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Abdulhamid Hassan’s fintech startup Mono raises $15-million Series-A round

The startup helps African businesses access high-quality financial data and direct bank payments.

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Mono CEO Abdulhamid Hassan.

Nigeria-based fintech startup Mono has raised a $15-million Series-A round, TechCrunch reported.

The startup helps African businesses access high-quality financial data and direct bank payments.

Since its launch last year, Mono has raised a total of $17.65 million. The startup was co-founded by CEO Abdulhamid Hassan and CTO Prakhar Singh.

The latest funding round was led by Tiger Global, with participation from new investors, such as General Catalyst and SBI Investment. New investors included Entree Capital, Lateral Capital, GPIC, Acuity VC and Ingressive Capital.

Commenting on the round, Hassan said direct pay and statement pages are the two products that distinguish Mono from its competitors. 

While direct pay helps businesses collect bank transfer payments from customers within their Web or mobile app without using debit cards, statement pages allows businesses to access customer financial accounts without needing a developer.

At the moment, the products are tailored toward Nigerian users, as the company looks to enter the Ghanaian and Kenyan markets. It is also moving to launch in South Africa in the coming months.

Mono claims to have connected more than 150,000 bank accounts over the past two months with 45-percent year-on-year growth. It has also processed over 200 million financial data transactions from more than 270 businesses, developers and fintech partners.

“Everything that we do at Mono is mostly customer-driven. Customers who want to launch lending or fintech apps in these countries say they can’t do so unless Mono is there,” Hassan said. “Based on how we’ve built our relationship and the kind of products we’ve built in Nigeria, people rely on us and say when we go to a country, they would also want to launch there.”

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Demola Sogunle-led Stanbic IBTC reports near 40-percent decline in 9M 2021 profits

The company operates as a member of Standard Bank Group, a financial services giant based in South Africa.

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Nigerian businessman Demola Sogunle.

Nigeria-based financial holding, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, has reported a 39.6-percent decline in profit for the first nine months of its 2021 financial year, which ended on Sept. 30.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings is a Nigeria-based financial services holding with subsidiaries in banking, stock brokerage, investment advisory, asset management, ventures, investor services, pension management, trustees and life insurance.

The company operates as a member of Standard Bank Group, a financial services giant based in South Africa under the leadership of Demola Sogunle, who was appointed CEO on July 1, 2020.

Figures contained in the group’s quarterly filings revealed that its profit for the nine-month period fell by nearly 40 percent from N66.2 billion ($161.1 million) in 2020 to N39.9 billion ($97.1 million) in 2021.

Financial performance for the period was significantly impacted by a slump in trading revenue, driven by a decline in income generated from fixed-income assets and foreign currency trading activities during the period under review.

This pressured gross earnings downward by 20 percent from N183.3 million ($446.1 million) in 2020 to N146.6 million ($356.8 million) in 2021.

In addition to the external and systemic risks that impacted Stanbic’s gross earnings, internal factors including an increase in operating expenses pressured the group’s earnings below the N40-billion ($97.3 million) mark, from N66.2 billion ($161.1 million) a year ago.

Stanbic also generated lower cash flows from its operations in the period, as net cash flows from operating activities declined from N240.1 billion ($584.3 million) in 2020 to N46.8 billion ($114 million) in the nine-month period under review.

Despite these negative factors, the group was able to grow its total asset value from N2.49 trillion ($6.1 billion) at the start of the year to N2.75 trillion ($6.7 billion) as of Sept. 30. 

However, its liabilities grew faster from N2.1 trillion ($5.1 billion) at the beginning of the year to N2.39 trillion ($5.9 billion) as of the time of writing. This eroded the value of equity attributable to shareholders by 5.1 percent.

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Nigeria’s oldest bank confirms billionaire Femi Otedola’s acquisition of $54.2-million stake

Otedola is known for building corporate juggernauts in the energy, shipping, real estate and finance sectors.

