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Everything you need to know about Fola Adeola, Co-founder, GTBank Plc

Fola was 34 and Tayo was 33, as at 1988 when they applied for the banking licence.

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Fola Adeola, Co-founder, GTBank Plc

Owning a successful bank is not a mean feat for anybody to achieve, and owning one while being in one’s early 30s makes it even more exceptional. It takes grit, ambition and business acumen to pull off such an achievement, and these are all traits that Fola Adeola had in excess when he established his bank in the late 80s. 

In this week’s Founder’s Profile, we bring you Fola Adeola, the serial entrepreneur who co-founded Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank). 

Early years 

Born into a large family in 1954, Fola Adeola did not have a privileged childhood. Even though his father was a bank clerk at the time, his income was not enough to go round providing 17 children their necessities.  

To supplement the family income, his mother would send him and his brothers to join her in hawking wares on the streets of Surulere, where they lived. While this was not the childhood many would have asked for, young Fola did not allow it go to waste but used it to develop his character and business skills.  

He attended St Paul’s School, Breadfruit and Methodist Boys High School in Lagos, before moving to obtain a Diploma in Accounting from Yaba College of Technology in 1975. 

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He had his trainings at Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and D.O. Dafinone & Company (both Chartered Accounting firms) and became a Chartered Accountant in 1980. He has since then received other professional development trainings at notable institutions including Harvard Business School, INSEAD, and the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. 

READ ALSO: GTBank Releases Q1 2020 Unaudited Results, Reports Profit Before Tax of ₦58.2 Billion

He served as Senior Auditor at D.O. Dafinone & Co. before joining NAL Merchant Bank in 1982 as a Manager. In 1986, he moved to Continental Merchant Bank Limited as Deputy General Manager & Divisional Head, Financial Services Division 

It was at this time that he moved to Ikoyi with his colleague and childhood friend, Adetayo Aderinokun, who was also a staff at Continental Merchant Bank.  

Barber by necessity 

No business thrives better than one set up for the purpose of meeting needs, and Fola was quite conscious of this. As a new resident at Ikoyi, the first challenge he had was getting a place to cut his hair. Along with other professionals residing in the environ, they had to commute to the mainland to get a haircut.  

Though this was largely inconvenient, the need to solve a problem did not bore a deep hole in Tayo’s heart until he witnessed a fatal accident on the Eko bridge, one Sunday afternoon.  

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“The only thing that came to my mind was whether the victim of that accident was also on his way to the barbers! I decided then that we would put barbers in Ikoyi, he later wrote in his tribute to Tayo Aderinokun. 

The two friends pooled funds together and in no time, they put the first barbing salon in Ikoyi – Finishing Touches Barbing salon. Running the salon together, Fola and Tayo discovered they had a similar appetite for business risks.  

Years later, Fola and Tayo decided to sell off the barbing salon so that they could concentrate on the infant Guaranty Trust Bank.  

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As Fola recalled, One of the terms of the sale was that Tayo, myself, and all our male children, would cut our hair for free, forever!”  

Funny clause, you might think, but that said a lot about their shrewd business skills.  

When Tayo was heading a branch of the bank in Kano, Fola paid him a visit, and together they decided to arrest the problem of a members-only gym. However, this dream could not materialize as planned. They rented a property and set out to remodel it, but when after two weeks, the landlord could no longer recognize his property, he raised an alarm and the two friends had to look for the money to restore the property to its former condition.  

It was a colossal loss for them. With much less loss, some other person may have given up on the entrepreneurial journey, but not Fola. The die-hard businessman in him was ready to make losses if need be, but he was not ready to give up on it.  

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Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinokun in the early years of GT Bank

Another venture 

By the time Tayo returned to Lagos from Kano, Fola was ready to revisit the topic of starting a bank. It was a discussion they had had in the past, but were yet to take action on.  

READ MORE: Nigerians react as finance expert rates home ownership a bad investment

In a recent interview, he noted that a deeper realization of readiness occurred when he received a couple of offers from others seeking to get a banking license. It was a point where he asked himself, why he had to go run a bank to fulfill another person’s vision, rather than his.  

Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinokun were both qualified to run a bank individually, but going together meant that there were less chances of failure. They applied for a banking license and set about rallying the needed capital.  

