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BUA Cement Plc has increased the ex-factory price of its cement product by N200 per bag. The cement manufacturer, it was reliably gathered, unveiled its new price increase from N2,800 to N3,000 per bag over the weekend.

 

The price increase by BUA is contrary to what he has repeatedly asserted that his company does not have any justification to increase the price of cement as it is currently making enough returns.

 

It would be recalled that BUA Cement, in various statements issued between April 24 and June 18 this year, had refuted any claims of increase in the ex-factory price of its cement products by N300 per bag, stating that, “the company had no plans to increase prices of its cement now or in the near future.”

 

According to a statement issued on April 24, 2021, the company stated that, “the solution was not in an increase of ex-factory price at this period.”

 

The company, in its statement, had “reiterated its stand that the timing was not right for any increase in the price of major commodities, especially not at this period whilst Nigerians are still trying to recover from the economic consequences brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic – especially for a product for which all raw materials are locally sourced.”

 

On June 17, 2021, BUA Cement had issued a fresh statement titled ‘No Further Increase in the Price of BUA Cement’ in response to numerous clarification requests from its distributors and the public that the company does not seek to increase the ex-factory price of its cement in the foreseeable future.

 

“We are aware of the feedback and outcry from the public, and the government on the high retail price of cement in a period of economic recovery. BUA is also of the firm belief that the current retail prices of cement are higher than normal, hence our earlier communication not to increase ex-factory prices in the foreseeable future.

 

“As a responsible corporate entity, we refuse and reject associations with any actions that are deemed capable of projecting any industry we operate as a cartel. Hence, whilst we respect that the said company has decided to increase their prices, we are not questioning the reason(s) why, but would like to make clear BUA’s position on a price increase.

 

“The timing is not right for any increase on BUA’s part, and we do not have any justifiable business reason to increase our prices (ex-factory) anytime soon. We therefore urge our distributors not to panic as well as not engage in any arbitrary hike in the retail price of BUA Cement,” the statement read.

 

The increase in the company’s ex-factory price of cement has generated ripples among distributors, retailers and consumers across the country, with many wondering at the sudden change of mind of the manufacturer and this volte-face dishonesty.

 

In a market survey carried out on the price increase, a cement distributor in Kano, Alhaji Sadiq, wondered why BUA Cement changed its cement price, contrary to expectations and its promise. “I don’t understand why BUA did this increase at this particular time. The chairman of BUA, Abdulsamad Rabiu, personally promised us that his company will not increase the price of its cement. Honestly, this is not good for our business and the industry. This is the biggest scam by any major corporate organisation in the history of this country,” he lamented.

 

Another cement distributor based in Asaba, Delta State Sunday Odogwu, expressed anger at the price increase by BUA Cement, despite all his repeated promises of no further increase in the price of BUA cement.

 

According to Odogwu, “BUA told us several times before in their statements to distributors that they are not ready to increase their cement price. The last notice was just last month in June. Why are they doing this now? It is so not fair, and we are disappointed. Our customers will not understand all this and will be blaming us!”

“This shows total disregard and non-adherence to international corporate governance rules and standards. More importantly, his action shows a total disregard and disrespect for his customers, who over the years from their loyalty and patronage of his cement have in no small measure contributed to his business success.

 

“Initially, we believed the management of BUA as having sympathy for the populace. But this current position is not only deceptive but also portrays the organisation as having a hidden agenda in order to smear competition and gain an unfair market advantage over others in the industry”, he added.


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Fitch Affirms Ecobank Nigeria’s Stable Outlook

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Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ecobank Nigeria Limited’s (ENG) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B-‘ with a Stable Outlook. Fitch has simultaneously upgraded the bank’s National Short-Term Rating to ‘F2(nga)’ from ‘F3(nga)’.  According to Fitch, the IDRs of Ecobank Nigeria are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b-‘, stating that the bank has a moderate market shares of Nigeria’s banking-sector assets but its franchise benefits from being a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, a large pan-African banking group with operations spanning 33 countries across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The rating agency reported that Ecobank’s loans have declined in recent years, stressing that it does not see a high risk of the largest Stage 2 loans, which are concentrated within the oil and gas sector, of becoming impaired. It noted that its asset-quality assessment is positively influenced by a substantial amount of non-loan assets, largely comprising government securities and cash reserves at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Fitch expects profitability to improve moderately with receding asset-quality pressures and lower LICs.

Fitch observed that “ENG’s total capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 19.6% at end the first quarter of 2021 maintains a comfortable buffer above the 10% regulatory requirement for a bank with a national licence and the bank’s tangible leverage ratio of 10.7% at the end of first quarter of 2021 which compares favourably with that of peers. Impaired loans net of specific loan loss allowances represented a significant 46% of Fitch Core Capital at end of first quarter of last year but risks to capital are mitigated by strong collateral coverage and recovery expectations of the two large upstream impaired loans.” “ENG’s low gross loans/customer deposits ratio of 67% at the end of 2021 largely reflects a small loan book. Large cash reserves at the CBN, net interbank placements and unpledged central-government securities represented 33% of total assets and 50% of customer deposits at end the first quarter of 2021 providing healthy liquidity coverage. Our funding and liquidity assessment also considers the benefits of ordinary liquidity support from ETI.” The report stated.

Fitch’s view of support for Ecobank Nigeria considered the high propensity of ETI to provide support, given the former’s importance to the parent’s pan-African strategy as its largest subsidiary and it is operating in sub–Saharan Africa’s largest economy. It also considers the material reputational damage to ETI that would accompany ENG’s default, the 100% ownership, a high degree of management and operational integration and a record of capital support.

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Fidelity Bank Enriches Customers, Holds Second Draw of GAIM 5 Promo

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