Investors and stakeholders are excited by the Federal Government’s planned divestment of its stake in Joint Oil Ventures (JV) with private oil firms.
The major policy shift will see the government slash its equity in upstream operations significantly to possibly as low as forty percent; a decision private oil firms, particularly multinationals, are anxiously warming up to.
Reason for the New Move: Available information has revealed that the Presidency took the decision to cut its stake in JV oil assets, refineries, and other downstream subsidiaries as part-fulfillment of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which dates back to 2017.
The deal is expected to be consummated and delivered before the 2019 fiscal year is over.
In the same vein, the government is pursuing the divestment of its stakes in JVs to help meet about 10.1 percent of its projected revenue for 2019. The budget presentation document says,
“The overall revenue performance in 2018 is only 55 per cent of the target in the 2018 Budget partly because some one-off items such as the N710bn from Oil Joint Venture (JV) Asset restructuring and N320bn from revision of the Oil Production Sharing Contract legislation/terms have yet to be actualised and have thus been rolled over to 2019.”
What You Should Know: The Nigerian upstream operational structure is essentially divided between JV onshore and shallow water with local oil firms and multinationals. It also entails Production Sharing Contract (PSC) between both parties in deep water offshore, which has attracted enormous interests and massive involvement of International Oil Companies (IOC) over the years.
Ownership Structuve of JVs: The JV between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell allows the NNPC to own 55% stake while the one between the NNPC and others like Chevron and Exxonmobile allows the NNPC to own 60% shareholding.
The JV contract requires the government and the other parties to contribute to the funding of the operations according to their stake in the partnership.
However, the government has, over the years, been accused of failing abysmally to live up to this obligation. This has made it heavily indebted to the other parties.
Why This Matters: If the deal works out, the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry will have more power to operate with less government interference.
In other words, this will afford private oil companies more power to determine the operations of the sector. This, coupled with the aggressive approach to business for which private investors are known for, higher efficiency in the oil and gas sector will be guaranteed.
Also, investors will be attracted to put their money in the lucrative oil and gas business, giving them a platform to leverage key opportunities while unlocking other latent opportunities in the exploration business.
On the part of the government, the proposed divestment of its stake in the oil and gas JVs will not only allow it to meet 10.1% of its 2019 revenue target. According to Austin Avuru, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, the divestment would help generate fund for the government to finance the 2019 budget.
On his part, the Managing Director, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, Mr Victor Okoronkwo, described government’s move to sell off 10.15 of its JV participation as a very good way of encouraging private joint venture partners to further capitalise and consolidate their positions.
FBN Holdings announces N25 billion capital injection into FirstBank
The fresh equity capital injection is coming on the heels of FBN Holdings’ recent divestment from FBN Insurance.
N25 billion worth of equity capital has been injected into First Bank of Nigeria Limited by its parent company, FBN Holdings Plc. The move is coming on the heels of FBN Holdings’ recent divestment from FBN Insurance Ltd.
A statement signed by FBN Holdings’ Company Secretary, Seye Kosoko, as seen on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s website, noted that the N25 billion is part of the net proceeds from the recent divestment from FBN Insurance Limited.
Following this N25 billion capital injection, First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) has increased to 16.53%. This is before capitalising year to date profit for half-year 2020.
More details: While commenting on this development, FBN Holdings’ Chief Financial Officer, Oyewale Ariyibi, said that the “divestment has unlocked significant value embedded in the former subsidiary which is being leveraged to strengthen the core baning business for which the Group is renowned.”
The company also explained that the overriding objective of these recent moves is to “optimise capital across the Group to drive business growth, enhance efficiency, and improve overall shareholders’ value.”
The backstory: Back in April this year, FBN Holdings Plc first disclosed ongoing talks with Sanlam Emerging Markets (Proprietary) Ltd over a possible sell-off of its 65% stake in FBN Insurance to the South African firm. Fast-forward to early June, FBN Holdings again informed stakeholders that it had completed the divestment process. All the while, no mention was made about the value of the transaction until now.
