On Friday, Ellah Lakes Plc announced the acquisition of Telluria Limited, a development that brought a major change in the Management of the former. However, Nairametrics can confirm that even though Ellah Lakes Plc made the acquisition, Telluria Limited actually owns the company.
The announcement of the acquisition on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) came as a surprise to many. This is because a company in distress is usually the one that gets acquired, and Ellah Lakes Plc had been posting losses prior to the deal. Therefore, the question on most people’s lips was – how could a (hitherto) struggling company like Ellah Lakes have acquired Telluria which was said to have an impressive balance sheet?
The Real Deal: Well, the company’s recently-confirmed Chief Executive Officer, Chuka Mordi, explained the situation to Nairametrics during an interview, yesterday. According to him, while Ellah Lakes Plc acquired Telluria Limited to improve its balance sheet, the deal was sealed with equity because Ellah Lakes could not afford to pay for the transaction in cash.
Consequently, the equity payout gave Telluria Limited the majority stake in Ellah Lakes Plc. In other words, Telluria Limited is now the actual owner of the company.
“It’s purely an issue of financial structuring, it was the optimal way to structure it in order to have market access… It was a structuring situation that was convenient for both sides.
“They (Ellah Lakes) couldn’t afford to pay us in cash, so they paid in equity. The equity payout meant we took a majority position in the firm that was acquiring. What it does is, it still leaves a certain value for Ellah Lakes’ shareholders, but it also creates certain value for shareholders of Telluria that commensurate with various positions.”
Based on the foregoing, it can be seen that even though the company announced that it had acquired a hundred percent stake in Telluria Limited, the later actually holds the majority stakes.
Note that Telluria Limited was a private limited company until it was supposedly acquired by Ellah Lakes Plc.
The Backstory: The mystery surrounding the ownership of Ellah Lakes Plc began to unravel when the company announced on Friday, June 14, 2019, that Chuka Mordi had replaced Frank Ellah who had been serving as the company’s CEO since 2008.
Mordi’s appointment mattered because he previously served as a top Director at Telluria Limited. He was also a Managing Partner of CBO Investment Management, a private equity arm of CBO Capital Partners Limited, which is a core investor at Telluria Limited.
The story began to add up when Ellah Lakes Plc listed fresh 1.88 billion shares of Telluria Limited on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Prior to this time, Ellah Lakes Plc had existing shares of about 120 million shares. The newly listed shares brought the company’s total issued shares to 2 billion ordinary share.
Will there be a change of Name ?: Agreed, changing the name of the company would have sent a clear message about the change in ownership. However, a decision to maintain Ellah Lakes Plc was made as part of the deal. Unfortunately, this created confusion which almost watered down the essence of the deal.
In the meantime, it is unclear if the company’s name would eventually be changed. Therefore, the name remains Ellah Lakes Plc for now. However, power has definitely changed hands.
FCT Fuel scarcity: Why the queues have returned
There have been reports of long queues in the FCT, leading to major traffic jams in some parts of the city.
On Monday, 19th of April, 2021, the NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari assured Nigerians that there would be no increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as Petrol in May. Kyari also added that Petroleum Tanker Drivers had suspended their proposed strike after the intervention of NNPC in the impasse between the PTD and the National Association of Road Transport Owners.
“We have given our commitment to both NARTO and PTD that we will resolve the underlining issue between them and come back to the table within a week so that we’ll have a total closure of the dispute,” he said.
However, in the Federal Capital Territory, it was a different story, because the intervention of the NNPC on the proposed strike may have come a little late. Starting on Monday evening, there were reports of long queues in the city, which continued even up to Tuesday afternoon, leading to major traffic in some parts of the city.
At around 2 pm on Tuesday, a trip to fuel stations in the Karu-Jikwoyi area and some other parts of the FCT revealed queues of varying lengths. Fuel stations in the city centres had noticeably long queues as consumers struggled to fill up vehicle tanks and kegs.
