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NCC plans intervention programme for tech hubs

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NCC plans intervention programme for tech hubs

In its bid to boost local capacity in technology, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it would soon roll out intervention programmes to ease operations of tech hubs in the country.
The Commission said this was part of its efforts to encourage technology entrepreneurship and innovation in the ICT sector.
A ‘tech hub’ is a physical space – a city, a suburb or just a suite of offices – which has developed to help technology startup companies succeed and, they hope to become the next tech titan such as Facebook or Microsoft.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this in Lagos during a forum on “Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation”organised by the commission.
He said the regulatory body has commenced visitation to various tech hubs across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Represented by Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, NCC’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Danbatta said that the visitation was to assess the development and challenges of the technology start-ups at the various hubs.
With the theme: ‘Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-System: Imperative for improving Local Content,” Danbatta said the ICT Innovation forum became necessary to promote local content with emphasis on tech ecosystem, identifying unmet needs and facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP).
According to him, with the growing pressure of globalisation, every government, as well as captains of industries are charged with the burden of finding ways to ensure competitive and capable local content.
The executive vice chairman noted that it was imperative that the right framework was developed to enhance the ability of indigenous companies to maximally explore and exploit local opportunities, as well as remain globally competitive. “Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have developed infrastructure to support voice services and access to data “ he said. “However, it has become expedient for the MNOs to unlock new services and sources of value generation and revenue streams in their operations. It has become necessary to innovate on how to access segments of the consumer wallets not presently allocated to communication by providing solutions to consumer needs in other vertical areas of education, health, government services, among others, made available through telecommunications network infrastructure.”
Also speaking, the Director, Research & Development, NCC, Ephraim Nwokonneya, said that the forum was in line with the Strategic Eight Point Agenda of the commission, particularly to promote lCT Innovation and Investment Opportunities.
Nwokonneya said that the tech hubs could be understood as a community, informal or otherwise, that bring together young talents to foster innovation.
He said that tech hubs were spaces or incubators where people with ideas solve problems through clusters and become part of the economic infrastructure of the society and in turn bring prosperity to communities.
According to him, Nigeria’s growing economy needs to leverage on entrepreneurs’ innovations that will help create jobs for the teeming youths.
He added, “responsive government bodies, therefore, need to encourage tech hubs to utilise their immense economic importance in reducing unemployment and stimulating innovations, leading to digital inclusion, social and economic development.
“This forum, therefore, targets participation by a broad spectrum of stakeholders to foster collaboration and value creation partnership among stakeholders. It is common knowledge that the world’s best known tech hub is the Silicon Valley in the United States of America.
“The world‘s renowned technology entities such as Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Intel, founded by creative young innovators are located in the Silicon Valley.”
Nwokonneya said that propelled by a passion to create Nigeria‘s ‘Silicon WaZoBia’‚ the NCC identified Lagos State as location with a large cluster of tech hubs. He said that some of the hubs recorded milestones and mentored many start-ups to launch and commercial stage. “This therefore, informed our choice of Lagos State as the preferred location for the maiden edition of the lCT Innovation Forum, meant to attract participating tech hubs in the South West zone. It is our expectation that more startups would debut after this forum,” he said.

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Nigeria spends N80.8bn on palm oil in 8 months

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Nigeria spends N80.8bn on palm oil in 8 months

…imports 72,000 tonnes in 2 months

 

total of 328,598 metric tonnes of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) valued at N80.8million ($221.5million) have been imported by Nigerian palm oil merchants.

The imports were delivered through Nigerian ports between January and August this year.

No fewer than   82,210 tonnes of the produce were imported between June and August 2019, despite Federal Government’s directive to blacklist any firm importing the produce into the country.

Already, the produce is among the list of 41 items restricted from accessing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) foreign exchange.

Nigerian importers currently source their palm oil from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to meet industrial and domestic demand.

The imported palm oil in the last eight months was 93.9per cent of the projected imports of 350,000 for 2019.

Already, the price of the produce from Malaysia has been increased by 29.98 per cent from $472 per tonne in May this year to $674 per tonne.

Statistics from Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position indicated that the 248,388 metric tonnes of crude palm oil were ferried to the country between January and May, 2019.

Currently,   palm oil imports attract 10 per cent duty and 25 per cent levy in the country.

New Telegraph gathered that within the last two months, the country had taken delivery of 72,110 tonnes of CPO valued at N13.47billion ($36.9million) from four ships.

