By Babatunde Alaran
One of the largest security markets in Africa, Halogen Security Company has officially unveiled its new identity management and outsourcing solutions arms, named Avant Halogen.
According to the security risk management company, Avant Halogen is a full-fledged subsidiary with specialist focus positioned to innovatively tackle identity management, talent risk, verification and outsourcing issues affecting multinational companies, institutions, parastatals, government security agencies, corporate bodies and the general public.
The company further revealed that Avant Halogen has undergone significant transformation in the past few months. While its corporate identity shares a common emblem that visually integrates all Halogen operating companies, its vision remains that of being the benchmark for biometric verification, background checks, digital aided identity and credentials confirmation as well as outsourcing solutions that cater to all cadres of clients.
Speaking on the new company, Halogen’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Wale Olaoye, said that the new company is a product of the deep transformation and unique talent risk management services at Halogen security adding that it is empowered to deliver best-in-class services in the area of identity management and talent risk solution for the Nigerian and the West African economic landscape.
“We are delighted to announce the birth of a new company from the Halogen Group; Avant Halogen. Avant’s vision will be driven by professionals with track records in the industry. In line with our avowed cardinal principles of professionalism, integrity, passion, and excellence.
UBA Hinges Future Performance on Cost Efficiency, Improved Asset Quality
Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has assured its local and international investors that it’s prudent focus on improved asset quality as well as the continuous adoption of strict cost efficient measures will help the bank achieve its objectives and priorities for the 2019 financial year and beyond.
This the bank has said will culminate into an institution with even stronger indices laced with the capacity to churn out strong double-digit growth in annuity-based trade services, enhanced offerings and improved customer service.
Already, the bank has instituted a number of enhanced risk management and control framework which have in no small measure contributed to its financial performances and overall balance sheet growth over the years.
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who noted this in a submission while presenting the bank’s 2018 full year results during an international investor/ analysts conference call on Thursday, explained that UBA’s well diversified asset book supported by stable funding structure, placed it in a premium position to perform remarkably despite the falling economic indices in its operating environment.
He said, “In spite of slow recovery in economic activities in Nigeria (our single largest market), the Group’s total assets has grown by 19.7%, driven largely by a strong deposit growth of 23%, as the drive for retail deposits continue to yield desired results. Leveraging on enhanced customer service, the Group grew retail deposits by 48%, thus strengthening the funding base and providing the foundation for lower cost of funds in 2019.
“Notably, the growth in balance sheet also partly reflects the impact of exchange rate difference between the reporting dates (2017: N331/USD vs. 2018: N359/USD), as 37% of loans and 27% of overall balance sheet is FCY-denominated. The Group maintained its appetite for a well-diversified balance sheet, with over 60% in liquid, low risk instruments.”
Uzoka explained to the investors that the bank recorded impressive growths achieved across major financial lines, recording a 48 percent year-on-year growth in retail deposits and improved CASA ratio to 77 percent.
In its results for the year end December 2018, UBA gross earnings grew by 7.0 percent to N494.0 billion, compared to N461.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017. The Bank’s total assets also grew significantly by 19.7 percent to an unprecedented N4.9 trillion for the year under review
Throwing more light on the financials, he stated that gross earnings grew by 7% year-on-year, despite regulation and market conditions undermined the non-interest income line. Interest income, which contributed 73% of gross earnings, grew by 11%, driven by strong interest income on treasuries, reflecting the low-risk appetite and treasury-led strategy adopted during the year. He noted that the lower non-interest income was occasioned by market condition and regulatory impact on FX trading income, adding that growing volume on FX trading is compensating for lower margin on this business, thus reinforcing our positive growth expectation on this income line in 2019.
While speaking on the strength of the financial institution in the coming years, especially on the back of it’s African and non-African subsidiaries, Uzoka said the bank’s recent foray into key markets and economies remain a milestone that will catapult the institution in the coming years.
He said, “UBA is a unique pan-African franchise with diversified risk and earnings across fast growing African economies with sound governance, risk management and compliance culture which can be seen from our adherence to international best practice. Our robust digital banking platform through which we are leveraging technology to serve over 15 million customers in a cost efficient approach that has helped to deepen African banking penetration.
“We have the strong financial capacity backed by high capitalization (BASEL II capital ratio well above requirement) and strong liquidity, and we have worked hard towards connecting Africa and the world through our presence in key African markets and major global financial centres such as New York, London and Paris.”
Kia to launch stylish new Ceed crossover
From the very beginning of Ceed development 15 years ago, Kia has taken an open-minded approach to potential body styles. Many have been considered, and, in creating the new Ceed range, Kia’s European designers have been given the freedom to explore many different possibilities.
Now, with one additional idea standing out above all others, Kia is set to welcome a new arrival to the Ceed model family. Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe, explains: “There’s another style, another type of vehicle, that we feel very strongly deserves to be a new member of the Ceed family. It will the play the role that’s needed to make the Ceed range stronger and even more exciting, more appealing, to European consumers. The design will be nothing like you’ve seen in the Ceed family so far. This will be the next big surprise from Kia.”
With the arrival of the new Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon and ProCeed, Kia’s best-selling model family hasn’t stopped growing, and the newest member will shake things up again. The new Ceed crossover will be named and revealed later in 2019.
Unitel to chair the GSMA Association Africa Fraud and Security Group
Unitel was elected to chair the GSMA Association Africa Fraud and Security Group (AFASG), a specific working group dedicated to dealing with critical fraud and security issues for the telecommunications industry in Africa.
The mandate has a period of two years, renewable for two more, upon evaluation of the work carried out and subject to a new election. The appointment is the result of an application process which is based on the presentation of a Strategic Leadership Plan for the Group in Africa, submitted to the consideration of its members.
Unitel competed with MTN (which has 18 operations in Africa) and with Wana Corporate, Morocco. The role of Chair will be assured by the Director of Risk, Fraud and Security of Unitel, José Carlos Sobreira Martins.
The AFASG includes the major telecommunication groups in Africa such as: Orange (18 operations in Africa); MTN (18); Airtel (16); Vodafone / Vodacom (8) and Millicom / Tigo (4), in addition to other individual mobile operators and Associate Members such as technology vendors such as Ericsson and Huawei.
AFASG is an entity within the framework of the GSMA Association, which in turn represents the international interests of all mobile telecommunications operators in the world. There are more than 800 mobile operators, and more than 350 associated companies that are part of the broad mobile ecosystem.
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