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Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:04

MTN May Cut More Jobs This Year

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Multinational telecommunication company, MTN Group, says it plans to reorganise its enterprise business unit in South Africa, as revenues dwindle due to competition, VenturesAfrica reports.

“We are reorganising to enhance our customer service and market differentiation. We also acknowledge that the success of the new structure lies in a strong value proposition for our employees,” MTN South Africa’s Chief Enterprise Officer, Alpheus Mangale, was quoted by IT News Africa to have said.

The telco, which is Africa’s largest mobile service provider, operates in 22 African countries and the Middle East, but its home market has been struggling in recent times. With the voice market saturated with four mobile networks – MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom SA, the company is leveraging on its enterprise solutions to boost revenue and strengthen its competitive advantage, hence the need to restructure it for optimum growth.

MTN said in a statement that employees likely to be affected by the reorganisation had been informed at a meeting held on Wednesday. It however did not disclose the number of staff that could be affected. However, in keeping with employment legislation, engagements with staff working in MTN Business will continue in the coming weeks.

Last October, MTN said it would lay off about 850 of its managerial staff in South Africa where stiff competition has stalled growth. The company’s place in Nigeria, its biggest market, is also threatened by cut-throat competition from other players.

According to Mangale, MTN intends to expand its operations into certain market segments and therefore its staff need to acquire the right set of skills to successfully do so.

Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:49

Coca-Cola to cut up to 1,800 jobs Worldwide

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Following its October announcement of its plan to save $3b in annual costs, beverage giant, Coca-Cola is set to cut up to 1,800 jobs worldwide. The job cuts will affect the firm’s Atlanta headquarters, as well as its international operations. The firm said it had already started to inform those workers who will be affected by the cuts.

A spokesperson from Coca-Cola, in an emailed statement told BBC that the firm has started informing associates in the United States and in some international locations about the impacts to their departments,”

Further cuts would be made by different departments at various times. We have identified 1,600 to 1,800 positions in Corporate, Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola International that will be eliminated in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.

Coca-Cola’s chief executive officer Muhtar Kent said the firm was aiming to save some $3bn (£1.98bn) in annual costs by 2019, which would include job cuts. At the time, Mr Kent said he recognised the need for the company “to increase the scope and pace of change” as it continued to face a challenging economic environment.

He said the firm was focused on “streamlining and simplifying” its operations and that it was proceeding with plans “for refranchising the majority of company-owned North American bottling territories by the end of 2017″.

Last year, Coca-Cola reported a 14% fall in earnings for the July to September quarter last year and a sluggish revenue growth. This has cause the beverage giant to cut its coat according to its cloth.

Thursday, 15 January 2015 18:26

Transcorp Hotels Finally Goes Public

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Transcorp Hotels Plc (THP) will finally go public in 2015, as it concludes preparations to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange today, January 15, 2015. The move makes it one of the first companies this year to listed on an exchange experiencing its biggest negative growth in the last half-decade.

According to a report by Thisday, the Company had said the shares would be listed on the NSE at the conclusion of the IPO it carried out last year and in fulfilment of its promise to investors. The NSE will on Thursday admit the shares of THP to the exchange’s daily official list.

The Expansion Scheme

Transcorp concluded an N8 billion public offer in September 2014, which it later revealed was oversubscribed. The profits from that offer are being invested into a series of five star, upper market and middle market properties, the first of which will be two new hotels in Lagos and Port Harcourt at a cost of $140 million and $100 million, respectively.

Managing Director of the company, Valentine Ozigbo, had shown enthusiasm by explaining that Nigeria’s hospitality industry is experiencing a period of extensive growth. This in addition to the demand for expanded capacity and improved quality in service delivery. “We have a strong brand and success story in Nigeria as well as good long term relationships with established suppliers in Nigeria,” he said. “These, coupled with our partnership with the Hilton Worldwide for management of our facilities, opens up a large opportunity for our proposed developments in the high density areas of Nigeria to attract a considerable portion of business travel and tourist traffic which should translate to adequate guest patronage.”

