Michael Chudi Ejekam

From the Michael Chudi Ejekam Blog: Succeeding in Nigerian Retail

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Three Tips to Make Your Nigerian Retail Venture a Win

Michael Chudi Ejekam has experience choosing the best retail ventures throughout Africa and America. His experiences have served him, the companies he has represented, and individual investors well. This has also helped Michael Chudi Ejekam become known as a thought leader in the Nigerian retail revolution, but some of the expertise comes from watching what’s happening in other parts of the world, and knowing which business strategies help businesses succeed in unique economic environments. The retail industry in Nigeria is still strong and a good opportunity for entrepreneurs, but it’s important to include the following three things into your business plan as you start your retail company.

1. Be Prepared to Stay

“Make very sure Africa is where you want to be,” advises Christo Wiese, Chairman of Shoprite Holdings. He’s South Africa’s richest man, and weathering the conditions is easier for him, but he makes a fine point. All too often, new businesses are not prepared to accept losses with their gains. There will be times when business is slow, and smart entrepreneurs allow for this in their long-term strategies. When they come unprepared to stay, they exit the market quickly.

2. Take Advantage of Ecommerce Opportunities

The people of Nigeria love online shopping,  more so than the people of other nations. Only 60% of Kenyans use the internet for shopping, and in South Africa, the number climbs to 70%, but here in Nigeria, a massive 90% of the population shops online. Throughout the world, we are seeing a unique mixture, where businesses are providing a seamless experience from online stores to their physical locations. Managing Director at Netplusdotcom, Wole Faroun, says that the key is in incorporating point of sales (POS) systems and using them. Consumers can take advantage of being things online, but they also use systems in places like the movies, when they make use of a kiosk to purchase tickets and avoid a line. There are also companies like Amazon, that operate primarily online, but are branching out into small satellite stores, to generate more awareness for the brand and so people can experience the merchandise firsthand. “When you look at point of sale holistically, and as an e-commerce player you begin to see opportunities where you were not playing before,” explains Farun, “and if you start playing in those areas, you’ll see that there’s a win.”

3. Use Locally-Sourced Goods

Forex shortages have affected retailers quite a bit, but they haven’t affected all Nigerian retailers “A lot of retailers have been able to adapt, and some that initially pulled out have come back into the market,” says Obinna Onunkwo, a co-managing partner at Purple Capital. “Those of them that had the foresight to look for local alternatives, or local producers are doing relatively well – those that were not able to make that transition are doing badly.”

Michael Chudi Ejekam understands the retail environment in Nigeria and still believes this is a good time for people to begin a business, but also adds that much of one’s success has to do with the strategy a business creates. Although these three tips may not be a comprehensive strategy for success, it’s a good start for anyone looking to get into the game right now.

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From the Michael Chudi Ejekam Blog: 3 Simple Ways to Go Green

Michael Chu'di Ejekam, Michael Chudi Ejekam, Michael Ejekam, Michael Chudi Ejekam Commercial Real Estate

Michael Chudi Ejekam was part of the team that brought Heritage Place to fruition. As Nigeria’s first green certified commercial building, it has paved the way for other buildings and raised the standards for commercial development. The building, itself, is sleek and modern, very much befitting of the busy commercial district it serves in Lagos and most people wouldn’t realize how much thought went into incorporating green features from the start. This Michael Chudi Ejekam blog will cover three of the ways Heritage Place went green, along with some insights as to why these changes are necessary for all structures going forward.

1. Recycled Water

There are two main kinds of recycled water; graywater and brown/blackwater. The latter tends to refer to water from toilets and other dirty sources, while graywater has less impurities and comes from things like washing hands. One may also think of harvested rainwater as recycling, simply because it can be gathered from areas that don’t need it and used in areas that do. Systems that recycle rainwater and graywater are becoming commonplace in commercial structures, built in from the start. The water is cleaned and then used for things like irrigation and toilets. The obvious benefit to this is that less drinkable water is needed for a building, and consumption can drop in the neighborhood of 20-30%.

2. Building Orientation

One of the easiest things for builders to take into account is the orientation of the building. This is a passive way to provide energy efficiency and keep people inside the building more comfortable. Simply by choosing the ideal shape of the building and angling it properly, the building can naturally minimize solar exposure. Heritage Place is set up this way, which reduces the load on cooling units throughout the building, so they run more efficiently and last longer, and it also keeps people inside more comfortable, with less effort. You’ll also note that the structure of Heritage Place has multiple jaunts and awnings, which helps minimize solar exposure as well.

