, controlled by Aliko Dangote, has approached investment bankers to discuss a potential U.K. listing, said the people, who asked not to be named as the talks aren’t public.

Once banks have been appointed, it will probably take at least five months to complete the process, one of the people said. The cement maker is also considering issuing a debut Eurobond, according to two different people familiar with the matter.

Discussions are ongoing and a listing of Africa’s biggest cement maker may not go ahead, the people said.

“We have not, to the best of my knowledge, taken such a decision,” Anthony Chiejina, Dangote Cement’s spokesman in Lagos, said in an emailed response to questions, without commenting on the banker talks.

Fresh capital would enable Dangote Cement to fund expansion plans in sub-Saharan Africa and comply with a demand from the Lagos bourse that listed companies should have a free float of at least 20 percent, regardless of where the shares are traded.

The company sees London as a more favorable place to attract about $1 billion than in its home base of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, where no company has raised more than Starcomms Plc’s $796 million in 2008.

Dangote Cement, which has a Lagos free float of 8.9 percent and a market valuation of $12.2 billion, mulled raising equity in London in 2010. At the time, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley helped it prepare a sale that could have raised as much as $5 billion, before the move was abandoned.

The revival of the plan comes as Dangote Cement shares climb to near records as the Nigerian economy recovers from a downturn caused by the 2014 slump in oil prices.

The economy of Africa’s most populous nation went into recession in 2016 as government revenue plunged. Nigerian stocks are up 11 percent this year in dollar terms, the sixth best performance globally according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Aliko Dangote has a net worth of $13.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His Dangote Industries Ltd. conglomerate has interests in sugar, flour and packaged food as well as controlling the cement company.

The 60-year-old has repeatedly expressed a desire to bid for London’s Arsenal Football Club and is building a 650,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery near Lagos, which will cost more than $10 billion. Source: Bloomberg

Published in Business

A South African court on Friday threw out the findings of a public anti-graft watchdog that Barclays Africa unduly benefited from an apartheid-era bailout of another bank and should repay.JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African court on Friday threw out the findings of a public anti-graft watchdog that Barclays Africa unduly benefited from an apartheid-era bailout of another bank and should repay.

The Public Protector had said in a report last year it had found South Africa’s apartheid government and central bank breached the constitution by giving Bankorp, a bank later acquired by Absa, the retail banking unit of Barclays Africa, a series of bailouts between 1986 to 1995.

The agency, a constitutionally mandated anti-corruption agency led by Busisiwe Mkhwebane, had ordered in its report that Barclays Africa must repay 1.1 billion rand ($83 million) to the state as it had unduly benefited from the Bankorp bailouts.

But the High Court ruled in favour of Barclays Africa’s arguments that it did not unduly benefit from the bailouts because the price it paid for Bankorp took into account the central bank’s financial assistance.

Barclays Africa had contended that the real beneficiaries of the bailouts were Bankorp shareholders, the majority of whom were policy holders of life insurer Sanlam. (Reuters)

Published in Bank & Finance

One never forgets their first job. For me it was not the work experience that left an indelible impression, though it was appreciated. It was that one day at work when all seems to be ordinary and then mundane, routine tasks are disrupted for just a few minutes and everything changes.

It was a hot summer’s day, the typical Harare heat burning us up. Hope was on the horizon; the type that brings storm clouds on a clear day to usher in rain. I worked until 4pm in a popular grocery store located in the affluent suburb of Chisipite. Unannounced, a burly stout imposing figure approached the till with a broad smile and distinctive round cheeks.

It was Morgan Tsvangirai himself.

A man of the people

We all knew who he was. A seasoned trade unionist, that face most often featured on newspapers’ front pages. A thorn in the side of Robert Mugabe and his regime, Tsvangirai was the man with whom Zimbabwe’s working class most identified. Many times when a stay-away was called and we didn’t go to school, this smiling customer had been the chief architect. To some, he was seen as a messiah.

Others saw him as little more than a rabble rouser and accused him of being the root cause of Zimbabwe’s economic decline and political hostility.

On that day, he was clad in his party t-shirt and holding a basket full of groceries. All the attention in the shop was centred on him. But Tsvangirai was a man of the people, and shifted that focus back to those around him. He engaged in small talk, bemoaned the lack of rain – the earth was dusty and thirsty for a drink, he said.

