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NCAC, Rivers extol Airtel for NAFEST 2018 sponsorship

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L-R: Deinbo MacHarry, Secretary of Port Harcourt Golf Club; Rear Admiral O. P. Fingesi (rtd), Chairman, Organizing Committee, Festac '77; Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC); Sotonye Etomi, Chairman, Port Harcourt Amateur Open and Oluranti Owoborode, Regional Marketing Manager, South Region, Airtel Nigeria during the kick-off of the Golf Competition as part of the 2018 National Festival of Arts And Culture (NAFEST) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Saturday, October 27, 2018

The National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC) and the River State Government have commended leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel for its sponsorship of the 2018 National Festival of Arts And Culture (NAFEST) hosted by Rivers.

According to Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts & Culture and Chairman, National Planning Committee of NAFEST Rivers 2018, the festival is to unite the nation and Airtel, through its support, has demonstrated its commitment to connecting people and nation building.

“Airtel has been one of the very serious network providers in Nigeria. They have been able to support us with Internet facilities at all levels of this festival. Everything is not all about money but about delivering quality and creating value. Airtel contributed to the success of this festival in Rivers and we greatly appreciate them for their support”, the DG said.

Speaking during the closing ceremony and awards, River State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, commended all States that participated in the festival as well as brands that contributed to the success of the event.

“Let me thank NCAC, all the States that participated, government parastatals, agencies and others that contributed to the successful festival hosted by River State. This is to show to the world that Rivers is a peaceful State. Rivers is a peace-loving and hospitable State. This festival is to showcase that there is unity in diversity.

“You can see people from Sokoto, Kano, Eboyi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Edo among others here in River State in celebration of the festival. That’s the beauty of our culture”, he said.

According to the telco, its sponsorship of NAFEST is to promote arts and culture in Nigeria. Few weeks ago, Airtel officially announced its 4G LTE network in Port Harcourt at a stakeholder event.

Certificate of participation and a gong was presented to the 25 States and FCT Abuja that took part in this year’s festival. Some of the States include: Abia, Enugu, Lagos, Gombe, Kastina, Ebonyi, Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Delta, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Taraba, Sokoto, Kogi, Edo, Bayelsa etc.

The 7-day event themed ‘Our Culture, Our Heritage’ was held in Port Harcourt from Monday, October 22 to Saturday, October 27, 2018.

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BUSINESS

Diamond Bank confirms merger talks with Access Bank

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Diamond bank has confirmed its merger with Access Bank Plc, stating that the development is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders.

In a statement signed by Chioma Afe, Head, Corporate Communications of Diamond Bank, and made available to THE WITNESS on Monday, the lender said that the proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger.

 

Read the full statement below:

The Board of Diamond Bank Plc (“Diamond Bank”) today announces that following a strategic review leading to a competitive process, the Board has selected Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank”) as the preferred bidder with respect to a potential merger of the two banks (“the merger”) that will create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers.

The Board of Diamond Bank believes that the merger is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders and has agreed to recommend the offer to Diamond Bank’s shareholders. Completion of the merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger. Based on the agreement reached by the Boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising of N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of 2 New Access Bank ordinary shares for every 7 Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the Implementation Date. The offer represents a premium of 260% to the closing market price of N0.87 per share of Diamond Bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) as of December 13, 2018, the date of the final binding offer.

Immediately following completion of the merger, Diamond Bank would be absorbed into Access Bank and it will cease to exist under Nigerian law. The current listing of Diamond Bank’s shares on the NSE and the listing of Diamond Bank’s global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange will be cancelled, upon the merger becoming effective.

Diamond Bank expects the transaction to complete in the first half of 2019.

Uzoma Dozie, the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, said: “The proposed combination with Access Bank will create one of Africa’s leading financial institutions.

There is clear strategic rationale for the proposed merger and strong complementarities between the two institutions. While Diamond Bank has pioneered Nigeria’s largest technology-led retail banking platform, Access Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading full-service commercial banks. Consolidation in the Nigerian banking industry is an inevitable, natural progression in a sector where the gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks has been widening and scale has become critical; where technology will disrupt the traditional business model while enabling broader financial inclusion.

The board of Diamond Bank believes that the proposed combination of the two operations provides an exciting prospect for all stakeholders in both businesses and will create a financial

institution with the scale, strength and expertise to capitalise on the significant opportunities in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.”

Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank, said: “Access Bank has a strong track record of acquisition and integration and has a clear growth strategy. Access Bank and Diamond Bank have complementary operations and similar values, and a merger with Diamond Bank, with its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, could accelerate our strategy as a significant corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion. Access Bank has a strong financial profile with attractive returns and a robust capital position with 20.1% CAR as at 30 September 2018. We believe that this platform, together with the two banks’ shared focus on innovation, financial inclusion and sustainability, can bring benefits to Access Bank and Diamond Bank customers, staff and shareholders.”

Exotix Capital acted as international financial advisor to Diamond Bank, and Templars acted as Nigerian legal counsel.

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Unity Bank wins CBN ‘Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Agriculture’ Award

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Unity Bank Plc has won the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 2018 sustainable banking award, clenching the award for ‘Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Agriculture’.

