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MRS Counters Claims Of AMCON Boss, Kuru

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The Asset Management Corporation of  Nigeria, under Ahmed Kuru appears to be fast losing grip of its mandate, which is to help businesses recover rather than  destroy them. It just has announced it had initiated steps to wind down MRS Holdings Limited over its inability offset its N81bn debt. Another of its recent unfriendly moves towards businesses. A move that is certain to have negative impact on the wider economy.
MRS Holding Limited is owned by, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, and AMCON said it had instituted proceedings at a Federal High Court in Lagos against the oil marketing concern.

In the suit with No.FHC/L/CP/923/2016, AMCON was asking the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, to allow it to force MRS into compulsory liquidation.

“MRS entered into an agreement with AMCON in February 2014 to restructure the debt, which then stood at over N74bn.  In the agreement executed by Alhaji Dantata and another executive director of the oil company, MRS agreed among other conditions that in the event of default, all concessions granted under the terms of settlement shall be revoked and the facility called in at the discretion of AMCON.

Alhaji Dantata and one of his directors also signed a default indemnity, which stated that if MRS Holdings Limited failed to pay any sum (of principal, interest or otherwise) due or to become due as agreed, MRS Holdings Limited shall pay additional interest at a default rate determined by AMCON on the unpaid sum from the date when such payment was due up to the default payment,” AMCON said.

But MRS has denied owing any N82b. In a statement, the company said it was strange that AMCON is re-litigating an already settled matter.

“It is clear to AMCON that MRS was paying down on the loan and agreed to restructure the loan on agreed terms of N74bn. The said debt has since been fully settled. The terms of settlement was entered as Judgment of Court on June 29, 2015 in suit No.FHC/L/CS/1365/2015. MRS is shocked that in spite of having fully settled the debt, AMCON has decided to re-litigate an already concluded matter. MRS Holdings Limited understands AMCON’s statutory function to recover debts but by no stretch can this mean harassment of companies. AMCON has declared a new aggressive debt recovery drive. MRS has no problem with that but this does not give AMCON a licence to embarrass and harass companies.”

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The company said it had taken notice of AMCON frivolous recovery cases against many companies on similar issues to MRS. Not surprisingly all the cases were dismissed by the courts. It said it would be taking legal advice “to clear its good name and bring necessary actions to seek damages for the embarrassment and damage caused the Company’s reputation and goodwill by AMCON’s publication and action.”
And this is where the problem lies. The questions that naturally follows are: Does AMCON even keep records of its cases? If it does it would have known the status of the MRS Holdings; why is AMCON always in a hurry to either liquidate or take over companies? Is there is a political angle to the whole thing?
Perhaps, NICON Holdings, owned by businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, would have been taken over by AMCON but for the intervention of the courts. Presently, AMCON is running Aero Contractors, one of the nation’s leading airlines. But there is no evidence that it has turned the company to a better concern than it met it.

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Experts recently stated that there is nothing wrong in companies owning banks or other concerns. According to him, that is what makes businesses grow all over the world.

“Someone has to owe someone,” he stated. “There is no big deal even if MRS is owing. But why should
AMCON be in hurry to wind down a company as big as MRS? Now, we are complaining that there are no jobs and even those who have are losing them. Yet, all AMCON is interested in is sending further tens of thousands to the labour market by winding down a company that is not in distress. By putting out these unnecessary wind-down notice, AMCON unwittingly damages the brand reputation and value of these companies the eyes of the public and banks may be unwilling to do business with such companies thereby further compounding  their recovery process.” At the moment many states can’t pay workers salaries, 27 of the 36 states of the federation have even been declared technically bankrupt. So the economic crises facing the country is not just affecting private sector even more so with the public sector.

Beyond this is the effect actions of AMCON can have on government’s drive for foreign investment. No investor will want to come to an environment where his business will be taken over by a government agency under the most ludicrous excuse. All over the world, businesses undergo difficult moments and through deft management moves, these are dealt with and profitability is restored. However, with the way AMCON is going, it might end on be in charge of all businesses in the country in the near future.

