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Dangote Cement Shares Rise 17% After Poaching Lafarge CEO

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Shares of Dangote Cement Plc have appreciated by at least 17 percent two weeks after it announced appointing erstwhile Managing Director/CEO of its key competitor, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr Michel Puchercos, as its new GMD/CEO.

In a notice dated December 24, 2019, Dangote Cement said Mr Puchercos was joining the company after resigning his position at Lafarge Africa. The Frenchman picked to replace Mr Joseph Mokoju, who retires January 31, 2020.

Market observers saw this development as a master stroke and a huge blow on Lafarge Africa, which was beginning to stand on its feet after the appointment of Mr Puchercos.

An analysis done by Business Post showed that two weeks after the announcement, Dangote Cement has come out better in terms of performance at the stock market, where both companies trade their shares.

For Dangote Cement, which is owned by Africa’s richest man, Mr Aliko Dangote, its shares have risen 17.14 percent to N164 per unit as at the close of business on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 from N140 per unit it traded when the news was announced last month.

On the part of Lafarge Africa, its shares have managed a growth of 6.07 percent, which is less than half of the price increase recorded by its rival, closing at N14.85 per share yesterday against N14 per share it ended on Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

Some analysts have predicted the movement of Mr Puchercos from Lafarge Africa to Dangote Cement would give the latter an edge at both the stock market and on the field.

They argued that the Frenchman knows the key trade secrets of his former employers and could possibly use it to the advantage of his ‘new home’ at the detriment of Lafarge Africa.

In fact, it has been stressed that one of the first assignment of Mr Puchercos when he resumes at Dangote Cement on February 1, 2020 would likely be to woo major distributors of Lafarge Africa in order to cripple the competitor’s market share.

If this happens, shareholders of Lafarge Africa will continue to lose because both the topline and bottomline of the company will be badly affected. But for now, observers will continue to watch as events unfold.

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Keystone Bank: Promoting workplace culture, engagement, productivity

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By Ezra Adeniyi

The greatest assets of any burgeoning organization should be its workforce and inter-relationship between the employee and the employer. That explains why most corporate bodies must place maximum premium on workplace culture and employee engagement.

Its impact cannot be overemphasized as far as staff productivity is concerned. Unfortunately, this has remained a constant challenge for most organizations as staff attrition rate continues to skyrocket due to several reasons. The feeling of not being recognized or appreciated, non-collaborative work culture, non-accessibility to senior or executive management are the immediate attributes.

Keystone Bank, however, is placing a premium on improving workplace culture towards making her employees happy and

productive. In the past one year the bank has launched several internal initiatives to enhance staff welfare to keep staff engaged together with an open-door approach to have every voice heard.

One of such noble initiatives launched late 2019 was the Keystone Bank Interdivisional games, designed to foster team collaboration and relieve workplace stress. The event which was held on Saturday November 23rd, 2019 was a huge success that witnessed a turnout of staff along with friends and family members who were treated to a whole day of fun, laughter and bonding.

The initiative is part of the lender’s commitment to promoting fitness, healthy living, fostering effective and healthy workplace collaboration amongst its staff and their family members.

More excitingly, beyond the financial rewards that were given to the winners at the games, executive management hosted the staff winners to an exquisite dinner out on Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 to celebrate with them. All members of executive management of Keystone Bank were present at the dinner to congratulate with the winners, chat, commend and to spur the staff participants to keep being involved in such activities which impact on the overall well-being of the organization. The staff winners in attendance were elated about the gesture from the management which indeed boosted their morale to do more.

In a brief chat with the executive director, Adeyemi Odusanya, he said, “We place a huge premium on our staff at Keystone Bank, we understand that employees are the engine room required in making any organization work and if they are not treated right it’s to the disadvantage of all. Our customers also deserve the best, hence we believe that when our employees are treated right, they will always be in their best shape to keep delivering a superior customer experience.

“Time-out with employees, dinner out with management amongst others is fast becoming our culture at Keystone Bank and we will keep exploring other programmes to the advantage of our employees,”.

 – Adeniyi, a financial analyst, wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

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Hollandia Yoghurt Unveils New Partnership with Yemi Alade

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Hollandia Yoghurt, Nigeria’s leading drinking yoghurt beverage brand, has announced a partnership agreement with Miss Yemi Alade, a multiple award-winning artiste of international repute, as part of a new campaign to celebrate the brand’s 15 years of nourishing Nigerians and reinforcing its market leadership.

