Inside sources at India’s largest telecoms operator, Bharti Airtel has revealed the reason the telco withdrew from submitting a bid before the deadline for the sale of debt-ridden 9mobile.
According to the source,
- Bharti Airtel does not see much value in buying debt-laden Nigerian rival 9mobile and withdrew from submitting a firm bid before the deadline.
- Airtel did not have sufficient information to make an informed bid but added that privately-held Nigerian telecoms firm Globacom had submitted a financial bid.
Events leading to the sale of 9mobile
It would be recalled that Etisalat Nigeria, (now 9mobile) took out a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from a group of 13 local banks in 2013. The default led to parent company Etisalat of the UAE pulling out, forcing its lenders to step in. The Central Bank of Nigeria then intervened to stop creditors from putting it into receivership, leading to a change in its board and management, as well as its new company name.
Series of Controversy
The sale process of the telecommunications firm has been chequered from the very start. First was the alleged dissatisfaction of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with certain aspects of the sales process. This was followed by the alleged withdrawal of Barclays Africa, as advisers to the process. This was then vehemently denied by the advisers.Submission of final bids was due to have closed in December last year but was extended following a request by 9Mobile’s board.
Spectrum wireless recently obtained a court order declaring the interim board of 9Mobile illegal. The company also claimed to have invested in EMTS, the indigenous investor in the defunct Etisalat Nigeria. The action could thus render the transaction process initiated by the board in jeopardy.
The eventual winner of the bid process would have to contend with a court order obtained by Spectrum Wireless, which declared 9Mobile’s interim board void. The consortia of banks that are essentially in charge of the telco, may be unwilling to take further provisions on the loan. Some of the lenders such as Access Bank and UBA have already made a 30% provision on the loan granted to 9Mobile.
Ecobank Transnational appoints Alain Nkontchou as new Chairman
“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.”
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has announced the appointment of Alain Nkontchou as its new Chairman of the board of directors.
Nkontchou, who is Camerounian by nationality, has been serving as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the pan-African banking group since 2015. A statement made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) confirmed that his latest appointment took effect on June 30, 2020.
The Camerounian is taking over from Nigeria’s Emmanuel Ikazoboh, whose six-year tenure as Chairman of Ecobank’s holding company ended last month, even as he just reached the retirement age of 70. The company also noted that the new appointment is in tandem with its Articles of Association.
While reacting to his own appointment as Chairman, Alain Nkontchou said he is quite honoured and that he was looking forward to working with the rest of the board members.
“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. Having served on its Board since 2015, I have seen Ecobank’s resilience and its proud history, built on strong foundation to secure the Bank’s future success. I look forward to working with the Board and Executive team as we continue our journey ahead and I know that we are well-placed to navigate through the current environment and set the standards in financial services for our customers across Africa. I would also like to express my thanks to my predecessor, Mr Emmanuel Ikazoboh, for his leadership of the Board and to wish him all the best for the future,” he said.
Alain Nkontchou co-founded Enko Capital Management LLP, a London-based asset management company with Johannesburg office. He currently serves as the Managing Partner and of the firm which specialises in prospecting investment opportunities in Africa.
Prior to this time, ETI’s newly-appointed Chairman was a Non-Executive Director at Laurent Perrier champagne between 1999 and 2009. He was also the Managing Director of Credit Suisse’s Global Macro Trading from 1995 to 2008. He held a similar role at JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Meanwhile, from 1989 to 1994, Nkontchou worked with Chemical Bank first in Paris and then New York. At the bank, he rose through the ranks to become the Vice- President, Head of Trading, and Sales. Apparently, he is an accomplished business executive.
Alain Nkontchou obtained an MSc in Electrical Engineering from Supélec and P.M. Curie University, Paris, and another MSc in Finance and Accounting from ESCP (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris).
It should be noted that ETI’s stock closed yesterday’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a share price of N4.80. The share price gained by +1.05% to appreciate from its previous close of N4.75. Year to date, ETI’s share price has declined by about 22%.
Nigeria’s public debt is officially N29.83 trillion
Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external.
The total public debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeria, states within the Nigerian federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) jumped to N28.63 trillion as of Q1 2020. This is according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which was released on Friday.
A breakdown of the report showed that the total debt stock of the states as of 31 March 2020 is N4.1 trillion. Meanwhile, these states’ total Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2019 was N1.3 trillion. They also received N2.47 trillion from FAAC.
Note that as always, Lagos State recorded the highest IGR at N398.7 billion. The state also received N117.8 billion in FAAC disbursements and has a total debt stock of N444.2 billion, thereby making up 10.8% of the total debt stock of the states.
On the other hand, Yobe State recorded the lowest debt stock out of all the states with just N29.2 billion. This made up just 0.7% of the total debt stock of the states. Meanwhile, the state generated a total IGR of N8.4 billion in 2019.
Part of the report by the NBS said:
“Nigerian States and Federal Debt Stock data as at 31st March 2020 reflected that the country’s total public debt portfolio stood at N28.63trn. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external while N18.64trn or 65.11% of the debt was domestic.
“Similarly, States and FCT domestic debt was put at N4.11trillion with Lagos state accounting for 10.8% of the total domestic debt stock while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.7%.”
— Dr Yemi Kale (@sgyemikale) July 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the FCT had total debt of N106.8 billion, making up 2.6% of the total debt stock of the states. The FCT also recorded an IGR of N74.5 billion in 2019 and received N71.9 billion in FAAC.
The Federal Government’s total domestic debt stock by Q1, 2020 was N14.5 trillion, with FGN bonds making up 72.5% of the total portfolio followed by treasury bills at 18.24%.
The total public debt stock has risen by 4% since December 2019, as the previous figure stood at N27.4 trillion.
You may download NBS’ Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt report by clicking here.
COVID-19: WHO reverses itself based on new discovery about the virus
This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided an update on the modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from infected people, based on new scientific evidence.
The WHO on Thursday, formally recognized that the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air, marking a reversal for the United Nation’s agency.
In a scientific brief, the WHO said that people who spend time in crowded places with poor ventilation are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.
This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts who have been putting pressure on the UN health agency to update its description of the spread of the virus to include the possibility of airborne infections.
The WHO now admits that transmissions through aerosols, or tiny air droplets, could have been behind outbreaks of COVID-19 that have been reported in some closed environments such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking or singing.
Apart from refraining from having close contact with infected people and frequent hand-washing, the WHO pointed out that people should avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
However, the WHO still focuses more on the spread of the virus by larger droplets that are discharged through coughing, sneezing and singing or from contact with a contaminated surface.
The WHO in its statement said, “Respiratory droplet transmission can occur when a person is in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or sneezing) or who is talking or singing; in these circumstances, respiratory droplets that include virus can reach the mouth, nose or eyes of a susceptible person and can result in infection.”
It also revealed that based on what is currently known, the transmission of COVID-19 primarily occurs from people when they have symptoms and can also occur just before they develop symptoms when they are in close proximity to others for prolonged periods of time. While someone who never develops symptoms can also pass the virus to others, it is still not clear to what extent this occurs and more research is needed in this area.
The UN health agency had previously advised that the spread of the virus through the air is only common when people, mostly health care workers, were involved in medical procedures that produced aerosols, though a lot of evidence has surfaced suggesting that the virus can stay in the air for hours and infect a person when inhaled.