Statistics by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position revealed that Navig8 Universe berthed at Apapa Bulk terminal Limited (ABTL)  with 20,000 tonnes of the produce, while   Alangova and Rosy discharged 9,500tonness and 10,200 tonnes in the terminal respectively at the terminal in February.

Other  vessels which berthed at theABTL of the Lagos Port Complex include Africa Runner5 laden with 5,195 tonnes; Lustsen, 5,717tonnes;  Kerel, 16,400tonnes and Chembulk Houston, moored at New Oil Jetty with 5, 028tonnes

In May this year Malaysia and Thailand exporters slashed the price of crude palm oil as demand for the commodity increased in the country.

Between February and April this year, price of Malaysia palm has dropped by 22.3 per cent from $607.97 to $472.55.

As at May the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) explained that it had kept its export duty on crude palm oil at zero per cent because of competition among the Asian exporting countries.

Between 2017 and 2018 Nigeria annual consumption of palm oil has reached 2.7 million tons.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had assured that Nigeria would emerge as the third largest producer of palm oil in the world.

The   CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said recently that the country would have recorded great heights in capital returns and job creation if the country had supported improved cultivation of palm oil like the rest of the world.

Emefiele told stakeholders in Abuja that plans were underway to develop sustainable financing models for oil palm in the country.

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Analysts: No delivery of new retail mall in H1 2019

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Due to unfriendly economic climate, Nigeria did not record any delivery of new space in the formal retail market in the first half of 2019, New Telegraph has learnt.

According to the latest report by Broll Nigeria, although some projects are nearing completion in the core and secondary markets, they are yet to be delivered.

These  uncompleted projects, Broll analysts said  measured below 10,000 square metres (m²) and included the Landmark Retail Boulevard (approximately 6,000m²) and the Simbiat Ikeja Mall in Lagos state (4,900m²); Oshogbo Mall in Osun state (roughly 5,000m²) and a retail project in Port Harcourt of approximately 9,000m².

Additionally, analysts disclosed that a number of developers, both local and foreign, in the formal and informal sectors, were currently in the project conceptualization phase of a few developments in both the core and secondary markets.

While the international developers tend to be relatively new to the market and are leaning towards the more traditional formal retail designs (10,000m² +), analysts noted that  local developers were looking at smaller projects to suit the demographic locations in which they would operate in.

In the period under review, analysts stated that landlords were able to highlight certain factors that existing occupiers now require to enhance the usability of their current space.

Such factors, according to them, included improved amenities, additional seating areas within the mall, free onsite parking to improve dwell time, early lease terminations and service charge reconciliations.

The analysts said: “Moreover, possibly the most important factor that has been highlighted by existing tenants is a reduction in occupied box sizes.

“Medium to large box sizes have proven difficult to lease in both core and secondary retail markets as prospective tenants are unable to justify the financial costs attributed to acquiring these premises which range from 100m² – 1,000m².”

On overall vacancy rates, analysts said the rates  averaged 20 per cent  across core and secondary market locations,noting that the very successful malls were  operating at below two per cent vacancy rate.

On rental values, the Broll report stated that rents have remained largely unchanged in first half of 2019 in secondary market locations.

However, the analysts said there have been notable revisions upwards in rental values in the core market, noting that  asking rentals in the successful malls in Lagos were  above $100 per square metre per month for 50m² – 250m² boxes.

“While, average asking rentals in other core market locations generally range from $40/m²/month to $75/m²/month, up from $30/m²/month to $70/m²/month recorded in H2:2018, rentals are flat in secondary market locations at $15/m²/month to $25/m²/month,” they said.

According to the analysts, landlords in the core market retail malls were less inclined to offer discounted rentals, as was once the  case during the economic recession, especially as vacancy rates declined in certain malls.

They said: “Landlords are also generally unwilling to accept naira denominated rents in core market locations, however, with the exception of a small minority, naira rentals are welcomed in secondary market locations.

“In the near term, landlords largely see no capacity for rental growth from current levels, and even though new deliveries are set to increase supply, it is not anticipated to be at a magnitude capable of disrupting current rental rates.”

On outlook of retail space,analysts explained that local retailers were expected to drive demand in the coming months as international brands look to entrench themselves in the market through experienced franchise operators.

On the supply side, they said: “Approximately 25,000m² of retail stock is set to enter the market by year end. This is in addition to the existing 350,000m² of retail stock existing in the core and secondary market locations.”

The analysts expect  landlords in both core and secondary market locations do not foresee an increase in rental values in the near term. Rents are likely to remain flat in the core market while there is potential for rents to decline in the secondary markets, conditioned on possible vacancies as well as the landlord appetite to keep their malls leased to a certain degree.

