LAGOS, (Sundiata Finance) – Unilever Nigeria Plc has shown continued strong growth as it posted a growth of 54 per cent in its profit after tax for the first quarter period ended March 31, 2017. The company reported a profit after tax of N1.6 billion, representing a 54 per cent increase over N1.04 billion reported in March 2016.
Unilever’s first quarter results submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), showed a revenue growth of 32 per cent to N22.2 billion from N16.8 billion. Cost of sales was up 47 per cent to N15.9 billion while Gross profit settled at N6.3 billion.
Profit before tax similarly increased to N2.2 billion from N1.4 billion and the operating costs increased by 31 per cent to N19.4 billion for the period ended March 2017 from N14.9 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2016. Unilever remains a consumer and customer centric business, as it continues to meet varying needs of Nigerians.
According to Unilever Nigeria the company will not relent in its efforts to satisfy its consumers. “As a company, we will continue to deploy best practice marketing strategies, with high level of operational intensity; in our continued investment in commercial and factory operations to expand our capacity and grow our market share.”
Analysts said that, “Although foreign exchange sourcing for raw material importation remains a challenge to the company, any adverse effect has been offset by positives seen in the topline.
Also, Unilever has announced plans to raise N63 billion via a rights issue, which analysts believed the company intends to delever its balance sheet and partly raise funds for planned local manufacturing capacity expansion for its personal care business in the South-West region.
They noted that the market will react positively to these numbers. The company’s share has a year to date decline of 5.3 per cent and have marginally outperformed the NSE ASI which has shed 6.2 per cent, year to date.
Chinese Group Offers $1.2bn To Acquire Moneygram
By Chima Akwaja, Lagos
Ant Financial, Asia’s leading electronic payments service provider owned by Alibaba has increased its bid to buy US-based money transfer service MoneyGram by 36 per cent, to around $1.2 billion, in an effort to fight off competition from Euronet.
The MoneyGram board of directors has unanimously approved the amended agreement, worth $18 a share in cash, up from the $13.25 initially offered and more than the $15.20 put on the table by Euronet. The move is the latest signal of intent by Ant Financial to become a leading power-broker in the global payments industry.
Pamela Patsley, executive chairman, MoneyGram, said “Throughout this process, our board of directors has remained laser-focused on maximizing value for MoneyGram stockholders, while taking into account price, the ability to complete a transaction and other important considerations.”
Euronet CEO Michael Brown said he is “disappointed” and that his firm will review the amended deal between MoneyGram and Ant Financial. Brown has also repeated Euronet’s claims that a deal with China’s Ant could create a national security risk and may not get regulatory approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Cifus).
“In light of bipartisan concerns that have been raised by four Members of Congress, extensive public reports examining questionable data security practices of Ant Financial and broad concern raised over Chinese based acquirers, we continue to hold the view that the Ant deal may never close,” said Brown.
For their part, MoneyGram and Ant said that they have “already made significant progress towards obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to complete the transaction”. The two have also again stressed that MoneyGram will operate as an independent subsidiary and retain its brand, management team, IT infrastructure and headquarters in Dallas.
Ant Financial had last week teamed with Indonesia’s Emtek Group on a mobile payments and financial services joint venture. The company has also made substantial investments in India’s Paytm, South Korea’s Kakao Pay, Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money and Globe Telecom Inc’s fintech firm Mynt.