Femi Otedola Set To Sell Forte Oil

Femi Otedola, Nigerian billionaire businessman, will be selling his 75 per cent direct and indirect shareholdings in Forte Oil.

This revelation was made In a statement the Nigerian Stock Exchange, published on it website.

Mr. Akinleye Olagbende, the counsel general of the company made the signed statement available to reporters.

The statement entitled ‘notification of divestment by the majority shareholder in the downstream business operations,’ reads, “Forte Oil Plc hereby notifies the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission, Shareholders and the investing community that its Majority Shareholder, Mr. Femi Otedola, CON has reached an agreement with the Prudent Energy team, investing through Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited, to divest of his full 75% direct and indirect shareholding in the Company’s downstream business.

“Mr. Otedola’s divestment from the downstream business is pursuant to his decision to explore and maximise business opportunities in refining and petrochemicals.

“The transaction is expected to close in the First Quarter (Q l ) of 2019 subject to the satisfaction of various conditions and receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

“Standard Chartered Bank, Corporate Finance & Advisory, Dubai and Olaniwun Ajayi LP served as Financial and Legal advisors respectively to Mr. Femi Otedola, CON, while PricewaterhouseCoopers and Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited served as Joint Financial Advisors and Sefton Fross served as legal advisor to Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited.

“This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of the ordinary shares or any other securities, nor will there be any sale of the ordinary shares or any other securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale is not permitted.”

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Yacht, private jet owners to pay luxury taxes from 2019 – Zainab Ahmed

The minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said that says owners of yachts and private jets will be taxed on these luxury items in 2019.

The Minister, while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, revealed that taxes will be reduced for small and medium, enterprises, while excise duties would be introduced in some areas.

We are exploring the way to increase taxes as well as reduce taxes in some sectors. For Small and Medium Enterprises, what will happen is to reduce taxes. But there are some special taxes that we will be looking at imposing,” she said.

For example, luxury taxes. If you have a private jet, we will be taxing you specially for that. If you have a yacht, we will be charging you for that and also in terms of excise duties, there are also some new areas where excise duties will be introduced.

“We haven’t got all the approvals but one of the major areas might be that of carbonated drinks produced in the country.”

According to Ahmed, the Whistleblower Unit has recovered over N8.5 billion and $465 million among others from the 1,051 investigations conducted from tips received.

“Based on verification outcome by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), we have also paid over 2,000 former workers of our defunct national carrier- Nigeria Airways Limited,” she said.

Experts identify factors that will shape 2019 stock market

 

stock-exchange

Financial experts have identified outcome of general elections, direction of monetary policy and United States-China trade tension as factors that will shape the country’s stock market in 2019.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews yesterday in Lagos that stock market performance in 2019 would be shaped by both external and internal factors.

Prof. Uche Uwaleke, Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said that U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy as well as the ability of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies to regulate oil prices would shape stock market performance in 2019.

Uwaleke added that political tension and outcome of the elections in Nigeria, the fate of the 2019 budget and direction of monetary policy would determine stock market performance.

Chartered stockbroker and chief executive officer of Sofunix Investment and Communications, Mr. Sola Oni, attributed the lacklustre performance of the stock market this year to illiquidity in the system.

Oni explained that massive share dumping by nervous portfolio investors and their Nigerian counterparts who were apprehensive of likely crisis during 2019 general elections contributed to the market lull.

“This is reinforced by unguarded utterances of the political class,” he added.

According to him, the outcome of the next general elections and ability of government to tackle the economic challenges, especially investment in infrastructure, will shape the stock market next year.

Effective management of fiscal and monetary policies and creation of sustainable conducive business environment, among others, are expected to shape activities in the stock market, he asserted.

“However, there are investments that thrive during recession. Hence, investors should take advantage of professional advice from stockbrokers and other investment advisers who keep tabs on investment opportunities,” he advised.

How intrigues, lapses, losses caused Diamond Bank’s fall

Uzoma Dozie, Group Chief Executive of Diamond Bank Plc

A persistent breach of governance rules, particularly manifested in avoidable exposure to the oil sector, leading to huge Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), and board disharmony, resulting in wrong decisions, brought Diamond Bank to its knees.

