Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank” or ‘’the Bank’’) announces today that it has received the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Approval-in-Principle for the Bank’s restructuring to a holding company (“HoldCo”). The proposed HoldCo structure would enable the Bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance. Further details regarding the HoldCo structure will be communicated to the market in due course.
Access Bank also announces definitive agreements to bolster its market position in Mozambique and enter the South African market. This follows the recent transaction with Cavmont Bank in Zambia and further embeds the Bank’s presence in the SADC region, one of Africa’s most important trading blocs.
These transactions will result in a more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees. Shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from the Bank’s federated IT system and replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.
A broader and connected Africa network remains a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics. Through these transactions, Access Bank will be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the UAE, the UK, China, Lebanon and India.
Strategic Entry and Acquisition in Mozambique
Access Bank announces that it has received regulatory approvals to commence operations in Mozambique under the name Access Bank Mozambique, S.A. (“Access Bank Mozambique”).
Access Bank also announces that its subsidiary, Access Bank Mozambique, has entered into a definitive agreement with ABC Holdings Limited (“ABC Holdings”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited (“Atlas Mara”) to acquire African Banking Corporation (Moҫambique), S.A., (“BancABC Mozambique”) for cash, in a combination of definitive and contingent consideration.
This transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the Bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the 7th largest bank in the country, up from 20th. As an enlarged business, Access Bank Mozambique will have an enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambican economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent.
Strategic Investment in South Africa
Building on its strategy of delivering a robust banking operation which connects key African markets, Access Bank has entered into a definitive agreement with GroCapital Holdings (“GroCapital”) to invest into Grobank Limited over two tranches. The first is an initial cash consideration for a 49% shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche. Both tranches are subject to various regulatory approvals and the overall transaction subject to Grobank’s shareholder approvals.
GroCapital, whose shareholders include the Public Investment Corporation – Africa’s largest investment manager, and Fairfax Africa Holdings – a leading global investor, will retain an existing but diluted shareholding in Grobank.
A presence in South Africa will serve as a cornerstone for further momentum in delivering on Access Bank’s mission to be Africa’s Gateway to the World. The proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfil the needs of multi-national clients.
Speaking on these developments Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO Access Bank said:
“We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability. Today’s announcement demonstrates further commitment to delivering our strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in line with our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank.
These transactions will significantly strengthen our presence in Southern Africa and further our footprint for growth in the SADC region. With a broader presence across the continent, Access Bank will be better placed to support our customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth. The proposed transactions will accelerate the Bank’s momentum towards delivering world class banking services to an expanded customer base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent.’’
ABOUT ACCESS BANK PLC
Access Bank Plc is a leading full-service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 36 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 thousand people in its operations in Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE.
Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998, Access Bank is a diversified financial institution which combines a strong retail customer franchise and digital platform with deep corporate banking expertise and proven risk management and capital management capabilities. The Bank services its various markets through five business segments: Personal, Business, Operations and IT, Commercial and Corporate & Investment Banking. The Bank has over 800,000 shareholders, including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors, and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last 18 years. Following its merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank became one of Africa’s largest retail banks.
As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.
For further information, please visit https://www.accessbankplc.com/
…As Kyari Urges Speedy Passage of PIB
In keeping with the objectives of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Accord, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is focusing on growing the nation’s domestic gas utilization for balanced economic growth.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, disclosed this Tuesday at the BusinessDay Energy Series Summit which held virtually with theme: “Nigeria at 60: Harnessing Nigeria’s Energy for the Future”.
A press release by the Corporation’s spokesman, Dr. Kennie Obateru, quoted the GMD as restating NNPC’s commitment to the aggressive implementation of the Nigerian Gas Master Plan as a way of stimulating massive and sustainable economic development using natural gas which the nation has in abundance.
Mallam Kyari, who spoke on the topic: “NNPC’s Perspectives on Nigeria’s Gas Sector Development,” said apart from the Corporation’s commitment to deliver key gas infrastructural projects such as the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System II (ELPS II), the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Gas Pipeline, the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline, and Central Gas Processing Facilities (CGPFs), NNPC was working on growing domestic gas utilization to 5billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (scf/d) and developing 5gigawatts (GW) of power generation by 2022.
