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SEC to step up investors education

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By Philemon Adedeji

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has restated its commitment to continue to educate and enlighten investors in a bid to ensure they make informed investment decisions.

This was stated by Head, Office of the Chief Economist of the SEC, Dr. Okey Umeano during an interview in Abuja.

Umeano stated that the upsurge in the activities of illegal fund managers in recent times has been a source of worry to the Commission and assured investors that the SEC is working hard along with other government agencies to reduce their activities to the barest minimum.

According to Umeano, “This is an area that we are doing a lot and still have a lot to do. If you look at the Capital Market master plan, you will see that a lot of the things we want to do revolves around investor education. In investor education, what we tell investors is how to know who is genuine and it is very simple.

“Just go to the sec.gov.ng you can just on the search portal type CMO. The search portal comes out and you type the name of the firm marketing to you, if it is not there then it is not registered with SEC that means you are not protected. You are not covered by that investor protection that I am talking about. Those who are marketing financial products, investment related financial products must come to SEC and be registered.”

Umeano disclosed that in an effort to further protect investors, the Commission has been carrying out enforcement exercises against these illegal fund managers and would continue to do so.

He said, “We have been going around closing Ponzi schemes and all those illegal fund managers and you know we have been on different stations. I personally have been on several TV stations, radio, and newspaper talking about this. We are about to launch a few billboards around the country saying these same things. Nigerians must understand that the money that they are giving people it is difficult to get.

“It is difficult to raise capital and before you give it to someone, it is important to know that person is the right person. This they can easily ascertain by going on our website. That is the message.”

He stated that the Commission has a police Unit that assists in investigating these entities and carrying out enforcement actions when the need arises, while also collaborating with relevant government agencies like the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“The problem with Ponzi schemes is they use the money from Mr. A to pay Mr. B and use Mr. B’s own to pay Mr. C and while they are paying all that, they are taking their own so by the time we close them, there’s not enough money again to return to the people whose money they took. You also know they promise outrageous returns and these returns are paid to the first people.

“We have a few now that we are trying to resolve but I must tell you that it is difficult for anyone who has put money in a Ponzi scheme to recover much. It is important that Nigerians understand it is not nice. If anyone promises you a return too good to be true, then it is probably not true.”

Dr. Umeano therefore urged Nigerians to be vigilant and carry out their due diligence by visiting the Commission’s website to ascertain registration status of the entities before investing, adding that there is also a need for them to understand the products they are investing in to obtain desired returns on their investments.

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Ecobank to raise $600m debt in the next one year

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Ecobank Transnational Incorpora ted (ETI) will raise $600 million through senior secured debts and tier-2 debts over the next year.

This was one of the resolutions from the group’s Annual General Meeting which took place in Lome, Togo on June 6, 2024.

In the notice containing the AGM resolutions, it was contained

“The General Meeting hereby authorises the board of directors to raise within a period of one year from the date of this meeting up to Six Hundred Million United States Dollars (US$600,000,000) in senior-ranked debt, Tier 2-qualifying subordinated debt or a combination of these forms of instruments as the board of directors may deem appropriate.”

Senior ranked debts are a type of debt that has priority over other debts in terms of claims on the assets of the issuer. This means that senior-ranked debt holders are paid before other creditors, such as subordinated debt holders.

Tier 2-qualifying subordinated debt is a type of subordinated debt that qualifies as Tier 2 capital under banking regulations.

It ranks below senior debt but above equity in the event of liquidation, meaning it is riskier than senior-ranked debt but less risky than equity.  An example of tier-2 debts is the $350 million Tier-2 Sustainability Notes listed by ETI on the London Stock Exchange in 2021.

Recall that in April 2024, Ecobank Transnational successfully repaid a $500 million Eurobond which matured on April 18, 2024. The Eurobond, issued in April 2019, was listed on the London Stock Exchange with a coupon rate of 9.5 percent.  This was the group’s inaugural Eurobond, however, its subsidiary, Ecobank Nigeria issued a dollar-denominated bond in 2014.

In 2014, Ecobank Nigeria issued its first ever dollar-denominated bond, a $200 million bond which was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The bank received advisory services from the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim).

And there was an oversubscription on the bond offering.

Then in June 2021, Ecobank Transnational issued $350 million Tier 2 Sustainability Notes, which were listed on the London Stock Exchange. According to the group, these notes were oversubscribed by over 3.6 times, reaching a subscription of $1.3 billion.  The notes which mature in June 2031, will pay an annual interest rate of 8.750% between June 2021 and June 2026. However, from June 2026, the interest rate will change to a new rate called “Reset Interest Rate”.  It was noted in the group’s “Sustainable Finance Framework” that proceeds from the sustainable financing instruments such as the sustainability notes would be used to finance and/or refinance, in whole or in part, green and/or social projects.