Approached by two mothers with suckling infants, he expressed his desire that the Zimbabwean health system would improve so that no child would ever have to die of malnutrition or another preventable ailment again.

He teased a young man in a Zimbabwe football t-shirt. Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said, would qualify for the next soccer world cup.

As a young man doing his first job during that long hot summer, I gained more than work experience that day. I got life experience from a man who was not only simple but humane. There was a dissonance, too. This couldn’t be the same man the state told us brought sanctions and troubles to a country once viewed as Africa’s breadbasket. He’d even been blamed for keeping the rain from falling.

His parting shot to us that afternoon was sobering, and arresting. It challenged all the stereotypes and falsehoods that had been circulated as facts. Walking out, unaccompanied by bodyguards and fresh from chats with the many ordinary Zimbabweans in the store, he said:

Don’t be afraid of the idea of change. A new Zimbabwe is upon us and we need you.

A unique power

That was Morgan Tsvangirai’s unique power. He made Zimbabweans excited about the idea of change. Our ability to dream had been quashed. But he wasn’t afraid of this idea of change – he even had the bruises to show for it.

It is a hope and a dream he never let go of. Frail in his last days and consumed by cancer, Tsvangirai saw some of that change begin to unfold. It’s sad that he will not be around to experience the next steps on Zimbabwe’s journey. But his ability to make us dream will live on,even beyond his own life.

The ConversationHis legacy, ideologies, and simplicity carry the nation of Zimbabwe forward.

 

Willie Chinyamurindi, Associate Professor, University of Fort Hare

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

Fintech start-ups in the continent are channelling their focus on catering to the financially excluded Africans who do not qualify for traditional financial services. The World Bank has set an aim to provide universal financial access by 2020.

The target will ensure that adults everywhere have some form of transactional account to store, send and receive payments. The drive to provide financial service to an estimated 700 million unbanked Africans has led to a growth of fintech mobile innovations that are providing banking solutions in Africa. Some of the banking solutions aim to provide mobile platforms that give accessible options for saving money, transaction of money and digital book keeping for SME’s.

The success of Mpesa in East Africa has seen countries such as Kenya erupt with branchless financial services. While the likes of South Africa and Nigeria have followed suite with start-ups creating simple alternatives to traditional banking.

Leading companies

One of the current success start-ups is Suntrust bank launched in Nigeria 2016. The bank has shifted its focus from physical branches to providing 24/7 digital financing while also working on strengthening their cyber security to safe guard consumer doubts of digital finance. We will continue to see companies creating similar services to tap into the unbanked financial pool. Bank Zero founded by former FNB CEO Michael Jordan aims to focus on providing digital innovation to consumers. Scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018, the branchless bank will allow for consumers to use ATMs locally as well as internationally and also cash out at major retailers.

International competitors
International markets have shown an increased interest in fintech Africa investments. However the interest is not limited to financial assistance and skills developments. International fintech innovators have seen the potential in providing affordable services to the unbanked demographic.

UK based fintech ZaZu set up an equity crowd funding campaign in 2017, to prepare its launch of a digital bank in Africa. The company has set its sight on becoming a 21st century finance provider for Africa. With a monthly subscription of $2 and $2 for a card, the company aims to have 100 000 Zambian holders by December 2018. Another company tapping into African finance is Branch International. The company’s services are accessed through a free downloadable app which analysis information stored on the user’s phone. The company prides itself to catering to the mobile generation through digital modernisation. The bank was first launched in Kenya and now plans to expand its services to Tanzania.

The emergence of branchless banking may narrow the gap of the unbanked market within Africa. As mentioned in the I See Africa Fintech Africa report, financial companies are working on providing various digital services via mobile to cater to the large excluded demographic. The concept of mobile banking has progressed from the standard transaction of money to digital services that will enable saving, investments and digital loans, which legislation would need to adapt to. Aside from banking regulations that will need to adapt to the new ways of banking, we are likely to see further disruption of finance in Africa as branchless banking only caters to an isolated group of the unbanked demographic.

Branchless banking has shown that financial services are no longer restricted to the institutional providers within bricks and mortar structures.

 

Source: Khumo Theko from I See Africa

Published in Bank & Finance
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