“At the NNPC, we are aggressively pursuing other gas development initiatives with the aim of improving Nigeria’s economy using the appropriate fuels. In terms of Gas and Power, we are developing and integrating gas and power infrastructure networks (increase interconnectivity) as well as stimulating gas demand (power generation, feedstock and transport, etc.),” the GMD informed.
He said NNPC was also exploring partnerships and investments in transmission to unlock evacuation and improve power distribution across the country, stressing that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 would be delivered by 2024. “We are equally collaborating among key industry players and government agencies on key sectors even as we are developing energy related policies and investment packages to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” the NNPC boss stated.
He said the focus on the development of key areas will not only expand the Corporation’s domestic gas footprints, but also support the development of petrochemicals, fertilizer, methanol and other gas-based industries that will generate employment and facilitate balanced economic growth.
He applauded the support of President Muhammadu Buhari and the efforts of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in driving initiatives aimed at positioning natural gas for sustainable development, noting that a number of the Federal Government’s gas initiatives such as the 7 Big Wins, the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), the National Gas Policy (2017), have helped a great deal pushing the gas development agenda “I would not end this discussion without emphasizing the need for proper legislation.
The passage of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is long overdue. It is one piece of legislation that will expand economic growth via improved revenue flows from the oil and gas sector and make the industry efficient and competitive. NNPC is committed to supporting a sustainable legislation that will bring transformation to the industry, promote transparency and accountability across the value chain,” Mallam Kyari posited.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has awarded prizes worth N16.5 million to nine Nigerians, who emerged winners of the Nigeria @60 Independence Challenge.
Government had approved an inclusive National Independence Day Celebration programme with the theme: “Together at 60,” where it called on creative Nigerians to choose brand and come up with elements that will beautify the anniversary.
The Sub-Committee, chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami launched the challenge Portal on September 4, with the aim of providing opportunity for talented, critical thinking and creative individuals or teams to produce the event slogan, photograph and a poem.
During the evaluation, a total of 3,258 entries were received, out of which 1,931 Slogan, 638 Poetry, and 689 Photography entries were submitted.
While presenting the awards and prizes, Pantami, who is the Chairman of the 60th Independence Celebration Sub-Committee, said that the competition was meant to create a platform for all Nigerians to participate in the diamond jubilee anniversary.
He congratulated the winners and charged those who participated to continue utilising their skills for the betterment of themselves and Nigeria at large, adding that “the nation will be proud of them”.
He said the Diamond Anniversary, which will last till September 30, 2021 is a period for Nigeria to celebrate its unity.
He also commended the jury that worked day and night to ensure fairness during the selection of nine winners from each category of the competition.
The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, while delivering the welcome address, described the process as first of its kind, where citizens are engaged virtually to plan the celebration.
Abdullahi added that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought another opportunity for Nigerians to celebrate 60 years anniversary in style.
The Chairman of the Independence Competition Judging Committee, Director, IT Infrastructure Solution, NITDA, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi, said the competition was meant to tap into the creative and innovative potential of the youths.
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr, Tope Fashedemi, commended efforts of all participants, describing every Nigerian as a winner.
The outcome of the assessment saw the emergence of the following as second runners up: Sani Ibrahim (Slogan), Samson Mayor Emeka (Photography) and Umoru Patrick Eghiegbai (Poetry); first runners up Yusuf Muhammad Ahmad (Slogan), Leke Adebule and Team (Photography), and Mustapha Dauda Gwary (Poetry). The winners of the challenge are: Nwakuba Ezinne (Slogan), Amao Daniel Oluwadarisimi (Photography) and Kalu Rejoice Chioma (Poetry).
The winners were presented with awards and cash prizes in each category, with the second runners up getting N1 million each, first runners up N1.5 million each, and the winners, N3 million each, for their creativity and innovative contribution to the Diamond Jubilee Celebration.
The Diamond/Innovation/Change Sub-Committee was made up of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as Chairman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Honourable Minister Education and Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Head of Civil Service of the Federation as members, while DG NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, was later co-opted as member.
