South Africa’s MTN Group has signed an expanded roaming and services agreement with the country’s third-biggest carrier Cell C, MTN said on Monday, pushing shares in rival Telkom down more than 5 per cent.
The deal puts a dampener on Telkom’s proposed takeover of Cell C, which is owned by Blue Label Telecoms and is struggling under the weight of hefty debts, which it announced on Friday.
It will see an existing agreement between MTN and Cell C, which gives the struggling carrier access to MTN’s network in some areas of the country, expanded nationwide.
“This is aligned to MTN’s strategy to further develop the group’s wholesale business and will allow both MTN and Cell C to harness greater efficiencies… while supporting a more sustainable and competitive industry,” MTN said.
The deal spares Cell C from having to spend hefty sums to otherwise ensure national coverage.
Telkom shares were down 4.29 per cent by 0758 GMT, while Blue Label shares were up 4.71 per cent and MTN shares were flat. Telkom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blue Label has said the agreement with MTN would result in substantial cost reductions for the carrier, which is also discussing a recapitalisation with Cell C.
For MTN, meanwhile, the deal means the opportunity to earn more revenue from Cell C, which helped push its enterprise and wholesale revenue up 8.4 per cent to 13.4 billion rand in the 2018 financial year.
In the six months to June 30, however, MTN opted not to recognize revenue amounting to 393 million rand from the Cell C deal due to the company’s financial problems.
Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Wale Ojetimi
Bargain hunting: NSE market indices rebound by 0.38%
The key market indicators of the nation’s bourse recorded first week gain on Thursday, rebounding by 0.38 per cent on renewed bargain hunting.
Specifically, the All-Share Index improved by 96.06 per cent or 0.38 per cent to close at 25,520.97 against 25,424.91 posted on Wednesday.
Similarly, the market capitalisation rose by N50 billion or 0.38 per cent to close at N13.313 trillion from N13.263 trillion achieved on Wednesday.
The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Zenith Bank, MTN Nigeria Communications, Guaranty Trust Bank, C&I Leasing and Access Bank.
Capital market analysts noted that the local bourse recorded the first gain this week due to bargain in Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and MTNN.
However, analysts at Afrinvest Limited expected the equities market to close the week on a bearish note.
A breakdown of the price movement chart indicates that 22 stocks gained in contrast with 12 laggards.
Eterna led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, appreciating by 9.69 per cent to close at N2.49 per share.
C&I Leasing followed with 8.45 per cent to close at N3.85, while Wema Bank garnered 7.84 per cent to close at 55k per share.
Japaul Oil increased by five per cent to close at 21k, while Chams appreciated by 4.76 per cent to close at 22k per share.
Conversely, Associated Bus Company led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping 7.69 per cent to close at 36k per share.
Cornerstone Insurance came second with 7.58 per cent to close at 61k while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance shed 5.88 per cent to close at 32k per share.
Unity Bank dipped 5.56 per cent to close at 51k, while FCMB Group lost 4.87 per cent to close at N2.15 per share.
In spite of the growth in market indices, volume of shares transacted declined by 12.29 per cent with an exchange of 236.48 million shares worth N1.65 billion in 3,251 deals.
This was against a turnover of 269.63 million shares valued at N2.87 billion traded in 4,155 deals on Wednesday.
Transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 33.16 million shares worth N546.75 million.
Fidelity Bank followed with 29.97 million shares valued at N52.65 million, while Mutual Benefits Assurance sold 25.04 million shares worth N5.01 million.
Wema Bank traded 20.22 million shares valued at N11.03 million, while FBN Holdings transacted 20.06 million shares worth N100.29 million.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Police arrest 259 suspected criminals in Kano
The Police Command in Kano State, says it has arrested 259 suspected criminals in continuation of the Operation Puff Adder in the past six weeks in the state.
The police also disclosed that it recovered 150 expired Coca Cola drinks worth N150,000.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Habu Ahmad, made the discloseure at a news conference on Wednesday in Kano.
Ahmad said the arrests were made between July 23 and Sept.8, as part of effort to figth crimes, protect lives and property in the state.
He noted that the suspects were arrested at different times and locations within the period under review in the state.
Ahmad explained that the arrest was achieved as a result of the effective strategies under the directives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu.
“With sustained Puff-Adder Operations, community policing engagement and other crime fighting strategies, the command has to execute its policing mandate,” he said.
Ahmad said the suspects included 45 suspected armed robbers; eight members of kidnapping gang, 14 motor vehicle thieves, seven tricycle thieves and 14 motorcycle thieves.