Besides, a recurring insistence to take final decisions on some issues of importance, rooted in “ownership” mentality, irrespective of assessed consequences, aggravated board politics and hastened the company’s collapse.

The sudden fall of the retail banking giant, with N1.55 trillion total assets as at September 2018 and lost value in share price now at N1.37, from N7 in about five years ago, alongside its offshore operations, surely attests to failed decisions and consequences of poor corporate governance.

For the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, the “merger” with Diamond Bank and its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, “will accelerate our ambition to become a leading corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion.

“This is a huge step towards the delivery of our goal to bring the power of banking to millions of people across Nigeria and an exciting transaction for Access Bank and Diamond Bank’s customers, staff and shareholders.”

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie, agreed that giving up the bank’s independence now for a merger was in the best interest of all stakeholders – employees, customers, depositors and shareholders – a tacit admission of frailty.

“Diamond Bank would be absorbed into Access Bank and it will cease to exist under Nigerian law. The current listing of Diamond Bank’s shares on the NSE and the listing of Diamond Bank’s global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange will be cancelled, upon the merger becoming effective,” the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Uzoma Uja, added.

The ongoing merger, which would involve Access Bank’s acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in a combined exchange for cash and shares, has completely put matters to rest that the digital and mobile-led retail banking giant is taken over.

But it would first, write off the full year 2018 impairment charges for Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) on more than N700 billion loan book, ahead of the completion of the merger deal with Access Bank.

The retail giant is currently trading away its independence together with 19 million customer-base, made up of 10 million mobile users; 7,000 digital and financial inclusion customers; 277- branch network; and 10.2 million credit/debit cards issued so far.

The bank’s management, according to its financial statement, acted in defiance of prudential guidelines, traded away an advantage position of cheap cost of funds averaging 4.3 per cent and sustained ill-advised lending, which left the financial institution nurturing an NPL of 12.6 per cent, against five per cent industry benchmark, with attendant high impairment charges.

Specifically, the huge NPL predisposed the bank to a yearly impairment charges of more than N25 billion, which particularly left its 2018 nine-month profit after tax at less than N3billion, as loans and advances to banks and customers peaked at N749.3 billion.

Worrisome too is that the bank’s shareholders’ fund at N221.6 billion is subjected to a total liability of N1.33 trillion, translating to N1 equity contribution for every N6 obligation, together with about four years without dividend.

Cadbury rewards 30 employees for long service

Cadbury Nigeria Plc has celebrated some of its employees that served the Company meritoriously for 10, 20 and 30 years, during its Long Service Awards ceremony.The Director, Corporate and Government Affairs, West Africa, Bala Yesufu, said in a statement that Cadbury rewarded 30 employees for their length of service to the organisation.

Giving a breakdown of this figure, Yesufu disclosed that 18 of the awardees are in the 10 years category, while nine awardees fall under the 20 years category. The last category of 30 years, consists of three awardees. He added that 11 out of the 18 awardees in the 10 years category are staff of the Company’s Ondo Plant.

“The awardees, who have been part our lives, have contributed in no small measure to the growth of the business over the years. Cadbury will continue to celebrate its employees for their commitment and loyalty to the organisation.”

The Human Resource Director, Tope-Phillips Aikhuemelo, congratulated the awardees on the various milestones they have attained in the Company.He charged them not to rest on their oars but to see their recognition as a challenge to raise the bar in terms of service delivery to the organisation.

Meanwhile, Cadbury won several awards in the outgoing year for its commitment to workplace safety and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The Company’s Ondo Plant received an award for its Excellent Safety Culture, under the Safe Workplace Intervention Project (SWIP) of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA). Cadbury’s Ikeja Plant won a similar award in 2013.Cadbury also received an award for its commendable CSR, at the 2018 Annual Compliance and Green Awards ceremony, organised by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).

Similarly, TomTom, the candy brand from Cadbury, won the ‘Best Digital Campaign in Nigeria, for 2018,’ at the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) Awards for Marketing Excellence in Lagos. As part of the Company’s repositioning drive, it has invested a lot in its human capital, pioneered some innovation in the industry, and acquired new world-class technology, to enable it to maintain its winning streak.