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“For me, the idea of a commercial bank never died. I revisited it with Tayo, and told him I was now prepared to go ahead, as I felt the window of opportunity for a licence was narrowing. This was in January 1989. Fortunately, he agreed, and the rest is now history, Fola later wrote. 

They brought about 40 friends into the venture, most of whom were in their thirties and working for different organisations. The likes of Femi Pedro, Akin AkintoyeGbolade OsiboduBode Agustoand Moses Ochu were involved in the project.  

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Moody’s changes outlook on Nigerian banking sector to negative

Fola was 34 and Tayo was 33, as at 1988 when they applied for the banking licence. It took countless meetings in Fola’s residence, and later in Tayo’s First Marina Trust office in Victoria Island before they raised the required capital.  

August 21990, the duo received the banking licence No. 58, dated August 1, 1990, and signed by the then Federal Minister for Finance, Chief Olu Falae, for Guaranty Trust Bank Limited. Femi Pedro recounted in his 2015 article The Curious Case of Young Generations, “A group of young boys in their early/mid 30s OWNED a bank! We simply dreamt big, and turned this dream into reality.” 

The bank broke even in record time, and was listed on the Nigerian stock exchange in 1996. 

On July 31, 2002, Adeola voluntarily retired from Guaranty Trust Bank, after 12 years, handing over to his friend and partner, Tayo Aderinokun.  

18 years later, he would say, My joy is that in my lifetime, an organization that I birthed, can stand on its own without any input from me or my partners. That means that in some decades, someone can say, GT Bank since 1990, and 1990 would sound to them the way 1550 sounds to us now”. 

Fate Foundation 

While still at the bank, Adeola in 2000 established a non-governmental organization, the FATE Foundation. The aim was to encourage entrepreneurship, using a mix of training, mentoring, loan support and consulting to support young Nigerians. 

As part of its activities, the organisation opened an innovation centre in Abeokuta, the Institute for Venture Design, in collaboration with the Centre for Design Research at Stanford University. It now runs an entrepreneurship program focused on engineering, technology, and innovation, and which aims to promote development of industry in Nigeria. 

In the last two decades, the FATE foundation has served over 30,000 young Nigerian entrepreneurs, with over 65% fully employed by their businesses and employing an average of four staff. 

Other accomplishments  

Since retiring from the bankhe has headed the boards of several companies including Arm HoldingsLotus Capital (where his wife Hajara Adeola is MD/CEO)Eterna Oil, CardinalStone Partners Limited, UTC, Credit Registry Services and MainOne Cable Company Limited 

Fola Adeola also served as board member with Tafsan Breweries and is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University.  

In public service, Adeola’s activities are quite notable, and this has formed a major part of his activities since he left GT Bank.  

READ ALSO: Analysis: GTB is minting profits but CBN is squeezing its cash.

He was the Chairman of Lagos State Disaster Relief Committee, a team set up as a result of the January 27, 2002, Lagos bomb explosion, and also a member of the Solid Minerals Committee and the Chairman of Ogun State Development Trust Fund Committee.  

Adeola served as a member of the Global Advisory Committee on Philanthropy of the World Economic Forum for four years. In 2001, he was invited to join twenty-four other business leaders for the Aspen Institute ISIB Annual Business Leaders Dialogue in Aspen, Colorado. In May 2004, he was appointed Commissioner on the Commission for Africa by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

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In 1999, Mr. Adeola was awarded membership of the National Institute of Policy & Strategic Studies (MNI) in Kuru, Jos, after completing a one-year sabbatical at the institute. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Fellow of the Institute of Directors of Nigeria.  

He was the Vice Presidential running mate of the Action Congress of Nigerian (ACN) in the 2011 presidential election alongside the party’s presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu 

Fola Adeola has bagged several awards and recognitions including the distinguished Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).  

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Otito Ola

    July 28, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Fola’s contribution to the public and private sector also include chairing of the Pension Reform Committee whose report led to the Pension Reform Act 2004.

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Nigerians borrow N3.34 trillion in one year – CBN

The document stated that the credit was stimulated by the policy on Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR).

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Exchange Rate Unification: CBN devalues official rate to N380/$1, Nigerian banks have written off N1.9 trillion impaired loans in past 4 years, CBN sandbox operations, Stirling Trust Company Limited

The total gross domestic credit in Nigeria increased from N15.56 trillion in May 2019 to N18.90 trillion as at June 2020. This was disclosed by the Central Bank of Nigeria via a communique issued on Thursday.