The partnership aims to celebrate the values of consistency, hard work and talent which the brand and the artiste have in common. Hollandia Yoghurt is the leader of the yoghurt category, a position it attained through innovation and continuous passion for excellence. Similarly, Miss Yemi Alade has continuously innovated herself and has risen to the top of her music career with various awardwinning hits.

Since it was introduced into the Nigerian market over 15 years ago, Hollandia Yoghurt has transformed the Yoghurt market landscape with its high quality products, packed under very hygienic conditions. To address varying consumer needs Hollandia Yoghurt has remained consistent in providing healthy, tasty, and nourishing yoghurt drink that contain proteins, minerals and vitamins that unlocks the energy in its consumers.

Every day, Nigerians enjoy Hollandia Yoghurt because its nourishing goodness give them energy, serve as meal-replacement and keep them positively recharged to be at their best. Whether onthe-go, at work, in school or at play, Nigerians trust the brand to nourish their body and keep them active. Therefore, it is no wonder that the brand has achieved the feat of becoming the most preferred and generic name for drinking yoghurt amongst consumers.

Speaking on the partnership, Yemi Alade said, “I am really excited about this partnership with Hollandia Yoghurt because the brand stands out differently from all other drinking yoghurt products. Like me, Hollandia Yoghurt displays an insatiable quest for increased creativity and innovation. I love the delicious taste and revitalizing energy of Hollandia Yoghurt.”

Speaking on this new partnership, Marketing Director of CHI Ltd, Mrs. Toyin Nnodi, says, “In our quest to find a brand ambassador for the Hollandia Yoghurt brand, we have taken a strategic decision to appoint Miss Yemi Alade as our brand partner. We are happy and excited about this new relationship and we are confident that this will be a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.”

Mr. Deepanjan Roy, Managing Director of CHI Limited, said “Hollandia Yoghurt has provided satisfying nourishment for Nigerians for the last 15 years and would continue to demonstrate leadership in the drinking yoghurt category in the years ahead. We have set the pace for the drinking yoghurt category through the years, and through this partnership we look forward to working with Yemi Alade on a number of different projects to bring the beloved brand even closer to Nigerians”.

Hollandia Yoghurt is made from high quality ingredients. It is available in two variants of Plain Sweetened and Strawberry, and comes in 1Litre, 500ml, 315ml, 180ml and 100ml pack sizes.

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Alleged $2bn revenue indebtedness: Malami withdraws charges against MTN

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, on Friday, said its case with the Federal Government over alleged revenue indebtedness of N242.24 billion and $1.28 billion had been withdrawn.

MTN Nigeria stated this in a regulatory filing to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) signed by its Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah.

The company said its legal counsel received a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (rtd), which formally withdrew the government’s demand for the funds.

“MTN Nigeria is pleased to report that its legal counsel has received a letter dated January 8 2020 from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (the AGF) formally withdrawing the demand for N242,244,452,215.97 and $1.283,610,357.86 alleged revenue indebtedness,” the company said in a statement.

It said the letter confirmed that the AGF had referred the matter to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with a view to resolving the contentious issues.

“MTN Nigeria will consequently follow due court process to withdraw its legal action against the AGF and engage with the FIRS and NCS on the issues.

“MTN Nigeria remains committed to conducting its business in accordance with applicable laws in Nigeria,” it said.

The statement quoted Mr Ferdi Moolman, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, as saying that the company was pleased with the decision of the  AGF.

“We are very pleased with the decision of the AGF and we commend him for his wisdom.

“We maintain our dedication to building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria.

“And we remain fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributions to the social and economic development of Nigeria,” Moolman stated.

The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court adjourned the suit filed against Nigeria by MTN over the disputed claims of tax evasion to January 30 and 31.

The telecoms firm had filed the suit against the government, following the demand by the AGF that MTN should pay the tax bill relating to the import of equipment and payments to foreign suppliers from 2007 to 2017.

The plaintiff was seeking among other declaratory reliefs, a declaration that the AGF’s demand of the sums of N242.24 billion and $1.28 billion from MTN was premised on a process which was malicious, unreasonable and made on an incorrect legal basis.

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