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Business News

Shell faces Dutch prosecution over Nigeria license

Netherlands’ Public Prosecutor’s office has informed Royal Dutch Shell Plc of its intention to prosecute the oil company over a license in Nigeria, which has resulted into series of prosecution in two other countries.

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Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo, Bonga, Oilfield, Bidders, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Malabu oil, Dutch prosecutors, Italy London court

Netherlands’ Public Prosecutor’s office has informed Royal Dutch Shell Plc of its intention to prosecute the oil company over a license in Nigeria, which has resulted into series of prosecution in two other countries.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc made the disclosure of the trial public on Friday. The case by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office is related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over Oil Prospecting License 245 in the Gulf of Guinea.

“We have been informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office that they are nearing the conclusion of their investigation and are preparing to prosecute,” The Hague-based Shell said Friday.

Though, Shell and Eni have previously denied any wrongdoing in the OPL 245 case. They have said they paid into a legitimate government account to settle legal claims related to the block.

The license with a trail of trials

Shell has been dogged by legal action from the transaction for years, with prosecutors in Italy alleging that the 2011 deal was tainted by corruption. This is a separate criminal trial in Milan.

It was alleged that at least part of a $1.1 billion payment Shell and partner Eni SpA made to settle charges around the license was converted into bribes. The trial in Milan started in June last year, with the court already procuring two guilty verdicts against defendants opting for “fast-track” proceedings.

Nigeria is also suing the oil companies in London.

Italy case claim

In the case filed by Italian prosecutors, the main claim is that the companies improperly settled long-standing disputes over the OPL 245 license. The permit had originally been awarded in 1998 by Nigeria’s military dictator, Sani Abacha, to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd., a Lagos-based company connected to then-Petroleum Minister Dan Etete. Under successive governments, the license was canceled, awarded to Shell, and then awarded to Malabu again before the 2011 deal.

The Milan prosecutors allege that Shell and Eni paid almost $1.1 billion into an escrow account for the Nigerian government, from which about $800 million was later transferred to Malabu to be distributed as payoffs.

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Effect of trials on Shell’s shares

With the risk of financial penalties for Shell resulting from additional trial, Shell’s B shares in London rose slightly at the start of trading on Friday, as the news didn’t worry investors. But note that additional trial will bring the details of Shell’s work in Nigeria into focus for its shareholder base in the Netherlands.

It was learnt that Shareholders with tight environmental, social and governance restrictions are likely to be well aware of the scrutiny over Shell’s Nigeria activities.

Meanwhile, an analyst at Jefferies LLC, Jason Gammel said the investing community is not concerned as such topic doesn’t come up during discussion with investors.

“There is a small segment of the investing community that is concerned with it, but for the most part when I meet with investors it doesn’t come up,” said Jason Gammel, an analyst at Jefferies LLC. This license already “doesn’t generate any profit.”

According to a Bloomberg report, Gammel said he doesn’t include the OPL 245 license when considering Shell’s future cash flows, and investors are more concerned with things that can affect near-term profit. The company could face fines in multiple jurisdictions, but those are likely to be easily absorbed by Shell’s large size.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Sports

Cristiano Ronaldo: The billionaire businessman you probably don’t know about

The mercurial Portuguese sets the bar for other professional footballers when it comes to making money off the pitch.

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Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19

When you hear the name Cristiano Ronaldo, what probably comes to your mind is the image of the exceptionally talented, handsome, and successful football player that has taken the term “world-class” to another pedestal.

Records upon records have been broken by this 36-year old, and the best part is that it seems he is not stopping anytime soon. However, there is more to football when it comes to the Portuguese. He is an avid businessman.

Yes, you heard that right. Ronaldo recently became the first footballer, and only the third sportsperson, after Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather Jnr., to hit the $1bn mark in terms of earnings. He cost over a $100m while swapping Real Madrid for Juventus back in 2018, while he will also earn close to $140m, if he stays for the entirety of his 4-year contract.  While his on-pitch successes have brought him a lot of fortune, he has made more off it.

He is 36 now, which means he is closer to the end of his career, and while many players opt to go towards the football line after their playing days are over, Ronaldo has consistently stated that he doesn’t see himself in football after he retires.

Since he clocked 30 years old back in 2015, he has been actively pursuing business opportunities that would continue to fetch him money even after he hangs up his boots.

This article highlights 4 ways in which the mercurial Portuguese has set the bar for other professional footballers when it comes to making money off the pitch.

The name of the game is endorsement

Ronaldo has been able to milk his public persona to good and effective use. He is adored by millions of fans all over the world for his consistency, excellence and longevity. These attributes make him the perfect fit for tons of businesses who jostle for his signature to be their brand ambassadors. His deal with Nike will see him earn at least $19m a year until he is 73 years old. He also has sponsorship deal with Herbalife, KFC, Castrol, and Samsung.

He has been able to leverage the sheer numbers of his followers across different social media platforms. He has 91m followers on Twitter, approximately 125m follow him on Facebook, while a whopping 266m people follow him on Instagram. A combined fan base of 482m means that he commands a high price for endorsements, as brands would pay over the odds to see him promote their goods and services.