On demand for retail malls during the first half of 2019, latest  report from Broll Property Intels, said there had been notable tenant activity in the formal retail space, adding that enquiries increased moderately in key malls within the core and secondary markets.

The report read: “A number of transactions have been concluded in the food and beverage, fashion and accessories as well as beauty and personal care categories, however, the majority of these transactions have remained under  square metres(m²) in size.”

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FOI: BudgIT flays lawmakers’ 552% budget increase

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Nigerian lawmakers’ flair for budgeting enormous funds for themselves without consideration for decaying infrastructure and ordinary Nigerians going through difficulties has again been highlighted as it moved from N23.3 billion in 2003 to N150 billion in 2014.

The increase, according to details released by transparency monitor outfit, BudgIT, represents a whopping 552 per cent within the period in view.

Meanwhile, Nigerian lawmakers are among the highest paid in the world. Last year, a Nigerian senator revealed that the legislators receive N14.25 million (over $40,000) monthly.

Further details, however, shows that the budget moved steadily for another period of five years from 2015 to the current year.

According to the details, while the lawmakers budgeted N115 billion for 2015/2016, it, however, increased by N10 billion in 2017 to N125 billion, increased by N14 billion to N139 billion in 2018 before dropping by N11 billion to N128 billion in the current year.

BudgIt, whose founder, Seun Onigbinde, recently resigned from the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over barrage of criticism from supporters of the administration, is, however, demanding from the office of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to give a breakdown of how the whole budget amounting to N668.8 billion over the years was disbursed.

According to the transparency body, Nigerians should give their tacit support to the Freedom of Information request sent to RMAFC so as to unravel whatever secrets are behind the disbursements.

The letter dated September 4, 2019, referenced BN/FOI/RMAFC/2019/001, and addressed to the Chairman of the commission, Engr. Elias Mbam, was posted on BudgIt’s twitter handle, @BudgeITng.

The letter, signed by Principal Lead, BudgeIT, Mr. Gabriel Okeowo, is titled ‘Freedom of Information Request for Details/Breakdown of Salaries and Allowances to Legislators in Nigeria.’

It read in part, “On behalf of BudgeIT Nigeria in accordance with Freedom of Information Act 2011 and in the spirit of transparency and accountability, we request the following information; breakdown of salaries and allowances of 469 legislators in the National Assembly.

“We would appreciate if explicit responses are given to each of these questions above and within 7 days as stipulated in the Freedom of Information Act 2011. Kindly note that refusal to respond is subject to prosecution under the law. 

In May this year, BudgIT demanded a big cut from the annual budget of the National Assembly, saying that 50 per cent of the budget be centralised in the General Service Unit for efficiency.

Proposing a 58 per cent slash from N125 billion to N52 billion, it also called for a probe into the buying and selling of certain items by the lawmakers.

“NASS budget ballooned from N23.3 billion to N125 billion between 2003 & 2019. On a yearly basis, 50 per cent of this money is spent on stationery, computers, cars etc – all for sale below. Surely there’s a cartel within NASS mgt. Who’ll probe this?” the agency tweeted.

It listed some of the materials for sale to include a Samsung double door refrigerator was given out for N25,000; HP Envy Core 13, N49,000; Apple Ipad Air computer, N41,980; LED TV Samsung UA4600AR 50, N59,500. Shredding machine, N19,800; Water dispenser with bottle, N8,990.

“Photocopying machine Sharp Copier AR 6021 N57,172; Scanner HP Scanjet Pro 3900 Fi N20,130; HP Laserjet Pro M201 N10,038; Desktop Computer Model Envy 23” Touch screen; and Suit hanger N1,900.

“Any member taking the entire 11 items would pay N349, 970.50 with N17,498 .83 as VAT.”

At the moment, a lawsuit to stop the lawmakers from spending  N5.5 billion on vehicles is on with thousands of Nigerians seeking to block members of the Senate from using public money to buy luxury cars. The suit was initiated by rights groups that became tired of government corruption.

More than 6,700 Nigerians have joined suit that aims to prevent parliament from releasing 5.5 billion naira — equal to about $15 million — that would enable leaders of the Senate to purchase luxury vehicles.

Three domestic rights groups originated the suit, which was filed with the Nigerian Federal High Court.

BudgIT’s Communications Associate, Shakir Akorede, while speaking on the class action suit, said: “This is living the luxury life by the so-called representatives of the people. How in any way does this plan show the seriousness, the commitment on the part of the government to solve our socioeconomic crisis?”

