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BREAKING: Fire guts Access Bank building in Victoria Island

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An Access Bank building on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos was gutted by fire on Wednesday morning, August 26, 2020.

According to a tweet post from the Federal Fire Service on their official Twitter handle, men of the service are already at the scene of the incident where a petrol/diesel tanker is currently on fire.

Media reports also suggest that the fire outbreak might have affected a second building close to the scene of the incident.

Unconfirmed report says that the fire started when a diesel-laden truck was offloading diesel for generators of the bank. In the process, an explosion from a yet to be identified source occurred, igniting a massive fire, which subsequently spread to a nearby bank building.

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Business

Nigerian fintech startup, Kuda Bank raises $55 million Series B round at $500 million valuation

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Nigerian fintech startup, Kuda Bank has raised $55 million in a Series B round at a valuation of $500 million. This comes just a few months after raising a $25 million Series A round.

The funding round was co-led by existing investors Target Global and Valar Ventures, the firm co-founded and backed by PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, SBI Investment and a number of previous angels also participated.

Launched in 2019, and headquartered in Lagos and London, Kuda Bank currently provides services for consumers to save and spend money, receive overdrafts (essentially revolving credit for individuals).

As of November 2020, Kuda had 300,000 customers and was processing an average of $500 million worth of transactions per month.

In December 2020, Kuda raised $10 million dollars in a seed round, the largest-ever seed round raised by a startup out of Africa. At the time of the seed round, Kuda had registered 300,000 customers. In March, that figure doubled to 650,000 registered users.

Kuda now has 1.4 million registered users. The digital bank also has over one million downloads on the play store.

In the second quarter of the year, Kuda disbursed $20 million worth of credit to over 200,000 qualified users through its overdraft feature, with a 30-day repayment period. According to Ogundeyi, default has been “minimal” because of the company’s approach. “We use all the data we have for a customer and allocate the overdraft proportion based on the customer’s activities, aiming for it not to be a burden to repay,”.

The new funding round will be used to double down not just on new services for Nigeria, but to prepare its launch into more countries on the continent.

Babs Ogundeyi CEO of Kuda told TechCrunch. “We’ve been doing a lot. Resource deployment has been in our operational entity, in Nigeria. But now we are doubling down on the expansion and the idea is to build a strong team for the expansion plans for Kuda.

“We still see Nigeria as an important market and don’t want to be distracted so don’t want to disrupt those operations too much. It’s a strong market and competitive. It’s one that we feel we need to have a stronghold on. So this funding is to invest in expansion and have more experience in the company with relation to expansion.”

What they are saying

Andrew McCormack, a general partner at Valar Ventures said “Kuda is our first investment in Africa and our initial confidence in the team has been upheld by its rapid growth in the past four months. With a youthful population eager to adopt digital financial services in the region, we believe that Kuda’s transformative effect on banking will scale across Africa and we’re proud to continue supporting them.”

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ENERGY

NNPC set to declare first dividend to Nigerians

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced that it will declare its first dividend to Nigerians as it prepares to release its 2020 financial statements in the third quarter of this year.

This is coming at a time the Federal Government is planning to commercialize and privatize the operations of NNPC for better efficiency and to put it on a bigger global stage.

This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, while delivering an address at the opening ceremony of the Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, on Monday in Lagos.

What the Group Managing Director of NNPC is saying

Kyari said, “Everything we are doing must align with the wider national interest. And therefore, NNPC, being the representatives of all of us and, is, of course, a very potential global player – this is our ambition and we are getting there.

“And I can tell you, within the next month or two maximum, we will publish our statement of accounts for 2020. And I can also confirm to you that for the first time in our history, we will declare dividend to the Nigerian people.”

Kyari said the state oil giant is expected to play a key role in the global transition to low carbon energy in the near future. He pointed out, “Our tremendous natural gas reserves have become our greatest enabler to smooth transition to low carbon energy. We are deepening natural gas utilisation under the national gas expansion plan to earn more carbon credits and create a net zero carbon environment in line with our drive to becoming an energy company of global excellence.’’

Details later…

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ENERGY

Nigerian refineries lose N104.3 billion in 13 months

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Nigeria’s refineries lost a total of N104.3 billion in 13 months while not processing any crude oil from the refineries during the period, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s latest report.

The plants continued to lose money on a monthly basis, according to a study of the revised consolidated refinery financial performance from February 2020 to February 2021.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is in charge of three refineries: Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, Port Harcourt Refining Company, and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company.

According to the corporation’s figures, the refineries’ monthly operational expenses exceeded their income for the whole 13-month period.

The refineries’ consolidated losses in February, March, April, May, June, July, and August 2020 were N9.36 billion, N10.3 billion, N9.69 billion, N9.55 billion, N10.23 billion, N9.1 billion, and N7.1 billion, respectively.

The facilities lost N7.04 billion, N5.49 billion, N5.99 billion, and N8.28 billion in September, October, November, and December 2020, respectively.

Their consolidated losses persisted in 2021, with losses of N5.37 billion and N6.88 billion in January and February of this year, respectively, according to the corporation’s most recent statement.

Reason for the surge in expenses

Because of ongoing refinery rehabilitation work, the three refineries processed no crude in February 2021, and their combined yield efficiency is 0.00%. However, the refineries are currently being revamped, which is expected to improve capacity utilization once completed, resulting in declining operational performance.

Since January 2017, the NNPC has been using a merchant plant refineries business model, according to the corporation. The model, it added, took into account the product value and crude expenses, noting that the aggregate value of output by the three refineries (at import parity price) for February 2021 was almost N0.10 billion.

It went on to say that because there was no output in February 2021, there was no related crude plus freight cost for the three refineries, but that operational expenditures were N6.98 billion.

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