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Presco shareholders approve N24.3bn final dividends for 2023

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…Total dividend yields hit 13.6%

Shareholders at the 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Presco Plc, approved a final dividend of N24.30 per ordinary share of 50 Kobo, totaling N24.3 billion, as recommended by the Board of Directors for the financial year ended December 31, 2023.

This is in addition to an interim dividend of N2.00 per 50 kobo share, amounting to N2 billion. Consequently, the total dividend for the year amounts to N26.30 per share, aggregating N26.3 billion.

With a total dividend of N26.30 for FY 2023, Presco posted a dividend yield of 13.6 percent, making it one of the most profitable stocks in the NGX.

During the AGM on Thursday, shareholders also authorised the company to raise additional capital through debt finance, equity raising, or a combination of both, as deemed appropriate by the Directors.

Furthermore, the shareholders empowered the Directors to invest indirectly or through its subsidiary and to acquire assets or a majority of shares in companies or entities operating within the same industry as Presco Plc.

In line with this move, Presco already announced its decision to acquire a 100 percent stake in fellow subsidiary of SIAT SA, the Ghana Oil Palm Development Company.

Addressing Shareholders, the Chairman of the company, Mr Rasheed Sarumi explained that the Board is firmly committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance in line with best practice.

He noted that during the year, Grant Thornton Consultants, an international corporate consultant, repeated the annual Board Assessment and reviewed the Company’s corporate governance policies and procedures to monitor compliance.

According to the Chairman, their report forms part of the annual report and accounts as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Code and the 2018 National Code of Corporate Governance Practice.

The chairman assured the shareholders that Presco Plc is committed to leveraging the abundant business opportunities present within Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region to realise its strategic growth ambitions for the benefit of all stakeholders.

He said, “We will continue to strive for operational excellence, pursue substantial growth, and uphold the highest standards of corporate governance.”

Also speaking at the event, Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Felix Nwabuko, assured shareholders and stakeholders of a rewarding future.

The Company’s Revenue grew by 26.4 percent, from N81.03 billion in 2022 to N102.42 billion in 2023, while Gross Profit grew by 30.13 percent to N65.03 billion.

Profit before tax witnessed an uptick of 152 percent, amounting to N50.01 billion from N19.81 billion recorded in the previous year, and Profit After Tax reached N32.86 billion, marking an increase of 152 percent from the previous year. The firm’s finance costs declined to N8.41 billion from N8.49 billion during the period reviewed.

Presco’s selling and distribution expenses declined to N1.55 billion from N1.79 billion and administrative expenses increased to N20.9 billion from N20.4 billion. Earnings per share rose to N30.42 from N13.03.

Presco closed the trading on Friday, June 7, 2024, at N293.90 per share on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX). The company began the year with a share price of N193.00 and has since gained 52.3 percent this year.

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Investors close week with N49bn profit

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Investors in the Nigerian equities market went home with N49 billion at the end of trading on Friday.

This followed an increase in the share price of CHAMS, ETI, and INTENEGINS, amongst others on the trading floor.

After five hours of trading at the capital market, the equity capitalisation surged to N56.12 trillion from N56.08 trillion posted by the bourse on Thursday.

Similarly, the All-Share Index (ASI) increased to 99,222.33 from 99,300.38 recorded the previous day.

The market breadth was positive as 21 stocks advanced, 17 declined, while 84 others remained unchanged in 7,106 deals.

CHAMS, ETI, and INTENEGINS led other gainers with 10 percent, 8.41 percent, and 6.99 percent growth in share price to close at N1.54, N23.85, and N1.53 from the previous N1.40, N22.00, and N1.43 per share.

On the flip side, ROYAL EXCHANGE, PRESTIGE, and VERITASKAP led other price decliners as they shed 9.68 percent, 9.09 percent, and 8.70 percent each to close at N0.56, N0.50, and N0.63 from the initial N0.62, N0.55, and N0.69 per share.

On the volume index, banking stocks carried the day with ACCESS CORP trading 81.028 million shares valued at N1.394 billion in 458 deals followed by ZENITH BANK which traded 43.241 million shares worth N1.427bn million shares in 505 deals.

FIDELITY BANK traded 34.961 million shares valued at N326 million in 272 deals.

On the value index, ZENITH BANK recorded the highest value for the day trading stocks worth N1.427 billion in 505 deals followed by ACCESS CORP which traded equities worth N1.394 billion in 458 deals.

NB traded stocks worth N908 million in 108 deals.

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