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South Africa holds key rate in unanimous decision

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South Africa’s central bank left its main interest rate on hold at 6.5 per cent yesterday as expected, saying it would like to see inflation expectations anchored closer to the midpoint of its target range.

The decision by the bank’s monetary policy committee was unanimous.

South Africa has seen benign inflation outcomes this year, but growth has been sluggish. That has piled pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has staked his reputation on lifting the economy out of a deep slump.

The South African Reserve Bank left its 2019 economic growth forecast unchanged at 0.6 per cent but cut its forecasts for growth in 2020 and 2021 to 1.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively.

It repeated calls for structural reforms to raise potential growth rate, saying weakness in many sectors of the economy remained a cause for concern.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is also expected to hold rates at the end of its meeting today.

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NBS: Lack of market-oriented policies stifling growth

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NBS: Lack of market-oriented policies stifling growth

Latest merchandize trade report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed a decline in the country’s foreign trade surplus in the first half of this year, as well as weak second quarter 2019 capital importation data earlier released by the bureau, indicates that a lack of market-oriented policies is hindering Nigeria’s economic growth, analysts at Cowry Asset Management Limited, have said.

The analysts, who stated this in a report obtained by New Telegraph yesterday, said they expected the weak data to lead the Federal Government into amending its policies to encourage private sector participation in building the economy.

They said: “We expect FG to tweak its policies to drive private participation as the meagre FDIs inflow and the shrinking foreign trade surplus suggest that Nigerian economy is stifled due to dearth of market-driven policies. Also, Nigeria is still at the mercy of ‘hot money managers’ for currency and interest rate stability as portfolio investments still constitute the major foreign capital inflow.”

As the analysts pointed out, the NBS merchandise trade report shows that while Nigeria’s foreign sector merchandise trade value rose year-on-year (y-o-y) by 15.43 per cent to N16.84 trillion in H1 2019,  the merchandise trade surplus declined by 63.14 per cent to N1.42 trillion in the same period.

Similarly, according to the capital importation report released by the NBS, th

e economy recorded a decline of $3.2billion in investment inflow from $8.48billion in the first quarter of this year to $5.82billion in the second quarter.

The report stated: “The total  value  of  capital  importation  into  Nigeria  stood  at  $5.82billion  in  the  second  quarter  of  2019. This represents a decrease of 31.41 per cent compared to Q1 2019 and 5.56 per cent increase compared to the second quarter of 2018.”

It further disclosed that the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 73.76 per cent or $4.29billion of  total  capital  importation.

The report added that this was followed by “other investment,” which accounted for 22.41 per cent of $1.3billion of total capital imported and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounted for a paltry 3.83 per cent or $222.89million of total capital imported in the second quarter of this year.

Although the NBS did not give reasons for the decline in investment inflows, the general belief in financial circles is that delay in appointing and assigning portfolios to cabinet members may have affected investor confidence.

In addition, analysts believe that President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to appoint mainly experienced politicians and very few technocrats as ministers sent a signal to foreign investors that the president was not disposed to carrying out major fiscal reforms in his second term in office.

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OECD: Global economy sliding towards weakest growth in decade

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Intensifying trade conflicts have sent global growth momentum tumbling toward lows last seen during the financial crisis, and governments are not doing enough to prevent long-term damage, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said in its latest outlook.

The Paris-based organisation cut almost all economic forecasts it made just four months ago, as protectionist policies take an increasing toll on confidence and investment, and risks continue to mount on financial markets. It sees world growth at a mere 2.9 per cent this year.

The OECD lowered its growforecasts for most major economies

“Our fear is that we are entering an era where growth is stuck at a very low level,” OECD Chief Economist, Laurence Boone, said: “Governments should absolutely take advantage of low rates to invest in the future now so that this sluggish growth doesn’t become the new normal.”

The OECD is the latest institution sounding the alarm over the state of the global economy. In the past two weeks, the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the People’s Bank of China and numerous of their peers have eased policy to shore up demand, urging governments at the same time that fiscal stimulus will be needed to ensure their efforts won’t be futile.

Manufacturing has borne the brunt of the economic crisis brought about by a tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China. The services sector has proved unusually resilient to the malaise so far, but the OECD warned that “persistent weakness” in industry will weigh on the labor market, household incomes and spending.

Additional risks stem from a sharper slowdown in China and a no-deal Brexit that could push the U.K. into a recession and would considerably reduce growth in Europe, according to the report.