He listed other suspects to include eight suspected drug dealers, 28 fraudsters and 146 thugs, adding that the command also rescued four victims of solitary confinement and free five captives from their captors.
“The command recovered 10 rifles including one AK 47 rifle; two pistols, four locally made guns, three locally made pistols, 79 live ammunition and 84 knives.
“Other recovered items include 13 vehicles, seven tricycles, 9 motorcycles, and 914 percels of dried leaves suspected to be indian hemp weighing 548.4kg valued N4.5 million.
“Also recovered were three jerry cans containing narcotics, four cartons of rubber solution and 200 cartons of suspected fake cold drugs without NAFDAC nunber valued at N4 million, 82 bottles of codeine syrup, 73 cellphones, one Point of Sale (PoS) device, 985 used MTN SIM cards and 469 used SIM cards among others,” he said.
Acoording to him, the command also recovers 1,958 out of the 3,850 cartons of noodles valued at N4 million, adding that the noodles with labelled CA-COVID-19, was suspected to be diverted from Benue State palliative for COVID-19 pandemic.
While commending the people of the state for their cooperation and support to the command, Ahmad urged them to work toward promoting community policing at the grassroots.
PRODA board chairman unveils music, says justice critical to peaceful coexistence
Mr Daniel Onjie, Board Chairman, Projects Development Institute (PRODA) Enugu, says justice is the only guarantee for a peaceful coexistence in every society.
Onjie stated this at the formal unveiling of a music single, titled; ”I Can’t Breathe” by Tosin Jay, featuring Geoffrey Orji and Monica Ogah, on Monday in Abuja.
Geoffrey Orji is the winner of the MTN 2014 Project Fame, while Monica Ogah won the competition in 2011.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the song was written and composed by Onjie.
”We implore all the people in authority to continue to pursue the cause of social justice, peace and equity, bearing in mind that justice is the only guarantee we have for peaceful coexistence.
”It is a great honour for me to welcome you to the formal launching of the hit musical single, ‘I Can’t Breathe”.
”I consider it a great privilege to be the composer of the song,” he said.
The PRODA board chairman said he was inspired to write the song by the killing of the young African-American husband and father of three, George Floyd, by a Cop in Minneasota, in the United States
According to him, the incident, which occurred earlier in the year, had become a sore point in America’s history.
He noted that the development was so, as the blood of Floyd and many hapless American citizens cut short in the protests that broke out in the aftermath of his murder, still cried out for justice.
”After I conceived and wrote this song, I had to reach out to the team of artistes to sing the song.
”At this juncture, I must commend the lead artiste, Tosin Jay, who did a great job, sacrificed everything and put his creativity at its peak with this song.
”And Daybreak Records, my record label, is pleased to present this song as its debut single music production,” Onjie said.
He urged Nigeria and the entire world to look out for the young and upcoming artiste.
The PRODA boss further explained that having started the process of production of the song, he felt that ‘Daybreak Records’ would be a platform to promote all other artistes across the different musical genres.
He added that the primary objective of the music label was, however, to focus on communicating messages that would promote social change in the society.
”We want to use this medium to tell all Americans that black people have a stake in that country, providence has brought them together.
”We equally want to use this opportunity to talk to Nigerians as well, that ethno-religious and political crisis would not take us anywhere,” he said.
He noted that America was the role model of democracy across the world, adding that many African countries had toed the path of democracy.
He stressed that what happened to Floyd was a terrible precedent for other countries that looked up to America.
“It must be condemned before it begins to affect the psyche of African cops, who equally have a long history of extrajudicial killings in their trails,” he said.
NAN reports that several artists from Lagos and other parts of the country featured at the event, which had various dignitaries in attendance.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Ephraims Sheyin
Court remands man over alleged armed robbery, attempted murder
An Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court on Friday ordered the remand of a 25-year-old man, Gabriel Friday, in a correctional centre in Lagos over alleged armed robbery and attempted murder.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs A.O. Ajibade, who did not take Friday’s plea, ordered that the case file should be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice.
Ajibade adjourned the case until Sept. 22 for mention.
Friday, whose address was not provided is facing a two-count charge of armed robbery and attempted murder.
Earlier, the Prosecutor, Mr Kehinde Ajayi, told the court that the defendant committed the offences with two other still at large on June 20 at MTN Bus Stop on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Ajayi said that the defendant, armed with a locally-made gun, shot one Taofeek Hamzat when he refused to let go of his property.
Ajayi said that the complainant was injured, while passersby caught the defendant and his cohorts ran away.
He said the offences contravened Sections 299 and 298 (1) (2) (a)(b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2012.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 298 stipulates 14 years jail term for offenders.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Silas Nwoha (NAN)