26 Sep

Daily Watch – Naira continues downward march, Sigma Pensions gets $62 million equity shot

  • The naira fell to 440 to the US dollar at the parallel on Sunday, as a lingering foreign exchange scarcity reached new levels. The local currency, which closed at ₦436/$ on Thursday, eased to ₦435 in the early hours of Friday, closing at ₦439/$. The latest declines in the naira’s value started on Wednesday, a day after the MPC retained the benchmark lending rate at 14 percent, rebuffing calls for rates cut by analysts, stakeholders and some government officials, including the finance minister, Kemi Adeosun.
  • The interbank lending rate eased to 15 percent on Friday, down from nearly 40 percent for overnight lending a week ago, as the disbursement of August budget allocations to federal government agencies boosted market liquidity. Overall the market had a liquidity surplus of ₦283.61 billion at Friday’s opening, compared with the previous week’s deficit of ₦128 billion, according to Reuters. Traders said about ₦231 billion ($733.33 million) was injected into the banking system late on Thursday as states and local government were paid their budget portions.
  • Actis GP LLP, a leading multi-asset, pan-emerging markets investor has through Actis Golf Nigeria (a special purpose vehicle ultimately controlled by Actis), acquired a total of 984,539,475 shares in Sigma Pensions Limited in a deal worth $62 million. The acquisition, when closed, will result in Actis, Sigma Securities and the management team of Sigma Pensions jointly owning 100% of Actis Golf Nigeria. Actis invests exclusively in emerging markets with a growing portfolio of investments in Asia, Africa and Latin America; it currently has $7.6 billion under management.
  • Oil palm conglomerate, PZ Wilmar and the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on agriculture research and other economic purposes. The MoU, signed by the agriculture minister, Audu Ogbe and Kola Jamodu, for and on behalf of the two institutions, covers capacity building and knowledge sharing for the research institute. The collaboration will devote attention to developing Nigerian climate specific high yield variety through the joint development of early maturing, high yielding, and drought tolerant and disease resistant planting materials through cross-fertilisation.
  • Microsoft and Co-Creation Hub have announced a plan aimed at supporting 20 Nigerian entrepreneurs who seek to improve the lives of Nigerians through technology. The programme will see both companies launch a new partnership in entrepreneurial mentorship and support through technology with the introduction of the Windows Insiders for Good (#WINsiders4Good) Fellowship in Lagos. Applications for the WINsiders4Good Fellowship close on October 10.