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ZENITH BANK RECORDS IMPROVED HALF YEAR 2019 RESULTS, WITH INTERIM DIVIDEND OF 30 KOBO PER SHARE

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Zenith Bank

In a clear demonstration of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half year ended 30 June 2019, recording positive growth across key financial metrics, thus affirming the bank’s position as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank also announced a proposed interim dividend pay-out of 30 kobo per share.

Gross earnings grew by 3% from ₦322.2 billion to ₦331.6 billion driven by a significant growth of 24% (YoY) in non-interest income from ₦88.6 billion in H1 2018 to ₦109.7 billion in H1 2019. In particular, fees from electronic products increased by ₦17bn (168%) from ₦10bn in H1 2018 to ₦27 in H1 2019, demonstrating significant progress in our retail banking initiatives. This top-line growth filtered through to the bottom-line as Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦111.7 billion reflecting a 4% growth over ₦107.4 billion reported in H1 2018 with earnings per share (EPS) increasing by 9% to ₦2.83 in H1 2019 from ₦2.60 compared to the prior period.

Between December 2018 and June 2019, the Group’s total deposit increased by 3% with retail deposits growing by ₦267 billion (31%), from ₦861 billion to close at ₦1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in our deposit base, we optimized interest expense leading to a 4% reduction from ₦74.7 billion to ₦72.1 billion due to the Group’s improved funding mix and our profound treasury management skills. Net Interest Margins (NIMs) witnessed a compression from 10% in the same period last year to 8.6% in H1 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but cost of funds improved from 3.4% to 3.0%.

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Our robust risk management ensured that our absolute Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained flat. However, the marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3% reduction in our loan book from ₦2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to ₦1.95 trillion at the end of the period. We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with liquidity ratio at 74.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25%, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds.

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Going into the second half of the year, we will continue to consolidate our leadership in the corporate space while our retail banking drive will continue unabated. We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, the bank was recently ranked as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2018 by The Banker Magazine. Similarly, Zenith Bank was recognized as the Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by The World Finance for the sixth time just as Ethical Boardroom, a Europe based Boardroom watchdog reaffirmed this recognition by naming the bank as the Best Bank in Corporate Governance in 2018. Recognition has also come the way of the bank as it was recently named as the Best Institution in Sustainability Reporting in Africa 2018 (SERAS Awards) and the Bank of the Year 2018 (BusinessDay).

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ZENITH BANK CELEBRATES D’TIGRESS ON BACK-TO-BACK AFROBASKET CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY

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Zenith Bank

 

Zenith Bank Plc, the sole sponsor of the Nigerian Female Basketball League has hailed the Nigerian female basketball team, D’Tigress, for emerging champions of the FIBA Women’s Afrobasket 2019 in Dakar, Senegal, defeating the host nation 60-55 points in the final match to retain the coveted trophy.

Speaking on the success of the team at the championship, the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu commended the team for their hard work, doggedness and team spirit, which has seen them retain the trophy which they won two years ago in Mali. He expressed delight at the heroics of the team, comprised mostly of products of the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League, which the bank has sponsored for 15 years consecutively.

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D’Tigress of Nigeria held their nerves in the final quarter of the game played at the magnificent Dakar Arena on Sunday, fighting off a late challenge from their Senegalese counterparts, to emerge African champions for the fourth time.

Evelyn Akhator, one of the products of the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League, scored 14 points and made nine rebounds and her amazing performance throughout the tournament earned her a place in the Tournament Five.

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The Nigerian female basketball team kick-started the competition with resounding victories of 75-26 points win over Tunisia and 106-39 points win over Cameroun in the group stages, before recording a 79-46 points win over Congo in the quarterfinals and a 79-58 points win over Mali in the semifinals.

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Dangote Promo: 64-year-old Bricklayer, 20-year-old Artisan Win Star prize saloon cars in Ijebu-ode, Ikorodu

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L-R: Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele; Star prize (Saloon Car) Winner of the Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies Promo, Mr Iyowun Ezekiel; National Sales Director, Dangote Cement, Adeyemi Fajobi; and Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement, Tunde Mabogunje during the star prize presentation in the " BAG of GOODIES" Dangote Cement Promotion in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on Thursday, August 15, 2019

…As 10 others collect tricycle, motorcycle, fridge, TV prizes

Two lucky Nigerians, including a 64-year-old bricklayer, Mr. Iyowun Ezekiel and 20-year-old artisan, Godwin Godday, have emerged the latest winners of Star prize GAC Saloon cars in the ongoing Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ national consumer promo.

