Edward Akinlade is the group managing director, Haldane McCall Plc, a company in the real estate and hospitality industry in Nigeria. Recently, the company disclosed plans to list its shares by introduction on Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024. Ahead of this feat, Akinlade speaks on the real estate and hospitality businesses and how they can contribute more to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), write Iheanyi Nwachukwu. Excerpts.
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What motivates your plan to seek listing by Introduction in the first quarter of 2024?
We know the primary benefits of listing, which include risk diversification and by implication, opportunity for continuity in a company as the ownership base is wide.
We also want our directors to cut across different professional backgrounds. Listing puts a company on the global map as an organisation that upholds the sanctity of corporate governance through compliance with the Post Listing Requirements of NGX.
There is no doubt that listing creates multiple opportunities for a company to access capital from the markets as there are various financing options. Haldane McCall is a baked cake that we want many investors to simply slice and eat.
We are seeking approval for listing by Introduction. It means prior to our listing; we have complied with the Listing Requirements of NGX. We are already engaging the Capital Market Regulators through our appointed agents – the market operators. After the listing, we shall be at liberty to deploy public offering and other financial assets to mobilize funds from the market.
Is Haldane McCall also issuing bonds to raise long term funds in the future?
That option is on the cards. When we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. We shall definitely issue bonds in the future to finance our expansion into affordable housing, particularly in Lagos and Abuja, and also to expand our hotels in Abuja.
You are so passionate about Haldane McCall Plc. What is so unique about this company?
Our vision is to create a company that would enable the creation of a sustainable developmental framework for Africa. We would achieve our vision by positively engaging all stakeholders in all our areas of operations. The Company intends to intensify its drive for sourcing and identifying viable investment opportunities in the African emerging markets. The strategy among others is to buy existing hotels, invest, remodel and finally rebrand for optimality.
What is the company’s dividend policy?
Our dividend policy is to distribute 30 percent of all our profits after tax annually to our shareholders.
Can you shed more light on the Company’s strategic growth plan?
We have a well-defined strategic growth plan that includes expanding our market presence and exploring new opportunities. Your investment will be part of an exciting journey towards expanding our horizons and securing a brighter future. Our presence in both real estate and hospitality sectors ensures that your investment remains resilient in a rapidly evolving market. Our future projections indicate promising returns on investments. We are committed to maximising value for our investors as we continue to grow and innovate. With a history of profitable ventures and a dedicated team of industry experts, we have consistently delivered exceptional results.
What are the major challenges facing housing for all Nigerians?
The challenges are enormous. What we want from the government of the day is to provide enabling environment in so many areas. Most of the materials being used in the industry are imported. Volatility of FX rate is impacting is on businesses in this sector. This brings about high cost of construction in Nigeria.
We contend with multiple taxation, availability of inadequate skilled workers is a major challenge, as there are situations where you have to go outside Nigeria to find skilled professionals to do the work and getting approval from governments to do the construction work is often fraught with bureaucratic bottlenecks.
We pay as much as 30 percent interest on loans from banks in Nigeria. Many people in the construction industry leverage their own capital to do business. This makes it difficult to operate optimally, unlike advanced countries where there is access to loans at low interest.
How can these be addressed?
The way forward is political will. Where there is will, there is a way. Our politicians are not that keen in supporting the housing market. That is why the challenges are increasing by the day. The Government needs to address the issue of interest rates to make it competitive.
Nigeria should invest more in technical education to increase skilled manpower. We used to have technical colleges in the past. The schools were producing skilled workers like carpenters, bricklayers, technicians and a host of others. We expect multiple taxation to be reduced under the ongoing tax reform. Generally, the ease of doing business should be given a priority to attract more investors into the real estate.
We hope the new administration will implement policies that will enable those of us in the real estate industry to operate optimally and contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As for the hospitality industry, there are many mushroom hotels in Nigeria. Multiple taxation and other anti-business policies have continued to stifle the companies’ ability to make profit.
During the recent investor’s forum of Haldane McCall Plc in Lagos, you said the company could partner the federal government to address housing deficits in Nigeria. How realistic is this?
Very simple and highly realistic. I still maintain that our politicians are not interested because they have crude to sell. Yes, I said during the investor’s forum that state and federal government can give developers land to go and develop within a period of time. It’s the developer giving back to the government for the value of the land giving at the start.
This model does not cost the government any amount as the only person that will finance the project is the developer. This model is cost-effective for the government and realistic. But are our politicians interested?
Can you give an insight into hospitality industry which you are also major player?
We are well-diversified. We own the Suru brand in Nigeria. That is why you will find Suru Express Hotel. We have Suru Express Plus Hotel, Lagos. We also own one in Ikeja, one in Surulere and one in Ikorodu. We cater for the middle class with affordable hotel needs rather than luxury. The one at Ikorodu is about 92 rooms, the one in Surulere is 21 rooms while the one at GRA is 32 rooms. Our rates are competitive. We deliver quality service.