Cadbury is currently executing a three-year community partnership, in collaboration with Helen Keller International (HKI), to promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyle, for over 6,000 children in nine public primary schools within its host community in Lagos. Various stakeholders have lauded the initiative, which they noted will cause positive behavioural change among children and their parents.

‘Nigeria is the only producer of high-voltage cables in West Africa’

In the whole of West Africa, Nigeria is the only producer of high-voltage cables and the sixth country to adopt the technology in the Africa.The Managing Director, Coleman Wires and Cables Limited, George Onafowokan, said this in an interview on Wednesday.He attributed its growth in the sector to many factors, including: strategic planning, commitment, perseverance, training, skilled workforce, Nigerian Content Act and support of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

Onafowokan said: “Nigeria is now a one-stop-shop that produces a wide range of cables such as make house wire cables, distribution cables, armoured and non-armoured cables, communication cables, control cables, solar cables and high voltage cables, thus making us the only producers of high voltage cables in West Africa. We also produce high voltage cables, thus making Nigeria the 6th country in the continent to do so”.

He said the industry had grown and will continue to grow from one level to another, apparently because operators believe in long term and strategic planning, adding: “What we’ve achieved was all in duration of less than 20 years.

“For me, one of the major driving forces has been ourselves and the team. For me, as a team lead, I am one that believes in the Nigerian dream; one that believes that we should not sell imported cables. So, Coleman has a standard rule, it does not sell any cable it cannot produce.

“We are highly committed to them. Already, many people and organisations have commended us for such commitment. Our emphasis has always been on training Nigerians to take over, believing that Nigerians have the ability to play even technical roles that we think we can’t. So, it’s all about training, and capacity building.”

Onafowokan, who acknowledged the roles of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB said: “We got financial support from the Bank of Industry (BoI). It has been a great impact on our development.

“Without the BoI, we would not have grown to the extent that we have because if you depend solely on the commercial banks, you will not make much progress because they charge very high interest rates. In fact, the interest rates will kill you because even if a commercial bank gives you a five-year loan, charging you 25 per cent per annum, you’ll pay more than double the money by the time you finish paying.”

He said: “The NCDMB has extremely impacted the industry within a short period of time. Specifically, the industry has gone from one level to ten levels in the past two years. Some of the projects we have done were driven by the Local Content Act of 2010. We were encouraged to go into the high-voltage cable production and currently planning to go into EPR Rubber cable production.

“For the oil and gas industry, it would do something we have never done before. Take the case of Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) platform for example. It was a game changer for us because we only produced about three per cent of the cables used. But this rubber insulated and sheathed cable factory would produce 100 per cent of the cables of the FPSO in Nigeria as well as other oil and gas refineries projects like the NLNG Train 7.

“In addition the cables are also used in the marine vessels and in the mining industry. We also look forward to taking part in many other projects in the oil and gas industry.”

INEC registers 14.5m new voters ahead of 2019 election


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has placed the total number of newly registered voters as 14,551,482 ahead of the 2019 general election.The Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu made the announcement during the Commission’s third quarterly consultative meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at INEC’s Headquarters, Abuja.

“At the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832,” Yakubu said.

“The Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law,” he added.

The INEC Chairman further stated that the figure may reduce after the Commission filters the register to rid it of multiple registrations with the current figure representing about 21 per cent increase on the existing register.

Yakubu also disclosed that INEC has printed a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to States for collection.

While the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have also been printed and will be delivered to the States in the coming week.

He added that as part of its efforts aimed at ensuring that citizens got their PVCs with minimum inconveniences, INEC has collaborated with the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) to send bulk SMS to citizens for the collection of their PVCs.

The commission chairman also talked on the issue of vote buying during elections and other election malpractices, Yakubu assures total preparation of the body to curb such illicit acts as elections approach.

“We are working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote-buying and other sundry electoral malpractices. We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials. We are discussing with the security agencies on a more vigorous enforcement of the law against voter-inducement. Furthermore, we are working with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders on voter education and sensitization,” he stated.

Yakubu, therefore, assures the people of Osun that will be having their governorship elections in September 22nd, that their votes only will count and the commision will not give room for any malpractices.

The CVR exercise, which began on 27th April 2017 was suspended on 31st August.