FirstBank Nigeria, known for its conservative risk asset management, especially in the security of their customer’s money and the very young and ‘swag’ mobile brand, Etisalat has come together to offer a mobile money product to the Nigerian public to drive the mobile payment systems and support the CBN cash-less policy. 

The partnership which involves FirstBank’s Firstmonie Mobile Money and Etisalat easywallet, a SIM application solution, is expected to significantly impact the uptake of mobile money in Nigeria. It would also make mobile payments more accessible and secure.

In a statement, FirstBank said the aim of the partnership is to promote the use of Firstmonie mobile money on the easywallet STK menu, adding that by doing so, there would be value added to all stakeholders in the mobile money segment including customers, Agents and merchants.

FirstBank’s, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, FirstBank, Folake Ani-Mumuney,  said “Firstmonie has continued to show its commitment to upholding the financial inclusion drive by the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that this is evident in its recent award of the Best Mobile Money Operator in Nigeria by the EFInA Financial Inclusion Awards.

She said partnering with Etisalat to promote the use of the STK menu as the preferred Mobile Money channel, further demonstrates “our commitment to lead innovation in the development of secure mobile payment solutions.” 

The management of Nigeria Mystery Shoppers Provider (NMSP) is calling on the general public to maximise the opportunity it is providing to train interested individuals on how to make money while shopping.

In a press release signed and made available to Nigeria Customer service Magazine, “You only need to be trained to become a mystery shopper for a little fee and you start making earnings on the go.”

It stated further: “The NMSP is the first in a series of training in the field of Customer Service totally committed to helping organisations create an environment that delivers excellent customer [service] experiences which are truly engaging, empowering and of immense benefit to the overall wellbeing of the every establishment.”

It outlined benefits of attending the training which include: Provision of a tool to reference and benchmark an organisations ability to manage customers efficiently and the handling of an increased volume of customers; a clearer understanding of the issues that prevent organisations from successfully managing customer service; a clear understanding of the roles customer service professionals play in the transformation of business; access to a supportive network of peers to better understand whether the issues you face are inherent or unique to your organisation in relation to customer service transformation,  earn a certification that makes you a certified Customer Services Assessor and also help you enhance your CV. 

Participants are to pay the sum of N10,000.00 and N50,000.00 for General Training and Executive Training respectively. The trainings will hold in two cities – Abuja and Lagos.

For more information, participants are encouraged to visit www.mysteryshoppers.org.ng

Thursday, 08 January 2015 11:36

Calabar Becomes Nigeria’s First Digital City

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Calabar, the capital of south eastern Cross River State has become Nigeria’s first digital city following the successful installation of its metropolitan dark fibre optic network infrastructure, VenturesAfrica reports.

 

 

 

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has said it is committed to providing $6 million (N1.1 billion) to support Nigeria’s smart cards manufacturing industry. This is a part of broader move to support backward integration plans that will facilitate the emergence of profitable local manufacturers within Africa’s largest economy.

In keeping with its identification with premium brands in the automobile industry, Coscharis Group has opened a world-class facility in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, as part of a deliberate effort to offer quality after-sales and vehicle maintenance services, businessdayonline.com reports.

Known as Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centre, and located in the heart of the city, it is a franchise of one of the company’s brands that is also available in several other countries.

Speaking at the soft launch of the facility, Adenuga Olalekan, deputy general manager/head, dealers network development, said “the facility in addition to providing after-sales services and vehicle maintenance would add value to  the automobile  industry as the company brings to bear its vast experience as the biggest investor in after-sales services in the county.

“Nearly everybody can afford to sell vehicles but the business of vehicle maintenance  is a job meant for professionals. Our company has invested so much in after-sales maintenance in terms of manpower, training and structure, remaining the biggest  in the after-sales services in the country.’’