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Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola. ©Billionaires.Africa

After a frenzied 24 hours of back and forth between the media and one of Nigeria’s largest banking groups, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH), its management has confirmed the acquisition of a substantial stake in the lender by Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola.

In a notification sent to the Nigerian Exchange, the financial services group disclosed that Otedola has completed the acquisition of a 5.07-percent stake, or 1,818,551,625 units of shares, from the company’s issued share capital, which amounts to a total of 35,895,292,791 shares.

Information contained in the notification revealed that the billionaire made the acquisition through one of his investment vehicles, Calvados Global Services Limited, which was at the forefront of his sale of a 75-percent stake in Forte Oil Plc to Prudent Energy in 2019.

The acquisition of the shares worth N22.27 billion ($54.2 million) makes him one of the largest shareholders in the Nigeria-based lender, ahead of Obafemi Otudeko, the former chairman of FBNH, and Remi Babalola, who is the current chairman of the holding.

FBNH has a free float unit of 35,773,669,647 ordinary shares, which translates to 99.67 percent of the company’s 35,895,292,791 issued shares.

Otedola’s acquisition of the stake has sent the holding’s share price up by more than 60 percent in the past 28 days. Its market capitalization skyrocketed from a valuation of N267.4 billion ($650.6 million) on Sept. 24 to N440 billion ($1.07 billion) as of the time of writing.

Recall that Billionaires.Africa previously reported that the billionaire acquired a significant stake in the leading Nigerian banking group on Oct. 22.

In reaction, in an earlier statement, FBNH disclosed that it had not received any notification from Otedola in line with the acquisition as mentioned in the news report.

The lender noted that it will notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholding from shareholders and the company’s registrars.

Otedola’s acquisition opens up fresh debate surrounding who holds the largest stake in the group, as experts believe that aside from Tunde Hassan-Odukale, who holds a 5.36-percent stake in the lender, Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga could be one of its largest shareholders.

Following his purchase of the stake, experts expect Otedola to bring fresh ideas that will drive forward the bank’s growth, as they believe the billionaire will take on a management role.

Otedola is known for his ability to innovate in disparate sectors after building and leading corporate juggernauts in the energy, shipping, real estate and finance industries.

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Led by Tunisian Ben Yedder family, Ennakl Automobiles posts $153 million in revenue in 9M 2021

Ennakl is a Tunisian auto retailer selling cars under the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Porsche brands.

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Ennakl Automobiles Chairman Abdellatif Hmam.

Tunisia-based automobile company Ennakl Automobiles has posted TND429.91 million ($152.9 million) in revenue in the first nine months of 2021, as the automobile company continues to benefit from strong growth in demand.

Ennakl Automobiles is a Tunisia-based automobile retailer engaged in the retail sale of cars under the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Porsche brands. The company is majority-owned by the affluent Ben Yedder family and operates under the management of Chairman Abdellatif Hmam.

In addition to its retail activities, the company engages in the importation and distribution of auto parts through its subsidiary, Car Gros, which enables it to offer after-sale services to customers.

Compared with its revenue of TND288 million ($102.4 million) in the first nine-month period of 2020, the company’s consolidated revenue in 2021 rose by 49.3 percent to TND429.9 million ($152.9 million).

The growth in revenue indicates a significant improvement in sales despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operating environment, as the company was able to sell 6,393 vehicles in the first nine months of 2021, up 58.3 percent from the 4,039 units sold last year.

The management noted that the company’s excellent financial performance at the end of Q3 2021 consolidated its leading position among importers in the automotive sector, resulting in Ennaki seizing a 14.24-percent market share during the period under review.

In line with its commitment to create value for stakeholders and improve its market dominance in the automobile industry, Ennakl Automobiles signed a distribution contract with Renault Trucks on Sept. 7 to become its second non-exclusive importer on Tunisian territory.

Ennakl also invested TND2.3 billion ($817.8 million) in its operations, maintaining its budgeted investments, particularly with the extension of the SEAT brand showroom.

As of press time, Oct. 23, shares in the company were trading at TND12 ($4.30). This is 1.5-percent higher than its opening price this month.

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