3. High-Efficiency Lighting

Nowadays, we all know that the type of bulb used matters. The old incandescent bulbs are energy hogs and need constant replacement. Fluorescent lighting is a better option, but beyond this, LED lighting is the best available right now. The bulbs last seemingly forever and use very little energy, saving money on power, labor, and replacements. Heritage Place took this a step further and included presence detectors, so the lighting only operates when people are active and in a room.

These are three simple things that nearly any builder can do to help create a greener building, without having to spend huge amounts of money to make it happen. Moreover, they save on the costs of maintaining the building, which seriously adds up over time.

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From the Michael Chudi Ejekam Blog: 10 Fastest-Growing African Retailers

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Being involved in commercial real estate and retail investments, Michael Chudi Ejekam is constantly watching the market to see which companies are performing well. While knowing which ones are profitable and are at the top help in knowing where to invest, watching companies as they climb the ladder is essential. This can give you keen insights into which strategies work, as well as what products consumers are demanding. The Michael Chudi Ejekam Blog has gathered information on ten of the fastest-growing companies in Africa’s retail sector, with statistics from Deloitte.

1. Choppies Enterprises Ltd

Headquartered in Botswana, Choppies is the fastest-growing retail company in Africa and also ranks 12 in terms of sales. Their sales jumped up 24.4% during the reporting period.

2. Zambeef Products Plc

Aptly named, Zambeef hails from Zambia and fell just behind Choppies in terms of growth during the same reporting period. An increase of 23% in sales brought the company to 20 on the total revenue list.

3. Mr. Price Group Ltd

The South African clothing and accessories retailer, Mr. Price, gained 15% in sales over the course of the year. This landed them in seventh place in terms of sales.

4. The Foschini Group Ltd

Another South African purveyor of apparel, The Foschini Group, took fourth on the fastest-growing list, with revenue climbing 13.3%, but topped Mr. Price in terms of revenue by one slot.

5. Woolworths

Internationally-known Woolworths took fifth place in both growth and total sales. The clothing company is headquartered in South Africa and grew by 12.7% during the reporting period.

6. Société Magasin Général SA

The only Tunisian company to make the list was Société Magasin Général SA, a general merchandise venue, showing steady gains of 11.3% and earning the 16th slot in terms of sales.

7. The SPAR Group Ltd

Though the SPAR Group of South Africa holds the fourth spot in terms of total sales, it only came in seventh place for growth. However, a comfortable 10.7% increase for such a large company is commendable.

8. Shoprite Holdings Ltd.

Another large South African company, Shoprite, came in eighth place for growth, showing a 10.5% increase. However, it beat out all other companies for sales.

9. Massmart Holdings Ltd

Massmart, headquartered in South Africa, fell just behind Shoprite on both lists; coming in number nine for growth at 9.8% and taking the second spot for sales.

10. Furnmart Ltd

The only home furnishings retailer to make the top ten is Frunmart, with 8.9% growth. The South African company comes in 23rd for overall sales.

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Michael Chudi Ejekam Blog Presents: 5 Largest Retailers in Africa

Michael Chu'di Ejekam, Michael Chudi Ejekam, Michael Ejekam, Michael Chudi Ejekam Commercial Real Estate

As a thought leader in Africa’s retail revolution, Michael Chudi Ejekam constantly has eyes on how businesses throughout the region are doing. This enables him to keep a pulse on the industry and assess opportunities for growth, as well as offer advice to companies he consults, so that they may avoid the same pitfalls other enterprises have made. Like Michael Chudi Ejekam, Deloitte Global also offers insights into global matters for investors, and the group has recently published their findings for the top retailers in Africa. Here’s a look at their top five, as well as some background information on each.

1. Shoprite

Michael Chudi Ejekam’s opinions on Shoprite Holdings Ltd have been covered by the media repeatedly. The powerhouse brand topped the charts by bringing in $9.9 billion during the last reporting period.

2. Massmart

The Wal-Mart subsidiary, Massmart Holdings Ltd, has been in the news lately because it isn’t quite hitting the mark in terms of expected growth, but company officials aren’t worried at all. According to Bloomberg, Chairman Christo Wiese told an audience at the Consumer Goods Forum’s global summit  that businesses need to plan to stay for the long haul before setting up shop in Africa for this reason. CEO Doug McMillon also remains optimistic about the region. “South Africa is a terrific market and it gives you something to work with but our aspirations are for the sub-Saharan African region,” he said. The company hit $7.5 billion during the last reporting period and took second place.

3. Pick n Pay

During the same reporting period, Pick n Pay Stores Ltd reached $6.3 billion. The company recently announced that its profits were up a full 26%, and that it plans to expand. Their revamped strategy for growth includes expansion into Nigeria and opening 175 stores in various formats. The heart of it will be in Nigeria, with 51% of operations being held within the country.