He said the centre would provide certified motor parts for all its brands of vehicles, adding that  it would serve as an “all brand facility’’ to handle other brands of vehicle apart from those under its franchise since it has a fully equipped auto centre with trained professionals.

Speaking also, Babarinde Abiona, general manager, marketing corporate services, highlighted the various brands of vehicles under the company’s franchise to include Ford, Jaguar, Roll Royce, which he described as the master of the road, as well as land Rover Range over and Autobiography among others, saying that Roll Royce, which the company acquired its franchise recently would be launched in the first quarter of 2015.

All the brands of vehicles the company represents would be on display at the centre, he said, adding that it was not just about representing top brands but about getting the expertise and the equipment right in after-sales and maintenance services.

“Coming to Calabar is something we have thought of strategically and by so doing bringing the brand closer to the people as it is as good as getting any of our brands from part of the country.

“These are the brands we represent and we try as much as possible not to drop the quality of our service delivery,’’ he said.

Abiona, who disclosed that the company was also involved in other sectors – agro allied business, owning a large farm in Awka, table water manufacturing, beverages, information and communication technology and executive rentals, said the company was becoming a key player in many other sectors.

In his remarks, Owumi Odanghanro, regional manager, South South, said there were plans to set up similar facilities in other states within the region – Warri in Delta State, to enable the company’s customers have access to quality after-sales services.

The facility comprises a showroom for its brands of vehicles, a car park, offices, workshop, auto parts section as well as a conference room.

Thursday, 04 December 2014 11:42

‘Nigerian Customers Deserve The Best’ - Thermocool

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Thermocool, which has been in Nigeria for 40 years, has recently unveiled new series of air conditioners. In this interview, marketing director of Thermocool, Vikramjeet Singh, explains the unique features of the product which are built with customers in mind. Excerpts:

What informed your choice of introducing the new range of Haier Thermocool air conditioners into the Nigerian market?

Thermocool has been in the Nigerian market for over 40 years. We brought Haier Thermocool into Nigeria market in 2002, when Thermocool and PZ had a venture partnership. All the appliances are being brought under the joint venture. Haier is the technological partner while Thermocool is doing all the marketing, production, distribution and designing. Haier Thermocool is not new to the Nigerian market. Basically, as the market keeps changing, the consumers keep changing, and you need to give the best to the consumer all the time. What we are doing is a re-launch, we are bringing in new features, new technology, new looks to the consumers, which appeal to them.

What are those unique features in these new sets of Thermocool air conditioners?

Electricity is a major challenge we have in Nigeria. Some companies are doing their best in building infrastructure for that. But in the meantime, consumers need the appliances that will withstand low electricity supply. All the product range has been designed to have the low-voltage feature. This makes the product efficient and gives the maximum cooling required. Aside that, there has been a growing concern about having a healthy environment while using an AC. We are glad to inform Nigerians that these new products have in-built anti-bacteria-filters to give good, healthy life to the consumers.

One other area we have taken into consideration is that energy consumption is high. There is high cost of electricity and cost of fuel. Consumers also want fast cooling. All these features have been incorporated in the new air conditioners to serve the consumers well. Again, the product is pocket friendly.

Are you assuring consumers that the features will not affect the durability of the product?

We believe in our brand promise – making things better and make better things. We always focus on innovation and quality. Innovation in terms of what can better the lives of consumers and better things in terms of making the right quality product. This is quite embedded in our thinking and in our approach. And today we follow the same principle. Today, what we need to recognise is that we also need to bring the best of the world to the Nigerian consumer. By introducing Haier, we are bringing global expertise to the product and at the same time keeping the design principles in mind; that the product has to be designed for Nigeria and specifically perform efficiently with the Nigerian environment. Before the introduction of any new product, we basically do a proper testing and give consumers the product to test and get their feedback before the product is launched into the market.