The document, which included the personal statements of members of the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), stated that the credit was stimulated by the policy on Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR).

Drivers of the credit

Kingsley Obiora, Deputy Governor, CBN, explained that the credits were driven especially by demands from the manufacturing sector, consumer credit, general commerce, information and communication, and agriculture, among others. He said:

GTBank 728 x 90

“Under the circumstances, the financial system has maintained a sound and stable position, following effective interventions by the CBN.

“Short-term interest rates continue to suggest some surfeit in the system with average Open Buy Back (OBB) and inter-bank call rates rising to 5.75 and 11.31 percent in June 2020, from 5.22 and 5.80% in May 2020, respectively.

“Non-performing loans (NPLs) decreased to 6.4% at the end of June 2020, compared to 9.4 percent in the corresponding period of 2019, reflecting recoveries, write-offs and disposals.”

He, however, added that despite the improvements, the economy continued to face significant headwinds to a robust recovery, as the number of COVID-19 cases exceeded 36,000 cumulatively, and continued to rise.

“The headline inflation rate increased slightly to 12.56% in June from 12.40% in May, with food inflation at 15.18%.

“Furthermore, 87% of households owning non-farm businesses have highlighted difficulties in raising money for their enterprises,” he added.

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Obiora stated that it was clear that the economy faced an uncertain path, with long-lasting consequences for the livelihoods of many.

The decisive efforts of governments and central banks across the world have provided a strong foundation for the current recovery. However, it would be remiss to assume that the crisis is now over, especially as there remain many unknowns regarding the virus.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 13th of August 2020, 373 new confirmed cases and 10 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 48,116 confirmed cases.

On the 13th of August 2020, 373 new confirmed cases and 10 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 3,337 samples across the country.

To date, 48,116 cases have been confirmed, 34,309 cases have been discharged and 966 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 341,421 tests have been carried out as of August 13th, 2020 compared to 338,084 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 13th August 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 48,118
  • Total Number Discharged – 34,309
  • Total Deaths – 966
  • Total Tests Carried out – 341,421

According to the NCDC, the 373 new cases were reported from 20 states- Lagos (69), Osun (41), Kaduna (40), Oyo (40), FCT (35), Plateau (22), Rivers (19), Kano (17), Ondo (17), Ogun (15), Abia (14), Gombe (12), Imo (9), Enugu (7), Kwara (6), Delta (5), Niger (2), Borno (1), Bauchi (1) and Nasarawa (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 16,256, followed by Abuja (4,632), Oyo (2,935), Edo (2,399), Rivers (1,991), Kaduna (1,706),Plateau (1,665), Kano (1,661),  Delta (1,626), Ogun (1,521), Ondo (1,373), Enugu (976), Ebonyi (908), Kwara (888), Katsina (746), Osun (719), Borno (698), Abia (677), Gombe (647),  and Bauchi (580).

GTBank 728 x 90

Imo State has recorded 494 cases, Benue (430), Nasarawa (372), Bayelsa (346),  Jigawa (322), Akwa Ibom (241), Niger (228), Ekiti (194), Adamawa (185), Anambra (156), Sokoto (154),  Kebbi (90), Taraba (78),  Zamfara (77), Cross River (73), Yobe (67), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
August 13, 2020481163739661034309128417
August 12, 202047743453956033943128447
August 11, 202047290423956633609127257
August 10, 202046867290950533346125717
August 9, 202046577437945333186124467
August 8, 202046140453942633044121547
August 7, 202045687443936632637121147
August 6, 202045244354930332430118847
August 5, 2020448904579271732165117987
August 4, 2020444333049101431851116727
August 3, 202044129288896820663225707
August 2, 202043841304888520308226457
August 1, 202043537386883420287225677
July 31, 202043151462879119565227077
July 30, 202042689481878519270225417
July 29, 202042208404873519004223317
July 28, 202041804624868818764221727
July 27, 202041180648860218203221177
July 26, 202040532555858217374223007
July 25, 2020399774388561116948221737
July 24, 2020395395918451216559221357
July 23, 2020389486048332016061220547
July 22, 202038344543813815815217167
July 21, 202037801576805415677213197
July 20, 2020372255628011215333210917
July 19, 2020366635567891115105207697
July 18, 202036107653778614938203917
July 17, 202035454600772314633200497
July 16, 202034854595769914292197937
July 15, 202034259643760613999195007
July 14, 2020336164637541013792190707
July 13, 202033153595744413671187387
July 12, 2020325585717401613447183717
July 11, 2020319876647241513103181607
July 10, 2020313235757092012795178197
July 9, 202030748499689512546175137
July 8, 2020302494606841512373171927
July 7, 2020297895036691512108170127
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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Company Results