4. The SPAR Group

Eyes have been on the SPAR Group Ltd, as the company has recently been working on expansion outside of Africa. However, Chief Executive Officer Graham O’Connor reassured Bloomberg in an interview, “The Southern African region is still our primary focus — we are seeing good returns in Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique.” The company brought in $5.2 billion and came in fourth place during Deloitte’s research. At the time of the Bloomberg interview, another 5% increase in sales was noted.

5. Woolworths

Recently named “South Africa’s Most Reputable Retailer” and reporting strong gains globally. Woolworths Holdings Ltd easily made its way into the top five. With earnings of $3.8 billion, the company beat out the next in line by more than $2 billion. CEO Ian Moir gives credit to clothing sales in South Africa, which recently jumped up 11.7%.

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Michael Chudi Ejekam Educates Public About Retail Trend Via New YouTube Channel

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Expert retail developer and popular speaker, Michael Chudi Ejekam, releases new YouTube channel to share valuable insights and trends regarding retail development in Nigeria and beyond. Ejekam plans to share videos highlighting various retail establishments. To learn more visit: http://michaelchudiejekamrealestate.com/

New York, NY, United States – June 9, 2016 /PressCable/ —

Michael Chudi Ejekam, expert retail developer, shares his insights on market trends. Now investors or business owners wishing to build retail shopping malls or roll out grocery chains, have access to a new YouTube channel geared to educating about how to navigate the Nigeria market.

To Learn More Visit: http://michaelejekamblog.com/

Challenges in securing land, equity and debt financing challenges, high construction costs and dearth of real estate experience have hampered real estate development in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. Michael Chudi Ejekam, real estate expert, aims to help commercial businesses or potential investors navigate the inconsistencies and confusion regarding real estate developments in and around Nigeria.

“There are sizable challenges to overcome but in many ways Nigeria represents the perfect storm for real estate investment; huge population, rapid urbanization and a growing middle-class,” said Michael Chudi Ejekam, former Director of Real Estate at Actis, a London-based $7.5B private equity firm.

Ejekam aims to share expert insights into the rapid development and expansion in Nigeria to include full cycle retail investment and development: site origination, equity investment, planning approvals, development management, tenant leasing, asset management and exits. Visit the new site now: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRX5rr-8Jkn90JMP1_oZqHw/about

About Michael Chudi Ejekam:

Michael Chudi Ejekam is a renowned leader in the “retail revolution”. He is a widely quoted retail thought leader, with strong local business and government relationships. Michael Chudi Ejekam served as Director Real Estate for W Africa for Actis, a $7.5B private equity firm- most active retail developer in Sub Saharan Africa (ex SA) for 7+ years. Ejekam originated $700+m in retail projects. Projects include $100m Ikeja City Mall Lagos, $120m Jabi Lake Mall Abuja and Accra Mall. Other projects include Heritage Place, Nigeria’s first green certified commercial building. Originated three upcoming Nigeria malls ranging from $150-185M each totaling over 40,000m2 each, which would be largest in the region. Additional information about Michael Chudi Ejekam can be found here: http://michaelchudiejekamrealestate.com/

For more information about us, please visit http://michaelchudiejekamretail.com/

Michael Chudi Ejekam Shares Insights on $1Billion Longer-Life Private Equity

Michael Chudi Ejekam, commercial real estate expert shares his insights on the recent Wall Street Journal article on the Atlas Partners Longer-Life Private Equity Fund which raised one billion dollars.

New York, NY, United States – May 26, 2016 /MarketersMedia/ —

Michael Chudi Ejekam, an expert private equity investor, provides insight on the emergence of longer-life private equity funds such as Altas.

In a recent article printed in the Wall Street Journal by Chris Cummings, it was reported that the emergence of longer-life private equity funds such as Altas recently hit a new benchmark by raising one billion dollars. Altas as well as other powerful groups, such as Blackstone and Carlyle, are working on similar longer-life funds. Longer-life PE funds allow managers to hold each investment for far longer than the typical 5-year hold period per investment and typical 10-year total fund life. In the Altas case, each investment can be held up to a whopping 17 years.

The typical “medium life” PE model has proven to be highly successful with attractive risk-adjusted returns, however, Michael Chudi Ejekam believes the model can be optimized, particularly in emerging market like Africa. “Following my several years of PE investing in sub-Saharan Africa, I am convinced that longer term life funds would be an improvement on the PE model for emerging markets such as Nigeria” Michael Chudi Ejekam explains.