…………Holds Nov. 14 – 15, Call for Exhibitors Now Open
Foremost financial institution Guaranty Trust Bank plc has confirmed that the 5th edition of Africa’s premier fashion event, the GTBank Fashion Weekend, will hold on Saturday, November 14, and Sunday, November 15, 2020. The two-day event will feature fashion-leaders and industry experts from around the world, whilst providing hundreds of indigenous small fashion businesses with the opportunity to expand their online presence, reach new markets, and position their businesses for sustainable growth.
Themed “The Future of Fashion Retail,” the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend event will feature a hybrid of online and physical experiences, including Online Master Classes, an Immersive Online Shopping Experience with Free Delivery Nationwide, and a Runway Show.
In line with its vision of Promoting Enterprise, the Bank will provide an e-commerce platform that will allow hundreds of small businesses to connect with thousands of online consumers, whilst providing fashion lovers with an immersive online shopping experience. The Bank will provide custom-built online retail stalls for free and, at the same time, fully sponsor all promotional activities to drive visibility and sales for all the fashion brands that will be a part of the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend.
In addition to its innovative fashion retail experiences, the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend will feature a series of online masterclasses facilitated by renowned fashion industry experts.
A “must-attend” for entrepreneurs and fashion enthusiasts, the masterclasses have been designed to deliver the same quality in content and engagement as previous years, through interactive webinars that will focus on exploring new and exciting ways to build and sustain fashion brands in these times and the future.
The Runway Show will also keep its place at the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend. Designed with current realities in mind, the Runway Show will feature a carefully curated ensemble of bold and enthralling fashion statements by Africa’s Finest Fashion Brands, delivered in a socially distanced environment.
Commenting on the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, said; “Fashion is more than just art or endeavor, it is a way of life, and as we make adjustments to how we live in these new realities, we are also reimagining how we create value for small businesses, the local fashion industry and our customers through the GTBank Fashion Weekend. This year, key parts of our fashion experience will go online, but the focus remains the same; to drive the growth of our fashion industry by promoting enterprise for small businesses in the sector.”
He further stated that “At GTBank, we will continue to lend the full weight of our franchise to safeguarding lives and livelihoods not only by leading the fight to curtail the Covid-19 outbreak, but also creating and championing initiatives that help businesses and individuals thrive.”
Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta today inaugurated a 15-member Evaluation Committee to assess 2020 telecommunications-based research from academics in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Breastfeeding babies can be a way of protecting them against COVID-19, a new study reveals.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology in China and published on a pre-peer review site.
The researchers found that mother’s milk prevented the pathogen from infecting and replicating in cells, even if the child does not have antibodies.
The Chinese lab study exposed human lung and gut cells to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
It analysed the effect a breast milk sample collected in 2017, years before the pandemic, had on the cells.
The researchers mixed healthy cells into human breast milk, after which the milk was washed off and the cells were exposed to the virus.
Findings by the study revealed that the virus did not enter most of the cells and in few cases where it entered, the virus could not replicate itself.
This implies that breast milk could help in halting the spread of the coronavirus as well as other viruses such as norovirus, and even bacteria.
“SARS-CoV-2 could infect [cells] and the infection could be inhibited by breastmilk (2 mg/ml) , which was reported to have anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity,” the study read.
Although the study is yet to be peer-reviewed, its findings corroborates recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that mothers with COVID-19 should continue to breastfeed their babies.
The global health agency said the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the potential risks of COVID-19 transmission.
Further studies are being conducted on the effect of breastfeeding in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
A US national study is currently being implemented by the Washington State University to determine whether or not babies can contract COVID-19 from breastfeeding.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced its partnership with Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) in a matching fund scheme. The scheme aims to cushion the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on low-cost private schools by ensuring lending at an attractive interest rate.
The programme will provide access to finance where participating schools can each be availed up to N5 million as well as capacity development, business and financial advisory. There will be monitoring and evaluation to ensure prompt loan repayment.
To enjoy this funding opportunity, applications will be submitted via the LSETF portal for screening while successful applicants will be passed on to FirstBank for the loan appraisal and disbursement process. The loan is meant for working capital and asset finance to enable schools resuscitate their practice, acquire needed materials, upgrade their facilities, as well as pay staff salaries in order to bounce back, especially after the lockdown.