“Trump’s brinkmanship on trade with China has left consumers, businesses and financial markets on edge. Not knowing whether the next Presidential tweet will ease or exacerbate tensions makes for an environment of extreme uncertainty, pushing businesses to turn cautious on investment and hiring, and households to swing from spending to saving.”

The OECD said: “collective effort is urgent,” and the effectiveness of monetary policy could be enhanced by “stronger fiscal and structural policy support.”

It’s a point central bankers have made for months, and their requests are getting more intense. Following the ECB’s latest monetary stimulus push, President Mario Draghi said it’s “high time” for fiscal policy to take charge, signaling there’s not much more his institution can do.

“The takeaway for the euro zone today is not to rely on monetary policy to do the job alone,” Boone said.

“Start investing to do the structural reforms that need to be done for more sustainable growth, and do it now,” he added.

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Dow Jones names Coca-Cola most sustainable beverage company

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global benchmark for sustainability in business, the 2019 Dow Jones Sustainability Index, has rated Coca-Cola HBC as Europe’s most sustainable beverage company.

This is the 6th time in seven years that the company has been ranked number one in the index and the 9th year in a row that it has been ranked in the top three Global and European beverage companies.

According to a statement signed by Ekuma Eze, Public Affairs and Communications Director, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited, the breakdown for this new rating, CCHBC was adjudged to have scored 100 per cent in 11 categories while the company secured 90 per cent in nine other categories, with the cumulative points placing it in second position in global ranking.

Speaking on the achievement by the company, Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, Zoran Bogdanovic, stated that the company was proud for the recognition accorded it, saying that the employees and partners remain committed to delivering on its sustainability goal.

“We are honoured and proud that the commitment of our employees and partners to sustainable practices has again resulted in this recognition. We are well aware though that this is just a snapshot.  In reality, the work never stops and there is always more to be done.  That’s why we put so much focus on the consistent, long-term delivery of our sustainability goals,” Bogdanovic said.

While reeling out some of the company’s sustainability highlights in 2018, he identified them to include reduction of carbon emissions in the business value chain by 25 per cent, employee engagement score of 88 per cent, 37 per cent gyincrease in number of women in management roles, huge contribution of taxes to local economies, huge investment in community projects, 22 per cent reduction of water usage in production, among others.

“We achieved our science-based commitment to reduce carbon emissions in our value chain by 25 per cent (compared with 2010), two years ahead of the 2020 target date. In other words, we have saved 1.27 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

“We have also achieved an employee engagement score of 88 per cent, above the average of FTSE 100 companies. In Addition, we have successfully recovered the equivalent of 45 per cent of the total primary packaging we placed in the market for recycling,” he noted.

Bogdanovic noted that the company remains committed to achieving its sustainability goals stating that 2025 sustainability commitments launched recently would address key areas that include emissions reduction; water use and stewardship; World Without Waste; ingredients sourcing; nutrition; and our people and communities.

Over the years, Coca-Cola HBC’s sustainability performance has been recognized by other respected industry rankings, such as the CDP Climate Disclosure, the MSCI ESG Rating and the FTSE4Good Index.

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Financial services sector leads NSE’s fall

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Financial services sector leads NSE’s fall

The Nigerian equities market yesterday reversed the previous day’s positive sentiment, recording a decline of 0.13 per cent as sell pressure by speculators heightened in quest of profit taking.

This was majorly impacted by sell down on financial services stocks.

Conversely, market breadth closed positively, recording 23 gainers as against 16 losers.

Consequently, the All-Share Index dipped 35.46 basis points or 0.13 per cent to close at 27,646.15 index points as against 27.681.61 recorded the previous day while market capitalisation of equities depreciated by N17 billion from N13.475 trillion the previous day to N13.458 trillion as market sentiment remained on the negative territory.

Meanwhile, a turnover of 245.4 million shares exchanged in 3,450 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.

The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 108.million shares exchanged by investors in 1,427 deals.

Volume in the sub-sector was largely driven by activities in the shares of FBNH Plc and UBA Plc.

Also, the banking sub-sector boosted by  activities in the shares of Sterling Bank Plc and GTBbank Plc followed with a turnover of76.9 million shares in 431 deals.

Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that in percentage terms, CHI Plc topped the day’s gainers’ table with 10 per cent to close at 33 kobo per share while UACN Plc followed with 9.93 per cent to close at N7.75 per share.

Linkage Assurance Plc added 9.80 per cent to close at 56 kobo per share.