“When a PE fund is compelled to exit after a 5-year hold period, though the returns may achieve certainly attractive 25+% gross IRR or 2.5 to 3 times multiple on equity invested, I believe tremendous additional value may be left on the table.” The expert demonstrated his point by saying, “Originating, executing and investment managing attractive investments is a challenging process – why be forced to sell/exit a highly attractive investment after only 5 years, only to be saddled with pressure to find another outstanding deal to originate to start the process over again?”

Of course, some other models have emerged to address the standard PE model challenges. For example, in the case when an arm of a PE fund family invests in greenfield deals seeking “opportunistic” higher returns, and the completed projects are transferred to “core” vehicles of the same fund family which are seeking lower, more stable, longer term returns. “It could be more powerful and efficient to have one fund vehicle simply hold the investment for the longer term”, said Michael Chudi Ejekam. This is especially important in emerging markets, where the deal process is more challenging and deals could take years to originate and close in the first place. There is also increasing investor interest and PE capital raised for Africa for example, therefore deals have become more competitive and could take years to originate and close. “After so much heavy lifting, why sell after only 5 years?” he asked. “I have been involved in a few highly successful full-cycle investments and exits – though the returns were highly rewarding and the possible carried interest/profit distributions exiting, the reality is that excessive additional upside was surrendered to the new owners.”

Charlie Munger, one of Warren Buffet’s longest serving colleagues is quoted as saying: “The ‘know-nothing’ investor should practice diversification, but it is crazy if you are an expert. The goal of investment is to find situations where it is safe not to diversify. If you only put 20% into the opportunity of a lifetime, you are not being rational.”

“Why sell after only 5 years if you are already enmeshed within a great investment?” Michael Chudi Ejekam continued. “Part of the answer lies in the reality that PE funds need to demonstrate exits/returns to potential Limited Partners (LPs) in order to raise fresh investment funds, and LPs are accustomed to the well-defined and tested cookie-cutter PE “medium life” model.” Of course, there is a desire to exit to realize profits so that carried interest distributions can be made – the perfectly reasonable lifeblood of private equity, from which Ejekam has benefited. Thankfully, there are other acceptable avenues to achieve this objective. According to the finance whiz, longer-life PE funds would be an improvement for for emerging markets such as Africa. He thinks it would be helpful if more potential LPs bought into the concept and support the investment strategies of managers with longer-term views.

Mr. Ejekam offered a few closing remarks. “The most successful entrepreneurs and investors in emerging markets such as Africa, hold longer term views. They do not think in 5-year chunks. They think in terms of decades. This is how to generate outsized returns.”

About Michael Chudi Ejekam

Michael Chudi Ejekam is an honors graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a BSc in Economics, with a concentration in Finance. His early days were spent on Wall Street, as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch, after which he moved into private real estate investments in New York, and then onto work with Nigeria’s Actis. During his seven-year tenure as their Director Real Estate for West Africa, he became known as a leader in the “retail revolution,” helping to bring multiple million-dollar malls into underserved areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information about us, please visit http://michaelejekamblog.com/

Michael Chudi Ejekam Comments on Resilience of Shoprite’s Earnings in Nigeria

Michael Chudi Ejekam, Expert Retail Developer, Comments on Shoprite’s strategy to be successful in Nigeria’s emerging market.

New York, NY, United states – May 3, 2016 /PressCable/ —

Michael Chudi Ejekam, a recognized authority in retail real estate investment, comments on the resilience of Shoprite’s Nigeria earnings despite foreign exchange controls and a sharp drop in crude oil prices. Shoprite is Nigeria’s largest hypermarket by sales volume.

According to the Bloomberg article, derived from Shoprite Holdings half year financial results for the period ending Dec 31st 2015: “Nigeria showed healthy sales growth despite a slump in the price of crude oil and foreign exchange controls”, Basson said.

The retailer plans to open six Nigerian stores by December, adding to the 16 currently trading, and will also set up a distribution center in Lagos in the next couple of months to improve product availability. The Nigerian government depends on crude oil for over 70% of its revenues and over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings – therefore; the steep drop in crude oil prices had dealt a major blow to the country’s foreign reserves and had put the Naira under great pressure versus the U.S. dollar.

