Beleaguered Japaul Oil & Gas released its 2017 Audited accounts reporting a loss after tax of N13.2 billion (2016 FY: N22 billion). Japaul was recently embroiled in a controversial investment bid by Milost Global, which appears to have fallen through following a Businessday Expose.
The result balloons Japaul’s negative equity to N28.1 billion up from N19 billion reported in 2016. Japaul has been technically solvent since 2016 surviving only on Bank borrowings and trade creditors. Japaul’s negative reserve is now at a near insurmountable N49 billion
The company’s revenues are so bad, it cannot even cover its cost of sales leaving it with a negative gross loss. This perhaps suggests most of the IOC’s no longer give it business shutting the company out from covering its fixed costs.
Japauls Many Problems
Just like they did last year, the auditors of the company questioned the going concern status of Japaul reporting that “a matter of uncertainty exist which may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
According to a report of its auditors, Japaul currently owes total indebtedness of about N46.4 billion and a scary gearing ratio 185:1!!
Japaul is basically surviving on credit and at the mercy of International Oil Companies which it has contracts with. It is however surprising that some of these companies still do business with Japaul despite its poor financial health.
Japaul’s revenue also fell from N3 billion in 2016 to N1.9 billion in 2017. Its losses may have been worse if not for a N12 billion reduction in operating expenses. This did not stop Japaul from posting losses on all of its business segments. Dredging Services (N6.2 billion), Off-shore services (N4.2 billion) led the losses.
Japaul has now reported losses every year since 2014. Combined losses for the years is about N46 billion.
Banks on the hook
Diamond Bank and Access Bank are on the hook for a combined N47.4 billion in external loans to the company. Diamond Bank owns about N33.2 billion of the loans to Japaul. See details as reported in the annual report;
The possibility of the banks recovering these loans is unlikely perhaps indicative that the banks may have taken full provisions of the loans.
Escape route shut
Japaul most likely relied on the investment of Milost Global as an escape route for its myriad of financial challenges. With the deal on the brink of being dead, time is running out on a possible solution. A bailout of the company is also unlikely as it is not considered too big to fail.
Japaul has fixed assets with a book value of N30.4 billion mostly made up of Land and Building (N6.4 billion ) and Marine Equipment (N20.3 billion). If sold, the assets could help reduce its liabilities but may not be enough to bail the shareholders.
Ironically, Japaul’s share price gained 7.55% on Wednesday, closing at 57 kobo per share. It is important to note that volume of trade on the day was 7.4 million units with a combined value of just N4.2 million. This is Japaul’s 3rd straight day of gains after posting losses for 5 consecutive days.