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Sterling Bank’s Qore Sparks Nigerian EV Revolution To Life

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Sterling Bank’s Qore Sparks Nigerian EV Revolution To Life

From left: Group Head, Transport and Renewable Energy, Sterling Bank Plc, Olabanjo Alimi; General Manager, (Commercial) TotalEnergies Marketing, Werucle Nwagbara; General Manager, (Retail) TotalEnergies Marketing, Abdullahi Umar; Chief Executive Officer, Ardova, Olumide Aseosun; Chief Executive officer, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman; and the Anambra State Commissioner for Transport, Mrs. Patricia Igwebuike; during the launch of Nigeria first Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Lagos by Sterling Bank Plc.

Nigeria’s leading commercial bank and one of Africa’s fastest-growing companies, Sterling Bank, has changed the course of Nigeria’s energy and transportation sectors with the launch of Qore; its suite of renewable energy-powered transportation solutions. Qore will offer the purchase and financing of electric vehicles (EVs), EV charging stations, conversion of fossil-fuel-powered engines to EV engines, battery swapping services for modular EVs, and more.

Speaking at the launch of Nigeria’s first publicly available EV charging station in Lagos, CEO of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said that the launch of Qore is a significant milestone in the bank’s journey towards powering Nigeria’s transportation sector with renewable energy.

According to Suleiman, “Qore will revolutionise the very idea of how we power movement by providing clean, sustainable and cost-effective options for individuals and businesses, while impacting positively on the sector’s environmental footprint.“

Also speaking at the launch, Group Head for Renewable Energy and Transportation at Sterling, Olabanjo Alimi, further explained that Qore focuses on improving mobility services in Nigeria by providing affordable and cleaner transportation alternatives to petrol and diesel powered vehicles. He described Qore as a “mobility project” that will offer a range of products, including the manufacture and sale of EVs, financing for the purchase and distribution of EVs, and mobility-as-a-service options to cater to first- and last-mile transportation.

Alimi said, “Qore will deliver innovative solutions through partnerships that provide sustainable energy options for vehicles through stations such as this. This will accelerate the adoption of clean mobility solutions that allow interested customers to buy EVs directly, or even convert their existing petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles to run on electricity.”

“Along with the readily available technology to convert petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, Qore will drive EV adoption in the Nigerian market by providing charging infrastructure and battery swapping services to quicken the turnaround time of restoring power to EVs.”

He continued by saying that Qore had pioneered, along with the first publicly available charging station in the country, a proprietary payment solution that will allow for direct interaction with the battery management system of vehicles that charge up at the station.

The Group Head concluded by highlighting that this is a watershed moment for the Nigerian EV market, emphasizing Qore’s openness to partnerships and collaborations to increase the creation of EV infrastructure and adoption in the country.

The adoption of Qore’s suite of solutions is already increasing with the acquisition of 100 electric tricycles to power transportation in the Kano metropolis, as well as the conversion of diesel-engine ferries to electric power to improve the commute of individuals and businesses on Lagos’ waterways. The newly launched charging station adds another layer to the robust offerings.

Sterling has set itself apart as the first corporate organization on the African continent to full power up its offices with a renewable energy source by installing over 3000 Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) panels, generating 1 megawatt (1 MW) of electricity. This move will make the structure one of the largest on the continent, primarily powered by renewable energy, demonstrating the bank’s commitment to the growth and development of renewable energy in Nigeria.

Furthermore, the bank recently launched Imperium; an alternative energy solution, to power Nigerian homes and businesses through solar and renewable energy services tailored specifically for Nigeria’s peculiar energy needs.

Renowned for its now famous HEART of Sterling strategy; which focuses major investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation sectors of the Nigerian economy, its irreverent brand voice, and enviable talent management practices, the bank recently completed a major milestone towards the completion of its transformation into a financial holdings company with the relisting of its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

The bank has maintained and increased momentum in 2023 with her citation as Africa’s Most Valuable Commercial Bank Brand for 2023 by the African Brand Magazine, in a poll conducted by GeoPoll and Kantar; two of the world’s leading brand research firms, a top three employer in Nigeria by LinkedIn in the social network’s annual Top 25 List, and most recently, one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Africa by the prestigious Financial Times.