This scheme promotes entrepreneurship in Lagos State which is in tandem with the vision of LSETF to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for Lagos residents. It has provisions for Micro Enterprises (ME) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across all the 57 LCDAs in the 20 LGAs in Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State said the N5 billion Education Loan Programme was a precursor to many more human development sector-specific support programmes that would be unveiled by the LSETF on behalf of the State Government next month.
The Governor explained that the intervention was necessary, given the importance of education to building human capital. He said his administration took education as critical building 21st century economy and realising objectives set out in the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda.
The beneficiaries, Sanwo-Olu said, will have access to single-digit loan facilities to fund the provision of the amenities and services needed to aid learning.
He said: “It is thus heart-warming to have First Bank of Nigeria electing to be our exemplary partner for this intervention. With their support, players in the education sector would be getting the financial support they need to boost learning at a single-digit interest rate.
“I also commend the Board of LSETF and the management for this significant accomplishment. They have helped the Lagos State Government build an institution that has engendered public trust and elevated the hope of small businesses and young people, irrespective of challenges faced.”
According to Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “at FirstBank we recognise the indelible role played by the education sector in the growth of any economy and this underscores our partnership with Lagos State Government for continuous development of the education services in Lagos State and the nation as a whole. The commitment by the Lagos State Government – including this partnership – to enable schools is quite commendable as this will mitigate the challenges caused by the lockdown on the education sector following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“With the single-digit funding targeted at about 2,000 low-cost private schools in the State, we are delighted at this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the development of education in Lagos State, thereby contributing our quota to further the mandate of the Lagos State Government – in partnership with LSETF – on economic growth, enhanced opportunities for employment and bridging societal gaps in education,” he concluded.
Commenting on the Eduloan programme, Mrs Bola Adesola, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) stated that; “According to the NESG the Education Sector remains a growth area for job creation and a report on job creation by the NBS states that the Education Sector is one of the top 5 sectors that created over 59m jobs in 2019. This fact is buttressed by the data collected by LSETF in previous loan programmes. The objective of the LSETF-FirstEdu loan is to create employment, improve the quality of education for our youth by providing access to affordable finance to low-cost private schools and vocational training centres.
“We are confident that this intervention fund, which is complemented by our free professional and institutional support structures, will ensure that the education ecosystem in Lagos State will witness an improvement in the overall learning outcomes for our children, while positively impacting on the Lagos local economy through wealth and job creation.,” she stated.
Only recently, FirstBank partnered with the Lagos State government, Robert & John, IBM and Curious Learning with a resolve to enable the education of 1 million Nigerian students through innovative eLearning solutions that will drive sustainable efforts towards improving education for all. As part of the partnership, the Bank donated 20,000 units of e-learning devices to the Lagos State government.
These partnerships reinforce FirstBank’s “You First” brand promise of putting not just its customers first but the economy of its host communities.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 57,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 3 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
About Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)
Established in 2016, LSETF’s vision is to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce unemployment in Lagos State. LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), formulating policies and actively intervening to improve the business environment. The Agency also trains and places unemployed Lagos residents in jobs, while driving innovation within the Lagos ecosystem.
Sterling Bank Plc has received Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s approval-in-principle to restructure from a stand-alone commercial bank to a holding company (holdco).
A regulatory filing indicated the bank has already commenced the process to obtain the final approval for the conversion to holding company.
Sterling Bank had divested from its non-bank subsidiaries in line with the banking regime, which requires banks with non-bank subsidiaries to either divest from such subsidiaries or adopt holdco structure.
Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman said the bank’s desire to operate as a holding company was driven by its plan to spin off its non-interest banking window which became operational in January 2014 into an autonomous entity.
He said the bank believes the proposed structure incorporates efficiencies around operations and financing efforts that will support the individual businesses in reaching full potential through increased portfolio diversification and improved efficiency among others.
He said the holdco structure enables the non-interest bank and other non-core businesses achieve greater results based on focused management of the distinct businesses while there would be improved efficiency resulting from the consolidation of key functions such as compliance, risk management and other support functions, yielding improved prospects for individual business growth.