Partnerships all the way

For all his success on the pitch, Ronaldo has astute business sense. In 2019, while speaking about his partnership with Insparya, a haircare group, Ronaldo said, “Alopecia is a very big problem in Europe and around the world and we want to help people improve their self-esteem and not be ashamed to come to us. This project is going to be a success, as we want to help the Spaniards and the Spanish economy.”

Ronaldo also has interests in the hospitality industry through his partnership with the Pestana Hotel Group. There are currently five hotels: one each in Lisbon and Madeira, his hometown while finishing touches are being put in place for three locations in New York, Madrid and Marrakech. CR7 Pestana Paris will also open in 2021, with the Portuguese looking at more premium locations to further establish his brand.

Varied Investment Portfolio

He also has a stake in Grupo Mabel Capital alongside Spanish celebrities such as Pau Gasol, Rafa Nadal and Enrique Iglesias. Grupo own the chain of restaurants called Tatel, which has presence in Madrid, Miami and famous resort and holiday town, Ibiza. He has also invested in Zela Restaurants, which has outlets in both London and Ibiza.

Ronaldo’s investments surely won’t seem right if he doesn’t own or run a fitness line. His determination to excel in his career has seen him reach unbelievable levels of fitness. His match recovery regimen and nutrition is well-known, which has seen him score an astonishing 300 goals since turning 30. In 2016, he agreed a partnership with Crunch Fitness, with two CR7 Crunch Gyms still running in Madrid.

He also has a creative agency named 7EGEND, whose credo, according to their website, is to “create innovative solutions and experiences, through the best thinking, strategy, design and engineering”. 7EGEND designed the websites for Valencia FC as well as the store for the Portuguese national team.

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Multiple businesses

CR7, as he is fondly called has well-known businesses and investments in fashion, namely high-end underwear and luxurious fragrances. His underwear line, CR7 underwear sell briefs, trunks, socks for men and boys. He also has a footwear brand that deals with a diverse product range including boots, slippers, casuals, as well as belts, wallets and bags.

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Ronaldo does fragrances too. He is actively involved in the ideation, design, branding, as well as production of the different fragrances, selling other products such as aftershaves, shower gels, deodorants, as well as other men’s grooming products. There is also the CR7 Museu, a museum in his native Madeira. It showcases over 100 trophies and medals he has won in his prestigious career till date.

One Last Thing…

Ronaldo has earned praise for his remarkable 19-year football career but even more, praise should go his way for the way he has been able to manage himself off-pitch, which means that if he decides to retire today, he has his pick of what could be the next career for him. An astute businessman indeed.

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Written by Ademola Kadiri

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Sports

Manchester United announces Q2 2021 financial results, as net debt increases to £455.5m

According to Manchester United’s second-quarter financial results,.net debt grew to £455.5 million, an increase of £64.2 million.

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English top-flight club, Manchester United’s net debt has increased to £455.5m, a £64.2m (16.4%) increase compared to last year as the club reveals its latest reports for the second quarter of fiscal 2021.

The English club also revealed an operating profit of £48.5m a positive increment of £12m (32.9%) compared to that of last year as the top-flight club continue to adjust and adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Old Trafford Stadium, Museum and Stadium Tour operations remain closed and also the Old Trafford based Megastore was closed on 31 December 2020 and remains closed due to the pandemic.

Key highlights include:

  • The club posted a total revenue of £172.8m, a profit of £4.4m (2.6%) compared to the £168.4m made at the same period last year.
  • United’s commercial revenue for the quarter was £62.6m with a drop of £8.0m (11.3%) compared to that of last year.
  • Sponsorship revenue was also down to £37.8m, a decrease of £7.3m (16.2%) compared to that of last year.
  • Retail, Merchandising, Apparel & Product Licensing revenue also dipped to £24.8 million, a decrease of £0.7 million, (2.7%) compared to that of last year.
  • Broadcasting revenue for the quarter was £108.7m which is an increase of £44.0m (68%) compared to the £64.7m made at the same period last year.
  • The revenue increase this quarter due to the participation of United in the UEFA Champions League compared to last year when they were in the Europa League.
  • United ended the quarter with net debt of £455.5m, an increase of £64.2m (16.4%) compared to a net debt of £391.3m last year.

Unsurprisingly, due to the effect of the pandemic, fans are restricted from entering the attending matches, matchday revenue fell drastically from £33.1m to £1.5m, a dip of £31.6m (95.5%) due to all matches being played behind closed doors compared to last year where nine home games were played with fans in attendance. However, the UK is expected to ease down lockdown measures in May which might see a return of fans to attend matches.

What they are saying

Manchester United Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward said the following in the financial report:

  • “As we approach a full year since our last game with fans at Old Trafford, we reflect on an extraordinarily challenging 12 months for football and society as a whole. The rapid rollout of vaccines in the UK and beyond gives us confidence that we are now on a path towards normality, including the return of fansto stadia. While the disruption to our operations remains significant, we are pleased by the tremendous resilience the club has demonstrated through the pandemic, underpinned by the dedication of our people and the strength of our commercial business. We have been reminded of the importance of football as a source of community, entertainment and pride to fans around the world, even as we have sorely missed them at Old Trafford. The progress made by Ole and the players this season is clear and our thriving Academy and Women’s team are also adding to the optimism we feel about the future on and off the pitch.”

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