The Bank won the coveted award for its compliance with the Sustainable Banking Principles as it relates to the management of Environmental and Social Risk set out by the CBN for adoption by Nigerian Banks, Discount Houses and Development Banks.

While presenting the award to Unity Bank at the just concluded Bankers’ Committee held in Lagos, the apex bank commended the efforts of the lender in promoting the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) project, adding that the bank deserves the award because of the role it played in actualization and management of this audacious project.

The active involvement of the Bank in various financing schemes has resulted in creating huge social and economic impact on the income of households involving over 270,000 participating small holder farmers thereby boosting not only the gross domestic product but also helping to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.

Commenting on the development, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun dedicated the award to all farmers and businesses in agriculture value chain, stressing that: “We have successfully on-boarded over 90,000 hitherto financially excluded farmers and generated bank verification number for them to facilitate financial and banking transaction. Capacities of about 60 agro input suppliers were expanded through provision of facilities and financial advisory services’’.

“Unity Bank’s Environmental and social Management Program covers comprehensive business operations that minimizes adverse impact on the environment in the scope of its business activities.”

“The Code of Corporate Governance requires companies to act in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and Unity Bank has domesticated the principles in its commitment to save the environment from degradation or pollution.”

Speaking further, Somefun disclosed that the Bank’s environmental management policies and strategies comprehensively covers priority areas that encourages bio-diversity, green initiatives, recycling of waste, reduction of carbon emission geared towards promoting sustainability, conservation and environmental protection.

Unity Bank Plc is a niche player in Agricultural financing in Nigeria, with active participation in most government intervention schemes and support for key policy initiatives. These are aimed at driving growth and transformation of Nigeria’s Agricultural economy.

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BUSINESS

NASCON launches new Dangote Classic Seasoning cubes

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L-R, NASCON allied industries plc group Managing Director, Paul Farer, NASCON allied industries plc, Dangote season's Brand Ambassador, Hadiza Gabon, NASCON allied industries plc, Executive director commercial, Fatima Aliko-Dangote, Dangote Industries limited, Executive Director, Halima Aliko-Dangote, at the unveiling of the New Dangote Seasoning Classic Cube, in Kano, Kano State on 12th December 2018 .

…Says its’ meets complete nutrition need of the people

Management of the NASCON Allied Industries Plc, a subsidiary of the Dangote Industries Limited has pledged its commitment towards a healthy living by the people by producing products that meet the physical and mental needs of the people.

Executive Director, Commercial NASCON Allied Plc, Fatima Aliko Dangote gave this pledge in Kano during the unveiling of new Classic Seasoning Cube in addition to its array of food seasonings already in the market.

The new product which the NASCON boss described as a product of thorough and painstaking research into the preference of the people in the seasoning sub sector of the food industry came in the wake of a similar launch recently, of new Curry Powder and Stew Mix from the stable of NASCON.

Fatima Aliko Dangote said she had no doubt in her mind that the new product would be an instant hit given its unique taste, flavor and aroma noting that the new classic seasoning cubes and stew mix were created with a special blend of herbs and spices to give meals that unique taste and great aroma.

She described the new classic seasoning as a new innovation birthed after years of consumer led research and development, and urged distributors, marketers, eateries and consumers to immediately key into it.

Lacing her remarks with the Hausa local dialet, while explaining the strengths of the product, she described the seasoning as Karshen Magana meaning the real deal and that it is second to none in the market throughout the country.

According to her, the management of NASCON decided to go into the research for the new product bearing in mind that wellbeing is reduced by poor diet yet it is expensive to be unhealthy.

Good nutrition, she stated maintained immune system and delays the effect of aging because it reduces the risk of chronic disease while poor diet reduces physical and mental health. She therefore urged women to try the new seasoning cubes, stew mix and curry powder, as they would ensure meal moments are great moments.

Fatima Aliko Dangote assured that the products would be launched in other parts of the country very soon, adding that despite the high innovative quality, they are affordable and available with various promotional items to be given out to the distributors and consumers.

In his remark, the Group Managing Director of NASCON Allied Plc Mr. Paul Farrer assured that the new product is a high margin product that would help ensure distributors and customers remain profitable, describing the new product as premium but affordable to the consumers.

The Company used the occasion to introduce its Brand Ambassador to the customers, in the person of renowned Kannywood multi-talented actress Hadiza Gabon, who described the Dangote Seasoning cubes as a seasoning with great flavor, and good taste while recommending it to all women in Nigeria.

Speaking to media men in an interview at the event, NASCON key distributor, Alhaji Hamisu Rabiu of Hamis Investment in Kano described NASCON products as fast moving and of good quality. He urged other distributors and retailers across the country to immediately key into the new classic cube, Dangote stew mix and Dangote curry powder.

At the launch Wednesday about 300 distributors, wholesalers and retailers were excited and most express optimism that it will up the market of NASCON.

Head of Marketing of NASCON Allied Industries Plc, Mr. Olusegun Ajala expressed optimism that the “innovative brand will up the company’s market share exponentially because of its unique taste and aroma.

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