According to him, the group would also benefit from enhanced corporate governance, which serves to promote a consistent culture across the group and quality of service to customers thereby facilitating sustainability of earnings.
He added the holdco structure would also facilitate better access to capital by leveraging the consolidated financial strength of the group which would have been otherwise difficult for each individual subsidiary company.
“Going into the holding company structure, our desire is to entrench our business model premised on social capitalism where we believe that private sector capital and market-based tools will offer the best types of solutions to Nigeria’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. The holding company gives us the structure to explore our business model further,” Suleiman said.
He explained the holding company is designed to operate on three major premises of specialisation, partnership and digitisation.
According to him, while the conventional bank will focus on building skills and using technology to provide solutions in the areas that are critical to development in the country including health, education, agriculture, renewable energy, transportation (HEART) while the non-interest bank will focus on building partnerships that connect individuals and businesses leveraging technology to create business optimisation while solving for an individual’s daily financial needs.
“The overall business will focus on social impact, corporate responsibility and religious compliance in its dealings. Our digitisation drive will create an enabling environment for both financial institutions to grow while providing services and support to build efficiencies in different ecosystems. The execution of our plans is fully dependent on our interwoven operating model of agility, specialization and digitization,” Suleiman said.
He noted for the bank to be successful, it requires people who are adaptable and knowledgeable running processes that are simple, quick and tech-led to ensure efficiency.
Dairy giant FrieslandCampina WAMCO has acquired the dairy business of Nutricima, makers of Olympic, Coast and Nunu, a range of powdered, evaporated and ready to drink milk products.
The acquisition means that Nutricima’s dairy business has been integrated into FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc.
Nutricima Limited was founded in Nigeria in 2005 and has, since then, earned itself consumer awareness within the dairy industry.
But, on Tuesday, FrieslandCampina WAMCO announced the acquisition of Nutricima’s production facility in Ikorodu, Lagos.
The acquisition included Nutricima’s brands namely, Olympic, Coast and Nunu- a range of powdered, evaporated and ready to drink milk products.
These brands have a good presence across the Nigerian dairy market.
The acquisition underlined FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s continued commitment to contribute to the development of the Nigerian dairy sector.
It also satisfied the need for additional production capacity for FrieslandCampina WAMCO to meet the growing demand for locally produced evaporated and powdered milk by Nigerian consumers.
President of FrieslandCampina Consumer Dairy, Roel van Neerbos, said: “FrieslandCampina WAMCO has been a key player in Nigeria since 1954. With this acquisition, we demonstrate our strong commitment to Nigeria and its dairy market.”
Managing Director of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, Mr. Ben Langat, said: “It is our mission to bring affordable and attainable quality dairy products to all Nigerians and meet the growing demand. That’s why we are pleased with this acquisition.”
Over the last few years, FrieslandCampina WAMCO has invested significantly in capital expenditure, including a new warehouse and a world-class Learning Academy to build capabilities across functions and to drive talent development.
Recently, the company commissioned a state-of-the-art plant for local production of Peak Yoghurt, which is directly linked to its highly successful Dairy Development Programme (DDP).
The DDP is a major investment that has been at the center of Nigeria’s backward integration in local milk sourcing over the last decade, with over 9,000 local farmers spread across five states in Nigeria.
Langat assured that FrieslandCampina WAMCO will continue to expand its portfolio, particularly through low unit price packs and by strengthening its distribution reach in the market.
He said having fulfilled all requirements including requisite shareholders and regulatory approvals, FrieslandCampina WAMCO has commenced operations at the newly acquired plant.
Founder of First City Monument Bank, (FCMB) and philanthropist, Otunba (Dr.) Michael Olasubomi Balogun has signed an agreement handing over the Otunba Tunwase National Pediatric Centre (OTNPC) to be jointly managed by the University of Ibadan (UI) and University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
The signing of the agreement which was held in Lagos on Saturday between the Vice-Chancellor of UI, Prof Idowu Olayinka and Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof Abiodun Otegbayo and other signees was aimed at resuscitating the ailing OTNPC in line with the vision of its founder.