 

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Guaranty Trust HoldCo Proposes N500bn Share Offering

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Guaranty Trust HoldCo Proposes N500bn Share Offering

Guaranty Trust HoldCo Proposes N500bn Share Offering

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Plc, said it has filed a preliminary ‘red herring’ prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise N500 billion.

The Company in a notice said the number of ordinary shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
The notice said “this is issued in reliance on Rule 283 of the Rules & Regulations of SEC, Nigeria. The notice read in part, this does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

“Any offer, solicitation or offer to buy, or any sale of securities will be made only by a prospectus duly registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (SEC) in accordance with the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act, No. 29, 2007 (the Act) and the rules and regulations of the SEC made pursuant to the Act (the SEC Rules).”

Stating the purpose of the proposed offering, the notice further said that, “the net proceeds of the proposed offering will be used for the growth and expansion of the GTCO Group’s businesses. Such planned growth and expansion will be effected through investments in technology infrastructure to fortify existing operations, the establishment of new subsidiaries and selective acquisitions of non-banking businesses; and the recapitalisation of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited.”

It added that “the proposed offering is structured as an institutional offering targeted at eligible investors and a retail offering within Nigeria and a private placing to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers outside Nigeria (the international tranche).”

It noted that the proposed offering is anticipated to open by July, 2024, adding that the filing of the red herring prospectus was undertaken with a concurrent filing of a preliminary universal shelf registration statement.

“The universal shelf registration will permit GTCO to establish a multi-currency securities issuance programme (the Programme) to issue various types of securities, or any combination of such securities, in one or more offerings, from time to time, to raise proceeds in an aggregate amount of up to $750 million or equivalent amount in Nigerian naira) in the Nigerian/international capital markets during the validity period of the Programme.”

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Wema Bank concludes 1st tranche of capital raise programme

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Wema Bank concludes 1st tranche of capital raise programme

Wema Bank concludes 1st tranche of capital raise programme

 

Wema Bank, Nigeria’s foremost innovative bank and pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank, ALAT, has successfully concluded the first tranche of its recapitalisation exercise having secured all relevant regulatory approvals for the allotment of its N40bn Rights Issue which was initiated in December 2023.

In view of macroeconomic conditions, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March 2024, launched a recapitalisation programme requiring commercial banks to raise fresh capital in alignment with the minimum requirement for their respective banking licenses, within a 24-month timeline spanning April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2026.

The goal of this recapitalisation programme is to simultaneously boost the Nigerian economy and strengthen the Nigerian financial services industry.

As a forward-thinking and pioneering bank, Wema Bank in December 2023 launched a N40bn Rights issue which has now been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). With this remarkable development, Wema Bank has now successfully raised N40bn of the N200bn minimum requirement laid down by the CBN.

In a statement made to the public by the Bank, Moruf Oseni, Wema Bank’s Managing Director and CEO, iterated the Bank’s resolve in retaining its Commercial Banking license with National Authorisation, adding that the N40bn Rights Issue is a step in that direction.

“We are delighted to announce the conclusion of the 1st tranche of our Capital Raise Programme, after obtaining the relevant approvals of all regulatory authorities. Our move to commence our Capital Raise Programme very early demonstrates our push for excellence and with a strong emphasis on our digital play, we are set to amass more successes in the coming months.”

“We were impressed by the vote of confidence given by our shareholders during the 1st Rights Issue exercise as our shares were fully subscribed. In addition, we obtained the approval of shareholders at our 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to raise an additional N150billion to meet the capitalisation threshold set by the CBN. The process is expected to be completed within 12-18 months. We are committed to providing optimum returns for every stakeholder and the successful conclusion of this N40bn Rights Issue is a bold step in the right direction.”

In addition to the upward trend in the Bank’s financial performance and the success recorded so far in its recapitalisation exercise, Wema Bank’s corporate rating was recently upgraded to BBB+ by Pan African credit rating agency, Agusto and Co, and retained at BBB by international rating agency, Fitch.

Over the medium to long term, Wema Bank is positioned to dominate not only the digital Banking space but also the Nigerian financial services industry at large as it translates its industry leadership to significant market share.

