Africa’s biggest grocery retailer, ShopRite has announced plans to exit Nigeria, one of its major markets. Making the decision 15 years after its operations started in the continent’s biggest economy, ShopRite said its financial results for the year 2020 do not reflect any of their operations in Nigeria. Hence, it will be classified as a discontinued operation. The South Africa-based retailer has started a formal process to consider the potential sale of all or a majority stake in its supermarkets in the country. South African retailers have struggled to survive in the Nigerian market. Most recently among some that have left the country are Mr Price which exited the market this year and Woolworths which left Nigeria six years ago. According to a report from the company, its international supermarkets, excluding Nigeria, contributed 11.6% to group sales and reported a 1.4% decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78% of overall sales and saw 8.7% rise for the year. Customer visits declined 7.4% as a result of lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic but the average basket spend increased by 18.4%.
The revenue of some major oil and gas companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange fell by about 38% to over ₦84 billion in the second quarter of 2020. This is according to data compiled from the recently released results of the listed companies in the oil and gas sector; Mobile Oil (II), Ardova, Total, & Seplat, the only major oil and gas firms that have released their Q2 financials. The oil firm reported combined revenue of ₦135.6 billion in the second quarter of 2020 compared to ₦220.3 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2019. Revenue in Q1 was ₦219 billion. The oil price crash and the COVID-19 pandemic which have hit the Nigerian economy, particularly the oil and gas sector, hard, could be a major reason for the loss in revenues. The firms also recorded a combined loss before tax of ₦16.6 billion compared to ₦38 billion in pretax profits reported in the same period in 2019. The Q2 losses compound an already bad situation for these companies after reporting a loss before tax of ₦28.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020. These companies have now seen a combined ₦45.4 billion wiped out of their profits. An analysis of the reports of various oil firms by Nairametrics showed that most of the losses came from the oil marketing firms Total and Mobil. Over ₦56 billion of the revenue loss was between Mobil and Total. Seplat and Ardova lost just over ₦5 billion respectively.
Air Peace has sacked over 70 pilots across its fleet and reduced staff salaries by up to 40 per cent, a member of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers told the Punch. Confirming the development, the management of the airline, however, linked the pilots’ disengagement to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilots had on 22 July, protested a major pay cut after negotiations with the management over their remuneration broke down. A spokesperson of the airline, Stanley Olise, described the development as “painful but rightful decision,” going by the present economic reality. He said the airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfil its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organisations, insurance companies, banks, and other creditors, hence the decision to restructure its entire operations to survive the times, acknowledging how the coronavirus pandemic has hit every airline worldwide. Olise explained that the new salaries reflect a zero per cent-40 percent depending on the salary grades of each employee.
Nigeria’s FBN Holdings says it has sold its life insurance company to South Africa’s Sanlam Emerging Markets and invested the proceeds of ₦25 billion or $66 million as equity into First Bank. The move is to boost its capital after restructuring its loan book, FBN said Monday. According to the Chief Executive Officer Urum Kalu Eke, FBN Holdings sold its 65% stake in FBN Insurance to Sanlam Emerging Markets, a minority investor in the business to focus on improving shareholder value with the divestment and boost the capital position of its commercial banking unit, First Bank to 16.53% as of June, from 15.5% a year ago, close to the regulatory minimum of 15%. Banks in the country are expected to take a big hit to revenues and face rising borrowing costs this year as the monetary regulator’s measures to support the naira squeezes lenders already hit by fallout from the coronavirus and the oil price shock, according to analysts. FBN’s CEO said the outlook of the lender continues to remain uncertain as the remaining part of the year will be challenged. FBN Holdings said last Wednesday pre-tax profit fell 31.1% in the first half to ₦12.73 billion while loans grew 7.7% led by short-tenured credit due to a low-interest-rate environment. It had restructured around 15% of its $4.6 billion loan book by mid-year after the central bank asked banks to allow customers struggling due to COVID-19 to defer interest for one-year. CBN had in 2010 directed lenders to either sell their stakes in subsidiaries involved in activities including insurance, asset management, and investment banking – or adopt a holding company structure, where those activities are separate from the holding of retail deposits.