You have talked much on the features that are not unique to Haier Thermocool air-conditioner; so, what are specific features unique to you?

Every company has its strength. What stand us out from competition are durability and warranty services. We have so much trust in our products that we are giving three years warranty. This shows the trust we have in the product, and if you have technical issues we encourage you to come back to us. The other thing is design. All our units are made from copper condenser; again taking into consideration the environment. We are concerned about what is best for our consumers, thus, the composition of these products allows for lower cost of maintenance compared with aluminium condenser.

In addition, all the compressors have been designed for low voltage and we are offering different range and colours in the series for our esteemed customers to choose from.

How would you describe your after-sales service?

This is another unique proposition we are offering our customers, unlike any other AC brand. Our after-sales services are strongly established. Thermocool is a Nigerian company and we are in all major towns of the country. We have 26 depot centres and other seven centres. So, it is never a constraint for us to get to our customers wherever and whenever such services are required.

 

How would you review your brand performance in the outgoing 2014?

This year, we are celebrating our 40th anniversary. We have done a series of work on the brand communication and product launch. We have been able to get a very good momentum in the market, and we have seen that achievement reflects in every year growth path. I see there is a big potential in the Nigerian market and the market is still growing, and we are now very much poised to take that opportunity and move forward.

Who are your target audience?

Every discerning customer who wants better life. When we design our products we look at the various sections of the society. We are not just focusing on one section of the society. Our products have been designed to take care of every individual or groups within the society. All they need to do is visit any of our showrooms and make their choice. We have eco range, eco plus range and double plus range. Our aim is to accommodate as many customers as possible; more so, our prices are very competitive.

In view of the ongoing austerity measures by the Nigerian government, what are your marketing strategies to ensure customers who desire these products get them?

The austerity measures definitely are a concern for everyone. However, we have schemes where consumers can spread their payment even up to six months. But what we are looking at is the impact on the market. At this stage, there is a lot of speculation but we are waiting to see the kind of measures government will take.

Are your products imported or assembled in Nigeria?

We have a manufacturing facility in Ilupeju, Lagos. Last year, we made an investment of about $4 million in the facility. We are committed to investment in Nigeria, and we are doing what is required to make sure we promote local production as well as local talent development. We are a proudly Nigerian brand and one thing we like to see is how we can expand Nigerian brand i.e. West Africa, Africa and globally. We want to double our number in the next five years; and to achieve that we need to develop the people significantly in this direction.

Online shops are growing, are you partnering them to sell your products?

This is a global phenomenon. In China, it is booming where some shops do several millions of dollars sales, and Nigeria is gradually tapping into this trend. But, now it is about information gathering because there is need to have other associated infrastructure in place, like credit cards. We have online presence and websites. 

One of Africa’s most decorated communication outfits, MTN has again topped the Brand Africa 100 list as the ‘Most Admired and Most Valuable African Brand’. At over $5.4bn, MTN is the only African brand valued over a billion dollars.

The 2014 Brand Africa 100 rankings of the most admired and most valuable brands in sub-Saharan Africa were released on Monday at the Nairobi Stock Exchange in Kenya.

In the overall rankings, Coca-Cola displaced Nokia as the most admired brand in Africa, while MTN moved up in the admiration ranks among Africans.

“While it is nice to again be acknowledged as Africa’s most valuable brand, it is even nicer to be ranked the most admired African brand. It means that MTN doesn’t just have a spot in our customers’ pocket book, but in their hearts and minds as well.

“Special thanks to our employees who are the best ambassadors of the MTN brand. Our employees have also done very well to partner with communities through projects such as the 21 Days of Y’ello Care staff volunteer programme,” the Executive for Marketing, MTN Group, Jennifer Forrester, said.

Established in 2011, Brand Africa 100 measures and ranks the brands that consumers admire and their corresponding value.

Brand Africa 100 was developed by Brand Africa in partnership with Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent valuation consultancy.

Congratulations to MTN..

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