A driver, Agbor, spoke to Nairametrics on his ordeal in trying to get petrol.
“I heard the queue was not as bad here as it was in town, so I rushed down to this queue at O-Max but the attendants said they don’t have much fuel for now, and are rationing how much they sell. I had no choice but to buy 10 litres of black market fuel at N4,000.”
At some stations including NNPC filling stations, long queues extended into nearby streets and although vehicular movements were being controlled to provide some semblance of order, the gates were shut in many to prevent mayhem.
The severity of the situation was also quite pronounced at Asokoro. There were long queues at the MRS filling station at AYA junction and A. A Rano station among others. The entry and exit gates were completely shut in many instances with teeming consumers struggling to gain entry. A petrol attendant who asked not to be named told Nairametrics that the situation is temporary and blamed the proposed strike for the inconvenience.
The scarcity situation was not different in Area 11, Garki. The main Total filling station was blocked on all sides and petrol was not being sold from the pumps at press time. The queues had also extended from the station to NNPC HQ. At Conoil, the situation was not much different and as of 2 pm yesterday, fuel was not being sold at the station.
In response to the situation, the federal government, on Tuesday afternoon, gave an update on fixing the fuel scarcity situation as NNPC GMD, Mr Mele Kyari told reporters that fuel loading had commenced in all depots and tankers would soon arrive at various parts of the city to end the scarcity situation.
“These queues will go away. It’s because there was an industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, around their compensation package.
And those issues were not resolved up till yesterday, until we intervened to ensure that there’s an amicable settlement between the parties so that they will have peace and then normal loading operations will commence from the depots.
As I speak to you at this moment, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatches of trucks are ongoing in all the depots in the country and they have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution.” he said.
Why some real estate companies are at risk of bankruptcy
Many real estate companies affected by the pandemic have folded up, as housing subscribers were finding it difficult to service their mortgage payments.
No doubt, these are trying times for different sectors across the Nigerian economy and the nation’s real estate segment is not insulated from the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some operators and stakeholders have expressed their fears that if the Federal Government does not intervene, more real estate companies may be forced to shut their operations.
Why firms may fold up – Experts
The experts have lamented that despite the challenges facing the real estate sector, especially with the pandemic, the Federal Government has not paid due attention to the sector.
The Managing Director, Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc, Dr Olabanjo Obaleye, explained that the government is yet to provide financial succour and other structural support to mortgage banks and the housing sector, even in the heat of the pandemic.
According to him, the government appeared to be only concerned with raising taxes to boost revenue but has not provided the required succour to cushion the impact of the pandemic on businesses in the country.
During an Earnings Conference Call, he said, “Many companies affected by the pandemic had folded up, as housing subscribers were finding it difficult to service their mortgage payment. There are two companies that have just collapsed due to the inability of their owners to get foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials.
On the level of government support on COVID-19, there is nothing visible we have seen. We have read so many pronouncements on that from the government but we haven’t got any palliative in that respect. We have made proposals to government through our relevant authority but there is a need for certain funds to be set aside for this.”
A real estate practitioner and also the Vice President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI) Gbenga Ismail, explained that the impact of COVID in real estate would be felt by stakeholders and property owners because of the tenancy/rent structure of the sector.
Unlike what is obtainable in other climes like the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America where rents are renewed on a monthly or quarterly basis, Nigerians will feel the pressure now, as rents are paid in one or two years advance.
According to Ismail, who spoke in an interview monitored by Nairametrics, most people that have either lost their jobs or whose salaries are slashed will feel the effect more now compared to last year.
He said: “Now, people won’t be able to pay rents or buy houses as planned. We are not sure of where the monetary issues are going now and not sure if lending will continue into the real estate sector. We are yet to see some of these things going on.
“Even in inventories, where developers have put houses out for rent, the concern is who is going to rent them? Before COVID-19, we wait 6 months before houses get rented or leased but now it may not be less than 12 months.”
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
Access our Live Feed portal for the latest company earnings as they drop.
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