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SEC to reduce N190bn unclaimed dividends

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is intensifying efforts to reduce the level of unclaimed dividends in the nation’s capital market.

A statement by the commission in Abuja on Thursday, said the effort which included investors’ interactions in various geo-political zones, would make the market more attractive to new investors.

SEC said the interactions would help proffer solutions to investors with unclaimed dividends and related matters.
It said the stakeholders’ interactions would be aimed at creating awareness and enlightenment on e-dividend, dematerialisation of shares certificates and direct cash settlement payment system, among others.

”The initiative is one in a series of programmes, and strategies toward reducing the level of unclaimed dividends which stood at N190 billion in August 2023.

”This is by creating awareness, particularly in the regions to make the investing public come forward to take what rightfully belongs to them.

”This is one of the key objectives of the Capital Market Development Master Plan 2015 to 2025.

”The core mandate of the Commission is to regulate and develop the capital market of Nigeria to be at par with its counterparts in other jurisdictions in all ramifications.

”The commission is not resting on its efforts to achieving and sustaining that mission.

”The commission will embark on a series of investor clinics in 2024 in all the regions of the federation to provide the platforms for investors to reap the benefits of investing in the capital market,” it said.

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Investors gain N61.65bn, as NGXASI advance by 0.11%

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Investors gained N61.65bn on Tuesday trading as the NGX All-Share Index (NGXASI) advanced by 0.11% to 98,285.33 points.

The total volume traded declined by 45.05 percent to close at N222.90m, valued at N5.15bn and traded in 7,228 deals. GTCO  was the most traded stock by volume and value, with N40.64m and N1.62bn units traded.

At the close of trading, the market breadth index (MBI) closed flat with 20 gainers against 20 losers, while 81 others remained unchanged. BERGER topped the gainers’ list, while INTENEGINS topped the losers’ list.

Meanwhile, GTCO had the highest volume, contributing 18.23 percent, while ACCESSCORP and UBA followed closely.

The value chart shows that GTCO contributed the most, with a 31.39 percent share. MTNN and UBA  followed closely behind.

With the increased rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Commercio Partners predict that the recent interest rate hike is expected to stimulate activity in the fixed-income market by making new securities more attractive.

“New bonds will be issued with higher yields to reflect the increased policy rate. Investors will demand higher returns to compensate for the elevated interest rate environment.

“As a result, long-duration bonds, which are more sensitive to interest rate changes, are likely to experience greater price declines compared to short-duration bonds as rates rise,” the firm stated.

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Ecobank’s three-month earnings more than triples to N141bn

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The earnings of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), a pan-African banking conglomerate rose by 249 percent in the first three months of 2024, according to its latest financial statement on Tuesday.

The group reported an after-tax profit of N140.8 billion from N40.4 billion in the first quarter of 2023.

Interest income calculated using the effective interest rate rose to N608.2 billion from N207.2 billion. On the flip side, the bank’s interest expense surged 160 percent to N219.9 billion from N94.5 billion driven by the high-interest rate environment.

Further breakdown of the financial statement disclosed that Ecobank’s interest income grew by 194 percent in Q1, as all major contributory lines recorded an increase in investment securities (248.5 per cent), loans and advances to banks (260.4 per cent), loans and advances to customers (178.7 percent) Treasury bills and other eligible bills (144.3 percent) and other investment (133 percent).

The bank recorded a 217 percent growth in net interest income to N388.3 billion in the first quarter of 2024 from N122.6 billion in the same period of 2023. Net fee and commission income increased to N18.7 billion from N5.7 billion during the period.

The bank also seemed to have gained from the Naira devaluation as Trading income and foreign exchange gains surged 202 per cent to N107.1 billion in the first three months compared to N35.4 billion in the same period last year.

ETI’s operating expenses stood at N357.9 billion in Q1’24, up 181 percent from N127.5 billion in the same period of 2023. This was driven by Staff expenses which stood at N152.4 billion, a 178 percent increase from N54.8 billion.

Depreciation and amortisation stood at N24.8 billion in the first three months of this year, indicating a 126 percent increase from N10.9 billion in the corresponding period of 2023.

However, operating income stood at N665.4 billion indicating a 205 percent increase from N217.8  billion.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period increased to N5.2 trillion from N1.12 trillion. Movement in cash and cash equivalents reveals that net cash generated from operating activities stood at N135  billion from a negative N491 billion.

Net cash generated from investing activities stood at N477 billion from a negative N82.8 billion while net cash generated from financing activities amounted to N208 million from N73.3 billion.

Ecobank’s basic and diluted earnings per share rose to N374 in the first three from N117 last year.

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Seplat Energy recognised as Best in sustainability reporting at ICAN/NGX RegCo awards

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Seplat Energy Plc has emerged winner of the Best in Sustainability Reporting Award at the maiden Corporate Reporting Award, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and NGX Regulation Ltd (NGX RegCo).

The recognition was announced at the ICAN/NGX RegCo Awards ceremony held in Lagos. It was a platform to recognise the top 30 most capitalised companies listed on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd (NGX) for the 2022 financial reporting year.

The awards underscored ICAN and NGX RegCo’s shared commitment to fostering transparency, accountability, and international best practices within the private sector. The evaluation criteria included financial reporting, corporate governance, and sustainability reporting.

Speaking at the ceremony, the president of ICAN, Dr. Innocent Okwuosa, lauded NGX RegCo for ensuring better disclosures and reporting among listed companies.

Okwuosa noted that corporate reporting over time had evolved, as there was a shift from a primary focus on financial reporting to the increasing request to incorporate social and environmental disclosures. He stated that the latter had evolved and had been differently propagated, including but not limited to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures and late sustainability disclosures.

The ICAN boss explained that good corporate reporting must reflect the best elements of corporate governance, financial reporting, and sustainability reporting, adding that the maiden edition of the award is limited to 30 companies listed on the NGX for ease of administration but will be extended to all the listed companies in the future.

The CEO of NGX RegCo, Mr. Olufemi Shobanjo, in his address said that transparency is one of the key drivers of any economy. Shobanjo stated that transparency ensures full disclosure of information by entities and that such information is easily accessible to members of the public to make informed decisions.

The award was received by the CFO-Designate, Seplat Energy Plc, Mrs. Eleanor Adaralegbe, and the Director, External Affairs & Social Performance, Mrs. Chioma Afe.

In 2021, Seplat Energy unveiled a new corporate strategy based upon two ambitions, to Build a sustainable business and Deliver energy transition. Clearly each of these has sustainability at its heart, and each is made up of three pillars in which Seplat Energy defines its business strategy in terms of specific initiatives that promote sustainability across our business activities. “Now, for Seplat Energy, sustainability is embedded at all levels and across all operations”, Adaralegbe said whilst commending ICAN and NGX RegCo for the recognition and sustained display of professionalism.

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