2020 Q2 Analysis: Conoil Plc, hanging by the thread

Conoil must stay aware and strive in Q3 to maintain a positive net cash position.

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Conoil Plc, NSE, Conoil Plc's shares, NSE suspends shares from trading shares, Conoil Plc declares dividend payment for FY 2019, announces AGM soon

A profit decline worth over N600 million within a 1-year period is more than enough to throw any concerned shareholder in a frenzy. Sadly, this is the reality for Conoil Plc, according to its latest unaudited earnings report.

The company’s Q1 2020 result seemed impressive, with about N260 million worth of profit after tax (PAT) reported. Ideally, this ought to have been a sign of good performances for the subsequent quarters of the year. Unfortunately, this hasn’t quite been the case.

The appalling nature of the second quarter (Q2) results was partly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the recent reduction in fuel pump price by the federal government. As you may well know, the virus hit Nigeria at the start of April 2020, thereby ushering Q2 economic activities and operations into a compulsory lockdown. These notwithstanding, no one could have anticipated a revenue plunge 70% deep in the span of 6 months between Q1 and Q2.

Conoil Plc has an impressive reputation as a market leader playing in Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sector. Due to the company’s positioning in the downstream sector, it is seldom directly affected by events in the often volatile global oil market… until now.

The Nigeria-based company was also hit hard when the federal government decided to allow market forces to determine the price of the pump in the country. The price was reduced to 125p/ltr from 145 p/ltr in late March this year. This contributed to the derisory N19.3 billion posted as Q2 revenue.

GTBank 728 x 90

The oil giant is in the business of marketing, distributing, and manufacturing under three business products, representing its operating segments. They market refined petroleum products and manufacture lubricants and household Liquified petroleum gas (LPGs) for domestic and industrial use. The three segments; White products (PMS, DPK, LPFO AGO), Lubricants, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), individually and respectively experienced poor turnover in Q2.

Worst quarter

Conoil’s recently released financial statement exposes arguably its worst Q2 figure in a couple of years, with Profit after tax (PAT) standing at a paltry N78.3 million. This pales significantly in comparison to Q1 PAT figure of N260 million representing a colossal 70% negative change and an 88.9% decline when compared to Q2 of 2019 with PAT of N707 million.

Revenue for the H1 peaks at N57.5 billion (although comparatively way below H1 2019 at N72 billion YoY) with Q2 Contributing a meager 16% N19.3 billion. Fundamental analysis of the financials, exposes that the sporadic shrink in turnover for Q2 could be attributable to these two major reasons. Firstly, the general lull in economic activities sponsored by the COVID-19 pandemic. This affected CONOIL’s marketable segment, halving the sales figures for white products by approximately 50% from N36.5 billion to N18 billion in Q1 & Q2 respectively. Manufactured lubricants also experienced a 7.7% dip in Q2 at N1.2 billion from N1.7 billion in Q1.  The second cause as hitherto stated was the reduction in fuel pump price N145 to N125, for the first time since 2016.

Deal book 300 x 250

The impact of such a decline in revenue is humongous. It questions the company’s ability to effectively service its debt obligations in the next quarter as well as providing adequate cover for its cost of sales and other expenses.

Investors are reputed to be ruthless pragmatics who accord more importance to the fine-prints than selling price when making purchasing decisions. Thus they often would place emphasis on the statement of cash flow as opposed to the income statement.

Conoil must stay aware and strive in Q3 to maintain a positive net cash position since Q1 & Q2 bear negative balances of N2billion and N1.2billion respectively. Negative cash flow is always a worrying omen. With current ratio for Q2 at 1.47:1 indicating the Oil giant’s relatively unconvincing ability to comfortably settle its liquidity problems if they arise.

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