As Michael Chudi Ejekam explains, “as a countermeasure, beginning in June 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a ban on the ability to access foreign exchange via the official exchange rate to purchase 41 items. The CBN also introduced other measures to essentially ration foreign reserves, making it more difficult for many businesses in Nigeria to secure U.S. Dollars to import key inputs. Many retailers, especially those that were import-dependent were hit hard, and have had challenges securing the Dollars to replenish their stock. Further, the sharp drop in the parallel market Naira exchange rate, meant that certain retailers effective dollar revenues from Nigeria sales would be reduced, with many being compelled to raise their prices materially. Shoprite on the other hand, secures 76% of the items that it sells in Nigeria from local suppliers, of which 38% are manufactured locally. Therefore, Shoprite’s results have been relatively insulated from the foreign exchange shocks and Shoprite avoided material price increases. The resulting earnings, demonstrate that Shoprite’s business model is smart and defensive and well suited for an emerging market like Nigeria. Other retailers should pay close attention…and learn!”

About Michael Chudi Ejekam

Michael Chudi Ejekam is a renowned leader in the “retail revolution”. He is a widely quoted retail thought leader, with strong local business and government relationships. Michael Chudi Ejekam served as Director Real Estate for W Africa for Actis, a $7.5 B private equity firm- most active retail developer in Sub-Saharan Africa (ex SA) for 7+ years. Ejekam originated $700+M in retail projects. Projects include $100MIkeja City Mall Lagos, $120M Jabi Lake Mall Abuja and Accra Mall. Other projects include Heritage Place, Nigeria’s first green certified commercial building. Originated three upcoming Nigeria malls ranging from $150-185M each totaling over 40,000m2 each, which would be largest in the region.

Michael Chudi Ejekam started his career on Wall Street, as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York.

He graduated with Honors from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with BSc in Economics with a Concentration in Finance. He received the Howard E Mitchell Award for academic excellence and extracurricular contributions. Learn more about Michael Chudi Ejekam here.

For more information about us, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-chu-di-ejekam-9928307

Michael Chudi Ejekam, Retail Developer, Extols Future of Pick N Pay in Nigeria

Expert retail developer, Michael Chudi Ejekam, praises the possibility of Pick N Pay and the future of the retail market in Nigeria and Sub Saharan Africa.

New York, NY, United States – April 28, 2016 /PressCable/ —

Michael Chudi Ejekam, a recognized authority in retail real estate development, discusses a recent article about the planned entry of a major grocery chain into Nigeria and the problems faced by prior attempts by other retailers.

Ejekam says, “Though some retailers have struggled and exited the Nigeria market, those with the appropriate business models can survive and thrive. In many respects, Nigeria represents the perfect storm for retail as well as real estate investment; Large and growing population of 180 million, burgeoning middle class, rapid urbanization, high growth in household consumption. The same positive trend applies to many markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria’s population is forecast to grow to 400 million population by 2050 in a land mass about 30% larger than the US state of Texas.”

Nigeria is the largest retail market in Africa with nearly $200 Billion annual total retail sales forecast for 2016. Only 5% of groceries sales, for example, is via formal retail channels. Kenya, in contrast, has 30% formal penetration.

Ejekam continued to say, “Despite huge demand versus supply imbalance for Nigeria retail; retailers struggle to scale. Retail scalability is limited due to challenges in securing land, high construction costs, difficulty in securing equity and debt financing, high rental rates, the dearth of development expertise, limited pool of tenants with appropriate business models for the country”.

The impact of the underdevelopment of retail is felt by the general population. High food prices is a major problem: Approximately 60% of Nigerian household expenditure is devoted to food consumed at home vs. 6.5% in the USA.

Nigeria is merely at the first step of retail growth (development, leading to the next stage of acceleration and then consolidation thereafter). Despite the short-term challenges in the Nigeria market including currency, retailers entering or operating with the correct business models will reap the rewards for decades to come.

About Michael Chudi Ejekam

Michael Chudi Ejekam is a renowned leader in the “retail revolution”. He is a widely quoted retail thought leader, with strong local business and government relationships. Michael Chudi Ejekam served as Director Real Estate for W Africa for Actis, a $7.5 Billion private equity firm- most active retail developer in Sub-Saharan Africa (ex SA) for 7+ years. Ejekam originated $700+ Million in retail projects. Projects include $100 Million Ikeja City Mall Lagos, $120 Million Jabi Lake Mall Abuja and Accra Mall. Other projects include Heritage Place, Nigeria’s first green certified commercial building. Originated three upcoming Nigeria malls ranging from $150-185 Million each totaling over 40,000m2 each, which would be largest in the region. Michael Chudi Ejekam started his career on Wall Street, as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York.

He graduated with Honors from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with BSc in Economics with a Concentration in Finance. He received the Howard E Mitchell Award for academic excellence and extracurricular contributions. Learn more about Michael Chudi Ejekam here.

For more information about us, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-chu-di-ejekam-9928307