Elated Ezekiel, who is based in Ijebu-ode, Ogun state and has been a bricklayer for over 40 years, found his prize-winning scratch card in one of the Dangote cement promo bags he bought from a distributor in Ijebu-Mushin. On the other hand, Godday, who is the youngest winner of the Star prize so far, found his winning scratch card in Ikorodu, Lagos.

: Winner of Motorcycle, Kamilu Audu; Deputy Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Desmond Aregbesola; Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele; Star prize winner, Godwin Godday; Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Tunde Mabogunje; and winner of Tricycle, Akintoye Oluwagbemiga, during the star prize and other prizes’ presentation in Ikorodu, Lagos State on Friday, August 16, 2019

 

Both star prize winners were given the keys to their brand new cars by top Dangote Cement officials at different handing-over ceremonies in Ijebu-ode and Ikorodu, alongside 10 other lucky promo winners, who carted home various prizes including a tricycle, a motorcycle, 8 refrigerators and two television sets; to the admiration of other Dangote Cement consumers, distributors and the general public.

While Mr. Akintaye Oluwagbemiga won a tricycle, Mr. Kamilu Audu won a motorcycle. Interestingly, Mr. Solomon Dayo won three out of the seven refrigerators presented at the Ikorodu event, while Messrs. Ohemu Friday, Innocent Agbo-James, Ransome Watels and Kehinde Adeagbo went home with one refrigerator each. There was also presentation of television sets to Mr. Dare Olajide and Mr. Oluwadare Gbenga. Likewise, Mr. Imam Adebisi Abdulhakeem, who won a refrigerator, collected his prize at the Ijebu-ode venue.

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Handing over the car keys to Ezekiel in Ijebu-ode, National Sales Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Adeyemi Fajobi told those gathered at the Local Government office venue that the cement promo is real and that there are many more choice prizes to be won.

According to him, all a consumer has to do is to buy the Dangote Cement products and open the bag, adding that whatever is stated on the scratch card is automatically won by the buyer, when taken to any approved depot for redemption of the prizes.

The National Sales Director added, “Only Dangote can do this. This is a promise fulfilled. Some people were skeptical when this promo began but today, this is proof of our sincerity”.

Also, Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Tunde Mabogunje, while handing over the various prizes in Ikorodu, said excited consumers have been coming forward to collect their prizes in the ongoing promo.

According to him, scores of people have come to redeem their winning scratch cards for recharge cards worth Thousands of Naira, pointing out that the promo is a deliberate effort at rewarding the consumers. He also said the company is happy that the consumers are winning.

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Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele said the promo was put up by the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote to reward consumers’ patronage.

Ezekiel, who in a display of euphoria danced to the podium to claim his Star Prize of a GAC saloon car in Ijebu-ode, Ogun State, added dash to his win by sending a typed letter of appreciation to the Chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote.

The lucky star prize winner, who said he has been a bricklayer for over 40 years, expressed profound gratitude to Aliko Dangote and the Dangote Cement company for the ongoing promo, which has so far empowered thousands of Nigerians as winners of various prizes.

While celebrating his win with his son, Tayo Ezekiel (also a bricklayer) and members of his outfit, who donned “Thank you Dangote” t-shirts, Ezekiel disclosed that he had not won anything before until now, and enthused that the Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ promo is a reality which has greatly helped Nigeria.

Speaking on how he emerged the star prize winner, Godday, who couldn’t take his education beyond Primary School due to lack of funds, said he was always watching out for winning cards in any cement bag he opened as a concrete mixer at a building site. He commended Dangote Cement for putting up the promo to alleviate poverty in the country.

The Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ promo, which began nationwide in July and is to run till September ending, has so far yielded numerous winners of prizes in various categories.

Among other unique gifts, a total of 43 brand new cars, cash prizes of N200 million, 24 tricycles, 500 refrigerators, 24 motorcycles, 400 television sets, generators, Goodies packs, are available for winners in a promo, which has generated so much excitement among Nigeria, with over 21 million lucky winners targeted

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