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Ambode urges Entrepreneurs to leverage on Business Networks

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… As 2018 Lagos International Trade Fair ends

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday urged the entrepreneurs to build on new networks established during the just concluded ten-day Lagos International Trade Fair to advance their businesses for the economic prosperity of Lagos State and the country at large.

Governor Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, gave the advice at the closing ceremony of the 32nd Lagos International Trade Fair in Lagos.

He said the country had once again through the Fair showed the international community that Nigerian entrepreneurs have a lot to offer shoppers beyond the shores of the country in terms of products and services and called on business-oriented individuals to make the State a prime place of choice for their businesses.

“I urge you to connect with us in Lagos State as there are abundant investment opportunities waiting to be explored. Our State is investor-friendly and with your partnership, we are committed to doing more”, the Governor assured.

He expressed delight in the fact that Lagos State had consistently hosted the yearly event for the past three decades with huge participation from indigenous traders and entrepreneurs.

He, however, expressed the hope that the numerous trade experiences which the Fair has helped to facilitate will translate to increased GDP for the State, enhanced socio-economic capital for the citizens through temporary jobs, new investments, business opportunities and networks that sprung up throughout the Fair.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye maintained that the annual Trade Fair affords the State the opportunity to accommodate a number of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Lagos State Pavilion to relieve them of the cost of participation, thereby affording them the chance to showcase their products and services to the international business community and the general public free of charge.

According to her, the provision of free exhibition stands for young entrepreneurs was one of the many ways the State government promotes and provides business support for owners of MSMEs in order to stimulate demand for their products as well as services and ultimately facilitate the enhancement of their productivity and profitability.

She described the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during the opening session of the Fair as a promotional boost and opportunity for investment linkages for MSMEs.

The fair which started on November 2 had hundreds of foreign exhibitors, thousands of visitors and representatives of some States in attendance.

 

Business

GTBank Builds Nigeria’s First Digital Play Centre for Children

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Banks only build branches, or so the story goes. Except for Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; the foremost African financial institution, which has been at the forefront of several innovative products and services, recently completed and opened the first digital playground for children in Nigeria.

Located in Lekki, Lagos State, the GTBank Play Centre is equipped with a wide range of interactive games that will give kids a fun and immersive digital experience whilst aiding their mental and intellectual development. Open from 10am to 3pm on Weekdays, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays, some of the features of the Play Centre include the Sketch Town, where kids can design cars, launch rockets, and bring all their sketches to life. At the playground, children can also use the wide range of bricks available to build whatever excites their curiosity and also express themselves creatively by scribbling, writing and drawing on a digital chalkboard.

GTBank is renowned for designing innovative and personalized products and services that are tailored to customers’ unique needs and which fit seamlessly with their lifestyles. Recently, the Bank launched Habari, a digital platform that gives customers unlimited access to local and international music, and at the same time, allows them to shop online, split bills with friends and take care of their everyday needs, in one place. Habari, like the GTBank Play Centre, is the first of its kind in Nigeria, reflecting the Bank’s digital drive as well as its focus on creating unique experiences for all segments of its customer base.

Commenting on the launch of the Play Centre, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje said; “How and where children play contributes significantly to their cognitive and intellectual development, helping them build better communication and problem-solving skills. Our new Play Centre will give children a tension-free space to build these critical developmental skills, expose them to new and emerging digital technologies, and, most importantly, give them a wonderful time out.”

He further stated that “At GTBank we are passionate about building the bank of the future, and for us, this means constantly leveraging the best of technology to create amazing digital experiences for all of our customers, in a way that adds real value to their lives.”

Guaranty Trust Bank is one of the best run African financial institutions and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world-class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality, and innovation. The Bank is also renowned for driving youth empowerment initiatives alongside its business, as seen with the GTCrea8 Account package, which doubles up as a platform for empowering young undergraduates with the resources and networking that they need to develop their skills and talents and build capacity in their careers of choice.

 

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Access & Diamond get final approval for merger

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Nigeria News

 

Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc have gotten final merger approvals from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The two financial institutions, in separate corporate disclosures issued on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the weekend, confirmed that the approvals have been secured.

“Access Bank Plc is pleased to announce that the bank has received the final approval of both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the proposed scheme of merger between the bank and Diamond Bank Plc,” a statement by Access Bank disclosed.

“The scheme is subject to judicial sanction by the Federal High Court. We will provide further update to the market upon receipt of court sanction of the scheme.”

 

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Zenith Bank’s Improved PBT of N232Billion Excites Shareholders, with Dividend Offer of N2.80 Per Share

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In a clear show of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank has announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2018 with profit before tax (PBT) rising to N232 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2018.

Also, in demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share, representing a yield of 11.2 per cent.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2018 financial year released in Lagos on Tuesday, this represents an increase of 16.6 percent over the N199 billion recorded for the same period in 2017. It is the highest so far published by any bank in the Nigerian Banking Industry in the current reporting period. Also, the results showed that profit after tax (PAT) witnessed an impressive growth of 11 per cent year-on-year to N193 billion from N174 billion.

This record profit before tax (PBT) was achieved through the Group’s optimisation of its cost of funds, cost-to-income ratio and cost of risk, ensuring that earnings per share strengthened by 11% to ₦6.15.

Despite the challenging macro-environment, the Group mitigated the knock-on effects through growth of its net interest income and operating income by 15% and 8% respectively as it was able to ensure improved cost efficiencies across the business. This focus on cost efficiencies is yielding tangible benefits as the Group recorded its lowest ever cost-to-income ratio at 49.3% from 52.8% in 2017.

The bank’s balance sheet remains shockproof as loan to deposit ratio, liquidity ratio and capital adequacy ratio were 44.2%, 72.0% and 25.0% respectively and all above the regulatory threshold.

Our risk-centric approach also ensured that cost of risk reduced significantly by 79% from 4.3% in the prior year to 0.9% in 2018. This was reflected through the drop-off in impairment charges by 81% (₦80 billion) compared to 2017, re-affirming the Group’s enhanced asset quality. In the same breadth, coverage ratio increased by 34.2% from 143.4% to 192.4% over the same period, reflecting a prudent disposition to credit risk management. Cost of funds also moved in the positive direction, declining by 41% from 5.2% in 2017 to 3.1% for the year, supported by a 33% decrease in interest expense (₦72 billion) over the same period, demonstrating a robust treasury and liquidity management.

Customer deposits grew by 7% led by an increase of ₦109 billion in savings and an increase of N122bn in current accounts providing it with a platform to rebalance its deposits mix. In 2018, expensively purchased deposits were foregone in favour of cheaper and more stable deposits resulting in a reduction of expensive and shorter dated deposits by ₦110 billion. On the asset front, this increased by 6% to close the year at ₦6 trillion.

The Group’s efforts to deepen its roots in the retail segment have started yielding benefits. This has resulted in a remarkable increase in the volume of transactions across various electronic platforms as well as significant customer acquisitions. This growth in transactions on its digital channels continues to support its retail push as fees from e-products increased by 44% over 2017 with retail deposit balances also growing by 25%.
Management’s outlook is positive for 2019, supported by a fairly stable inflation rate, converging foreign exchange market and near target oil production. The Group will continue its investment in the retail segment of the market to consolidate its leadership position in both the retail and corporate segments while it maintains its shock proof balance sheet.

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. In similar fashion, 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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