The OTNPC is a world-class healthcare facility for infants built on 50 acres of land along Sagamu-Benin Expressway way.
Speaking on the importance of the agreement, Otunba Balogun disclosed that it is to ensure that all parties to the agreement contribute to the smooth running of affairs of the pediatric Centre to return it to its glory days.
The doyen of Nigeria’s banking and finance industry, revealed, “The last one year of signing this agreement has been traumatic. I must say, it was only the Almighty God’s grace that saved me.
Certain individuals have gone the extra mile to make this day a reality. I will like to commend the VC of University of Ibadan, Chief Medical Director of UCH and the Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and all of you here for sharing in the anxiety to bring OTNPC back to what it used to be.
“On my 60th birthday in 1994, I built this referral tertiary hospital for health care services, teaching and research into all aspects of child health.
“Upon the completion, we considered who to hand it over to and the first Provost of OTNPC, Prof. Adenike Grange suggested that it should be handed over to the University of Ibadan. She assured me that if it was given to the University of Ibadan, the University College Hospital will definitely be involved in its running. She said while the UCH handled the clinical part, UI will involve in academic research to bring the centre into the world terrain.
“I didn’t know that there was any dichotomy between UI and UCH. I wasn’t aware that UI is a separate entity from UCH and that UCH is owned by the government.
“We had in place all the facilities required for the delivery of world-class healthcare for residents. Student paediatricians were in place to engage in research work. In spite of this, things have not been running smoothly according to my dream. I was worried.
“On several occasions, the Chief Medical Director would inform me of staff rebellion. “Subsequently, medical staff and patients were all leaving. At first, I thought it was something ephemeral and that everything will be alright. My understanding had been that UCH will be fully involved in the running of affairs at the OTNPC.
“The saddest part of it all was when my wife received a WhatsApp message. I wish I could read it here. In the message, I was praised that I built a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital in Nigeria and that for one reason or the other the medical experts working at the hospital and patients have deserted the place because I was using the blood of the children to increase my wealth.
“I broke down in tears the day I got that message. I knelt down in prayer to the good Lord to help me. And thank God, the good Lord answered our prayer.
“I therefore want to appeal to the VC and CMD to work collectively to resuscitate the OTNPC to meet the yearnings of the founder of the place.
“When I decided to give OTNPC to Ibadan, people raised the alarm because OAU and Babcock University wanted it too.
“But because of my association with the UI as well as UCH, I felt I was safe. I am appealing to all of you for the sake of God and humanity and the children born and unborn, the UI and UCH are together and should work as one to revive the hospital.”
Otunba Balogun further disclosed that the chairmanship of OTNPC will be rotational for a specified term between UI and UCH for any part not to be seen as an underdog.
He said, “UCH should oversee the day-to-day running while UI will engage in research and other academic works. Let us keep our eyes on OTNPC. We should not allow a lofty idea of a patriotic individual to be destroyed. I want us to bring back the old glory as both UI and UCH to take over the place.
“The knotty point which can cause any delay has been sorted out by the grace of God. The chairmanship will be rotated between UI and UCH so that it doesn’t appear that anybody is seen as an underdog.”
Responding, Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof Idowu Olayinka commended Otunba Balogun for building a world-class pediatric centre.
According to the VC, there is no crisis situation. He stated that the issue at hand is just an administrative procedure, adding that “Otunba Balogun donated the OTNPC to the University of Ibadan about a decade ago.
“But we have been facing structural problems as to how to provide clinical and medical services to inhabitants which has been addressed with the signing of memorandum of understanding and agreement. Basically, three units are involved which are University of Ibadan and its college of medicine and the UCH. There hasn’t been any crisis but just of disagreement as a result of human factor.
“The resolution is that we have signed an agreement which will be effective from October 1. The agreement will enable all parties involved to contribute to the smooth running of the OTNPC. “The UCH will provide clinical services while our students will be involved in clinical activities as part of their training. Everything has been sorted out. There is no hiccup again.”
A co-signee in the agreement, Prof Abiodun Otegbayo appreciated Otunba Balogun for his passion and resilience towards building a medical facility of excellence for children and other categories of patients.