Wema Bank is a leading financial services entity with banking operations across Nigeria, its leadership position in the digital banking space speaks to its aspirations to liberate Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs by making digital platforms widely available.

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Zenith Bank confirms Sirika’s daughter owns a company linked to N1.4 billion Aviation contract

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Zenith Bank confirms Sirika’s daughter owns a company linked to N1.4 billion Aviation contract

Zenith Bank confirms Sirika’s daughter owns a company linked to N1.4 billion Aviation contract

A compliance officer from Zenith Bank Plc, Mishelia Arhyel, told the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja on Tuesday that former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika’s daughter, Fatima, and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, owned Al-Buraq Global Investment Ltd, a company the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indicted in an aviation fraud suit.

Arhyel testified as EFCC’s second witness in the fraud-related charges instituted against Hadi Sirika and his daughter, Fatima, son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, and Al-Buraq Investment Ltd.

The defendants had been arraigned before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the FCT High Court.

EFCC’s Case
The EFCC had indicted Hadi Sirika, in an alleged contract fraud involving his daughter and son-in-law as well as fraudulent practices associated with the Nigeria Air debacle.

Sirika was accused of allegedly using his position to unfairly benefit Tianaero Nigeria Limited and Al Buraq Global Investment Ltd; companies allegedly associated with his associate, daughter, and son-in-law.

He was said to have influenced the award of contracts for the Nigerian Air project and the Apron Extension at Katsina Airport to these companies.

The EFCC alleges that N1.4 billion was approved to Al-Buraq for the Apron Extension contract at Katsina Airport.

The defendants are accused of breach of trust and misuse of public office to the tune of over N2 billion naira in contravention of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and the Penal Code Act.

But they all pleaded not guilty to the charges paving the way for the commencement of trial.

What transpired in court
Led in evidence by EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Arhyel, said his role as a compliance officer involves receiving correspondence from law enforcement agencies on behalf of Zenith Bank and forwarding the same to appropriate authorities as well as responding to inquiries.

He confirmed that sometime in February 2023, the bank received a letter from EFCC making inquiries regarding accounts statements on Al-Buraq, Jalal Hama and Fatima.

The prosecution counsel then tendered the bank statements of the defendants and it was admitted by the court unopposed by the defense legal team.

Speaking to the documents, Arhyel told Justice Oriji that Al-Buraq was registered on June 17, 2021, and the directors are Hamal Jalal, Sirika Fatima Hadi and Shinade Saratu.

According to the witness, the ex-minister’s daughter and in-law have significant control over Al-Buraq.

“Sirika Fatima Hadi is the secretary of the company.

“Persons in significant control of the company are Hamal Jalal and Sirika Fatima Hadi.

“The signatories are Saratu Muhammad, Fatima Hadi Sirika, and Jalal Hamal,” the witness told the court corroborating EFCC’s allegations.

Earlier in the proceedings, Azubuike Okorie, a former Special Assistant to the ex-Aviation Minister, Projects(2022-2023) said it was the frustration posed by the Nigerian Air Force and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) that prevented the execution of the Kastina Airport extension contract.

Under cross-examination by the defense team led by Kanu Agabi (SAN), Okorie said the contract went through due process and had nothing to do with the competence and honesty of the contractor.

The witness claimed the relationship between Sirika, his family members and associates was not a factor considered in the contract awarded to Al-Buraq.

The court subsequently adjourned the trial to June 20, 2024.

Backstory
The EFCC had said its operatives arrested Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, the brother of Hadi Sirika, over an alleged contract fraud in the aviation ministry.

Abubakar was picked up by the anti-graft agency on Sunday, February 4, following an investigation in the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

During his tenure as minister, Sirika faced allegations including conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering totalling N8,069,176,864.

The commission had revealed that the funds in dispute related to four aviation contracts awarded by the former minister to a company called Engirios Nigeria Limited, which is owned by his younger brother.

The EFCC is empowered by law to track financial crimes.

Every accused person remains innocent until found guilty by a competent court.

Sirika served as aviation minister from 22 August 2019 to 29 May 2023.

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