Note that FBN Holdings Plc reported a profit after tax of N49.5 billion for the half-year period ended June 30th, 2020. This represents a 56.3% increase when compared with N31.6 billion reported in H1 2019. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, UK Eke, recently commented on performance, noting that “the H1 2020 financial results are impressive and reconfirm our consistent focus on enhanced shareholder value.”
FBN Holdings’ share price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is currently trading at N5.05. The company has a market capitalisation of about N181.3 billion, according to information gleaned from Bloomberg.
UAE denies placing travel ban on Nigerians, gives reason for suspending visa issuance
The travel between Nigeria and UAE remained limited due to the closure of the Nigerian airspace.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Nigeria has reacted to media reports about the purported travel restrictions imposed on Nigerians wishing to travel to the UAE.
In its response, the UAE Embassy in Abuja refuted the accuracy of the information which was contained in those reports, while also affirming the growing bilateral relations between the 2 friendly countries.
This disclosure was made in an official statement by the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Abuja on Thursday, August 6, 2020.
The embassy, in its statement, said the UAE government acknowledged that travel between Nigeria and the UAE has been limited due to the closure of the Nigerian airspace. Part of the statement said:
“In response to recent press and social media reports regarding purported travel restrictions between the UAE and Nigeria, and in an affirmation of the growing bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, the UAE Embassy in Abuja denies the accuracy of the information contained in these reports.
“At the onset of the COVlD-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread, including the temporary suspension on issuing UAE visas for all nationalities as of March 17, 2020.
“After entering the recovery phase of the pandemic, the UAE eased some measures on July 7, permitting visitors from various countries to adhere to the necessary precautionary measures, including by showing negative PCR test results within 92 hours of travelling to the UAE. This includes those visiting from Nigeria.”
The statement also noted that the UAE Embassy and the Nigerian Government will continue to work closely to obtain the necessary approvals to facilitate travel between both countries.
It can be recalled that there were media reports which were triggered by claims of a travel agency, saying that visa renewals for Nigerians in the UAE, approval for permanent residents, and tourist visas have been discontinued.
Some social media users, in reaction to the development, linked the new restrictions to some of the fraud cases involving some Nigerians in Dubai recently
— UAE Embassy in Nigeria (@UAEEmbassyNGR) August 6, 2020
FG commences process of resumption of international flight operations in weeks
The government has expressed its readiness to reopen the nation’s airspace in a matter of weeks.
The Federal Government has commenced the process of gradual resumption of international flight operations which were suspended as part of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19.
Airport authorities have expressed their readiness to reopen the nation’s airspace in a matter of weeks rather than months.
During a briefing on Thursday, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, said that approvals have been given for aviation authorities to commence the process for the resumption of international flight operations.
Aliyu revealed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), other aviation agencies and the airlines, are to come up with a safe process through which airlines operating international flights can resume operations.
The PTF National Coordinator further disclosed:
“For international travel, we have made recommendations to the aviation industry to commence the process for reopening international airports, provided all existing international and local COVID-19 protocols are in place.
“We have modified the protocol for passenger arrivals at the airports. Domestic passengers arriving at the airports are advised to arrive one hour before their flights and three hours before international flights when this restarts.”
He said passengers arriving for domestic flights can now arrive an hour and a half before departure, while international flight passengers are to arrive 3 hours before departure.
In his statement earlier, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, who also doubles as the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had disclosed that the major changes being proposed in the eased lockdown were aimed at achieving gradual reopening of international flight operations within parameters.
It also includes reopening of rail transportation within established parameters and the granting of permissions to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations.
In his own contribution, the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said that the decision to resume flight operations was not purely an aviation problem, as it had to do with health.
He revealed that the PTF had set up a technical committee that would deliberate on the date that all the stakeholders in international air transport would be happy to start operations.
While sharing in the pain of Nigerians, Hadi Sirika admitted that the closure of the international air space had separated families and friends, denied people access to hospitals and schools abroad as well as denied them access to their businesses.