On the flip side, UPL Plc led the losers with a drop of 8.70 per cent to close at N1.05 per share while Neimeth Pharmaceuticals Plc shed 8.33 per cent to close at 44 kobo per share. Cutix Plc trailed with 7.79 per cent to close at N1.42 per share.

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Microsoft, health shares boost Wall Street

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Gains in Microsoft and healthcare shares boosted Wall Street’s main indexes on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates as expected and left the door open for further monetary easing.

Shares of the software giant (MSFT.O) rose 1.5 per cent and drove the broader technology sector .SPLRCT up 0.37 per cent after the company unveiled a $40 billion stock buyback plan.

The S&P 500 was about 12 points shy of its record high of 3,027.98, as markets also turned optimistic on talks between U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators aimed at laying the groundwork for high-level negotiations in early October.

According to Reuters News, a recent easing in trade tensions has helped the three main indexes recover all their losses from August.

On Wednesday, the Fed announced a quarter percentage point cut in interest rates for the second time this year and said future reductions would be “largely data-dependent.”

Traders see a nearly 50 per cent chance for another 25 basis point rate cut in October, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“The market just continues to believe the Fed is going to be accommodative,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

The Fed injected another $75 billion into the U.S. banking system on Wednesday, restoring a measure of order after the central bank’s benchmark interest rate rose above its targeted range for the first time since the financial crisis.

The healthcare index .SPXHC, the worst performing S&P sector this year, gained about 0.77 per cent as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a proposal on drug pricing policy.

The plan is a “big negative” for drugmakers and the stock reaction has already been priced in to some degree, said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at GlobAlt Investments.

> The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 55.42 points, or 0.20%, at 27,202.50 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 8.49 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 3,015.22. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 25.24 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 8,202.63.

Shares of retailer Target Corp (TGT.N) rose nearly 1 per cent after it announced a $5 billion share buyback plan.

 Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.29-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.76-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 22 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 59 new highs and 28 new lows.

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Helios Towers confirms intention to float on LSE

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Helios Towers plc yesterday confirmed its intention to proceed with an initial public offering of the ordinary shares of the company.

This follows the announcement by Helios Towers Limited on September 12, 2019 regarding the publication of a registration document.

The company intends to apply for admission of the shares to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and to trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange plc (LSE).

Admission will be subject to the requisite regulatory approvals being obtained.

The final offer price in respect of the IPO will be determined following a book-building process, with admission currently expected to occur in October 2019, according to a statement from Bola Adekoya-Olukuewu,  the company’s media consultant.

Kash Pandya, CEO of Helios Towers, said: “I am very pleased to confirm our intention to float Helios Towers on the London Stock Exchange.

“The sub-Saharan telecoms market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Helios Towers has a proven track record of growth, providing high quality, economically compelling and reliable tower infrastructure and services that drive economic development.

“We believe that we are well-positioned to drive the long-term growth and value of our business and look forward to presenting our investment proposition to investors.”

The confirmation of IPO details showed “admission to the premium segment of the official list of the FCA and to trading on the main market of the LSE. The allotment and issuance of new shares, from which the Company expects to raise gross proceeds of $125 million, as well as the sale of existing shares by existing shareholders including, inter alia, funds managed by Newlight Partners LP, Helios Investment Partners, Albright Capital Management LLC, RIT Capital Partners plc, International Finance Corporation, IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund, L.P., Millicom Holding B.V. and Bharti Airtel.

“Proceeds from the issuance of new shares will provide the group with enhanced flexibility to take advantage of future opportunities in line with the company’s growth strategy, either in current markets or new geographies, including growing and expanding relationships with customers by adding colocation tenants and colocation amendments;  growing organically through the construction of additional sites on a build-to-suit basis for telecommunications operators;  strategic acquisitions of site portfolios; and  expansion into adjacent technologies and services, and be used for general corporate purposes.

“The Company is targeting a free float for Helios Towers plc of at least 25 per cent. and expects that Helios Towers plc would be eligible for inclusion in FTSE UK indices. It is intended that an over-allotment option of up to 15 per cent of the total share offer will be made available.

 

“UK Plc corporate governance, remuneration and incentivisation arrangements will be described in the prospectus, when published. The Company has engaged Merrill Lynch International, Jefferies International Limited  and The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited to act as Joint Global Co-ordinators and Joint Bookrunners and EFG Hermes UAE Limited and Renaissance Securities (Cyprus) Limited to act as Joint Bookrunners in the event the IPO proceeds.”

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