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Corporate Roundup: Max Air allegedly did something shady as Nigerian tech startups thrived 

  • Hello and welcome to TheTimes’ Corporate News Roundup for the week that ended June 17, 2023. 
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  • Let’s now get to the news recap.

Amid challenges, the Nigerian tech ecosystem is continuing to thrive. Last week was particularly a good one for the sector, following positive news of fundraising and investment. We shall now begin today’s TheTimes Corporate News Roundup with those stories. Enjoy. 

Fairmoney’s oversubscribed debut commercial paper

FairMoney Nigeria announced that its debut N2.5 billion Series 1 Commercial Paper (CP) Issuance was oversubscribed by almost 100%. A statement by the company said that the achievement demonstrates investors’ confidence in FairMoney’s operations and strategic direction. 

Funds realised from the commercial paper issuance will provide short-term liquidity and finance the growth of the company’s loan book. FairMoney’s vision remains to serve the underbanked in emerging markets, particularly Nigeria.

Eze’s Seed Funding Round

Nigerian startup Eze announced that it sealed a seed funding round to the tune of $3.7 million. The round was led by Right Side Capital Management with participation from C2 Ventures, Boro Capital, EVPI Investments, and others. 

The commodities exchange platform, connects B2B buyers with a vast selection of electronics, said the funding will be used to expand its product range, venture into untapped markets, and enhance the platform. 

Termii also Raised some Funds

Nigerian CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) startup, Termii, also raised $3.65 million to fuel its expansion plans and develop new products. Investors who participated in the funding round include Fintech Collective, Launch Africa Ventures, and several other venture capital firms and angel investors. 

The company said the funds will be used to promote existing offerings and enter new markets, with a focus on Francophone African countries starting with the Ivory Coast. Termii Go, the company’s unified communications app, played a significant role in attracting investors by providing real-time engagement between businesses and users. 

Thrive Agric Made Major Investments

ThriveAgric disclosed that it has invested over $100 million to empower 514,000 smallholder farmers and scale food production in Africa. In its 2022 Impact Report, the agritech startup disclosed that it leveraged technology and key partnerships with institutions such as the Ghana Commodity Exchange and VISA to expand its operations into Ghana and Kenya.  

The report further highlighted the production of over 1.5 million metric tonnes of grains by empowered farmers and a significant increase in the number of women impacted. In the meantime, ThriveAgric continues to aim to bridge the funding gap for smallholder farmers in Africa by limited access to financing.  

Air Peace and former Aviation Minister Exchanged Words

In other news, Air Peace refuted former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika’s claim that the airline suspended flights to Dubai due to a lack of capacity. Instead, Air Peace explained that the suspension was a result of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to stop issuing visas to Nigerians. The airline also denied allegations made by Sirika regarding leasing aircraft and incurring losses, stating that it had purchased three Boeing 777 aircraft outrightly and challenging him to verify the facts with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). 

Air Peace expressed shock at the former minister’s accusations and emphasized its strong fleet and past efforts in conducting rescue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline urged the public to disregard Sirika’s claims.  

Max Air allegedly Did Something Shady

Max Air was accused of overwriting its Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) following a serious incident that occurred at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. A report by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) said the airline made errors in the tech log and the quality control department did not supervise maintenance actions properly. This is not the first time an airline has been accused of overwriting CVR information in an attempt to hinder investigations.  

Note that the incident at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport involved a Boeing 737-400 and resulted in a crash landing. The NSIB has recommended that the NCAA enforce regulations and take legal action against non-compliant operators. It also recommended that the regulator should conduct regular safety assessments of Max Air’s ability to manage safety effectively. 

Fidelity Bank’s New Grade

In more positive news, Fitch Ratings affirmed Fidelity Bank Plc’s credit rating at ‘B-‘ with a stable outlook and upgraded its National Short-Term Rating to ‘F1+(nga)’. The upgrade reflects the bank’s improved local-currency funding profile, driven by an increase in low-cost current and savings accounts.  

Fidelity Bank’s rating affirmation is based on its strong standalone creditworthiness, including a growing franchise, a low share of impaired loans, and good capitalization and funding. Nigerian banks still face challenges due to US dollar shortages and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash reserve requirement, but Fitch expects reform progress under the new administration. 

Geregu Power’s Q3 Projections

Geregu Power Plc projected a revenue of N15.135 billion for the third quarter of 2023, along with a gross profit of N7.696 billion. Overall, the energy firm said it expects to overcome the challenges it faced in 2022 and showcase effective treasury management and resilience in a challenging power sector environment. 

Note that Geregu Power’s audited accounts for 2022 showed a drop in revenues and profits due to challenges in the power sector, particularly gas shortages causing frequent grid collapses. Despite the decline, Geregu Power managed to maintain a higher gross profit margin and keep operating costs relatively flat, while treasury management of its loan resulted in a net finance income. 

 Seplat Energy’s CEO Has His Immigration Documents Back

Seplat Energy has announced the restoration of immigration documents for its CEO, Roger Brown, by the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). The company had previously faced false allegations of racism and improper immigration status, leading to the withdrawal of Mr Brown’s documents.  

With the documents restored, Mr Brown has resumed his position as CEO, and Seplat Energy is pleased to have him back as they continue to pursue their operational targets for 2023. Additionally, Seplat Energy noted the striking out of a petition against the company, further solidifying their confidence in the Nigerian judiciary to resolve the orchestrated litigations aimed at disrupting their operations. 

 CAP Plc Has a new Board Chairman

Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc) announced the appointment of Mr Folasope Aiyesimoju as its new Board Chairman, effective from June 15, 2023. Mr Aiyesimoju, currently a Non-Executive Director on the CAP Plc Board, is the Group Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria Plc and has a wealth of experience in investment and finance. 

Mr Folasope Aiyesimoju’s appointment as Chairman of CAP Plc follows the retirement of Mrs Awuneba Ajumogobia. With his extensive experience in the investment sector and his current role as the Group Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria Plc, Mr Aiyesimoju brings valuable expertise to his new position. The transition in leadership reflects CAP Plc’s commitment to effective governance and strategic direction. 




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