- The Nairametrics Corporate News Roundup is a summary of major corporate announcements that dominated the headlines during the week ending March 25, 2023.
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Whew! It seems to be one drama or the other at Seplat Energy Plc. Not too long ago, we were talking about the racism allegations levelled against the company’s CEO, Roger Brown. And now, the latest drama is that the company has severed all ties with its Co-founder and former Board Chairman ABC Orjiako. Let’s tell you all about it and more on today’s Corporate News Roundup.
Seplat sacks ABC Orjiako
Seplat Energy Plc said it terminated its consultancy agreement with co-founder and former Chairman, Dr A.B.C Orjiako, due to what it described as ‘repeated breaches of corporate governance of a material nature’. An example of these breaches included making significant commitments on behalf of Seplat without prior approval by the Board. A statement by Seplat explained that it became necessary to terminate the contract in order to protect the company and its directors from potential liabilities.
Meanwhile, Seplat instituted legal action against Orjiako, and the matter is awaiting resolution by the Federal High Court in Abuja. Seplat has, however, assured stakeholders that it remains committed to maintaining high standards of corporate governance across its business.
Orjiako responds to Seplat
In the meantime, Dr ABC Orjiako has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the “controversial commitment” he was accused of making on behalf of Seplat. Nairametrics gathered that it was all about a letter he wrote to the Federal Government to help facilitate the $1.3 million sale of ExxonMobile’s shallow water Nigerian assets to Seplat.
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Orjiako said Seplat Energy is already benefiting from the result of the letter he wrote to the federal government, even though the company had accused him of acting unilaterally. As per the lawsuit filed against him, Orjiako said he has instructed his lawyers to take legal steps against those behind the suit.
Access Holdings’ new deal
Access Holdings Plc announced that its subsidiary, Bank Zambia Limited, received final regulatory approval from the Bank of Zambia to acquire and merge African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited into its existing operations. The merger will help create one of the top five banks in Zambia, with over 70 branches and agencies, around $1 billion in total assets, and over 300,000 customers.
Reacting to the deal, Access Holdings’ Group CEO, Dr Herbert Wigwe, said the merger builds on the company’s earlier acquisition and merger of Cvmont Bank Plc into Access Bank Zambia. He also mentioned that it underscores the banking group’s resolve to strengthen its presence in Zambia, a key African market that fits into its strategic focus on geographic earnings growth and diversification.
Dangote’s dividend payout
Dangote Cement Plc said it would pay N340 billion worth of dividends to registered shareholders whose names appear in the company’s register of members as of March 30, 2023. In the meantime, the dividend payout is pending approval at the company’s annual general meeting scheduled for April 13, 2023.
Recall that Dangote Cement Plc recorded gross earnings of N1.6 trillion in 2022, up from N1.4 trillion the previous year. The company’s revenue also increased by 21% to N1,205 billion compared to N993 billion in the previous year. The group’s earnings per share rose by 5% to N22.27 billion, while the company’s earnings per share increased by 6% to N23.87 billion.
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Unclaimed dividends at Custodian
Speaking of dividends, Nairametrics reported that Custodian and Allied Plc’s unclaimed dividends have risen to N1.179 billion over the last 14 years, accounting for about 4.98% of the total dividend of N23.683 billion declared by the group during the period. Despite regulators’ efforts to encourage investors to register for e-dividend, the company’s outstanding unclaimed dividends started getting higher in 2013.
Reasons for the growth of unclaimed dividends include shareholders who have died without information on next of kin, multiple applications during the investment process, and deliberate actions to deny investors their benefits. Quarterly reports by the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the value of unclaimed dividends rose from N37 billion in 2010 to N180 billion at the end of 2021.
Dangote Group’s cost of sales
Analysis by Nairametrics showed that Dangote Group spent over N1 trillion on the cost of sales in 2022, up by 26.34% from the previous year. The increase was largely due to inflationary pressures and the depreciation of the Naira.
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The amount spent on the cost of sales represents 48.47% of the total revenue of N2.08 trillion recorded by Dangote Group’s subsidiaries in 2022. Despite the challenges, the group maintained strong financial performance and even announced a combined dividend payout of N361.6 billion, up by 26% from the previous year.
MTN Nigeria’s partnership with Amazon
MTN Nigeria announced that it has partnered with Amazon’s Prime Video to offer its customers a mobile-only subscription to the streaming service. This marks the first time that a telco in Nigeria has offered Prime Video Mobile Edition to its customers, which includes access to the full catalogue of over 9,000 movies and 1,500 TV shows. The partnership was made possible through the collaboration of i-Cell Communications, Vector, and the Mondia Group.
According to A’isha Umar Mumuni, the Chief Digital Officer at MTN Nigeria, the launch of Prime Video Mobile Edition is an important step in making entertainment more accessible and affordable for Nigerian customers. The partnership also brings together critical stakeholders including i-Cell Multimedia Limited, Vector Telecoms Limited, and the Mondia Group acting as Technical Partners to Amazon.
Afromedia explains late result
Afromedia Plc said it will miss the deadline to file its audited financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2022 due to a court order that froze its bank accounts.
The company is currently appealing the Garnishee Order which it hopes will be vacated soon. The Garnishee Order Nisi was issued against Afromedia Plc on 8th December 2022, resulting in all its bank accounts being frozen and funds therein rendered inaccessible.
Ndidi Nwuneli’s appointment
Stanbic IBTC Holdings has appointed Ndidi Nwuneli as an Independent Non-Executive Director. The appointment followed the retirement of Ngozi Edozien.
Nwuneli is an expert in social innovation, agriculture, nutrition, and youth development, with over 25 years of international development experience. She is a recognized entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Appointments at Unilever Nigeria
The company appointed Afolasade Olowe as Executive Director and Mrs Abidemi Ademola as Company Secretary with effect from March 16, 2023. Abidemi Ademola has supported the Unilever Nigeria Board for over 10 years in implementing world-class corporate governance practices and is a skilled and experienced Corporate Counsel, Governance Professional, and Executive Business Leader with over 27 years of exp erience in Commercial Law and Corporate Governance practice in Nigeria and West Africa.
Afolasade Olowe is a seasoned corporate counsel with close to two decades of experience in corporate commercial law and governance practice. Her expertise cuts across different aspects of law including Corporate Law and Governance, Regulatory Advisory and Compliance, Labour & Employment, Mergers & acquisitions, etc. Unilever Nigeria has been listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since April 1st, 1973, and is currently the 27th most valuable stock on the NGX with a market capitalization of NGN 80.4 billion.