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Shell to Cut 2,200 More Jobs




Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut additional 2,200 jobs as the world’s second-largest oil company continues to adjust to the slump in prices. This will take the total job cut between 2015 and 2016 to 12,500.

The company is expected to cut at least 5,000 jobs this year, these reductions are in response to oil prices staying lower for a longer period, and as a result of the acquisition of BG Group Plc, said Paul Goodfellow, Shell’s vice president for the U.K. and Ireland.

“These are tough times for our industry,” Goodfellow said in a statement. “We have to take further difficult decisions to ensure Shell remains competitive through the current, prolonged downturn.”

The industry is cutting deeper despite oil’s 80 percent recovery since January. Prices remain about half the level two years ago and companies’ earnings have been pummeled, debt has increased and credit ratings have been cut. To help protect their balance sheets they have deferred or canceled billions of dollars of projects, renegotiated contracts with suppliers and eliminated thousands of jobs.

Shell’s adjusted net income fell 58 percent to $1.6 billion in the first quarter following the collapse in prices. The company bought BG Group for $54 billion this year to get access to oil and natural gas reserves from Australia to Brazil. The purchase has increased its debt to $70 billion and driven up its ratio of net debt to capital to above 26 percent.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Company News

Why Toyota Retains Lead in Car Sales Globally Amidst Chip Shortages



Toyota Car - Investors King

Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota on Friday said its vehicle car sales in 2021 surged by 10.1 percent, beating German counterpart, Volkswagen and Electric Vehicle, Tesla to having the highest sales record in the world.

Maintaining the top sales record for two years in a row, Toyota Motor Co. stated that it sold 10.5 million vehicles in 2021, including those by affiliates Daihatsu Motors and Hino Motors.  That is 5 percent fewer than the number sold in 2020, its lowest sales figures in 10 years, and more than 8.88 million vehicles delivered by Volkswagen AG within the same year.

Toyota clinched the position for the first time in five years in 2020, with CEO, Akio Toyoda describing the company’s operations unit as higher than that of the EV, Tesla.

Toyoda said, “What we have and what Tesla doesn’t have is the units in operation more than 100 million vehicles out in the world.”

The company still records success despite disruptions which include the pandemic, shortages in semiconductor chips supply and a large competitive market.

Many car manufacturers in Asia and especially Europe have had to reduce output in 2021 especially due to the shortage of semiconductor chips used in vehicles for critical functions, such as sensing, safety features, power management, displays and control.

According to analysts at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the impact of the chip shortages, created by pandemic-related shutdowns of factories in the Far East, is expected to reduce later this year. The problem may likely continue up till 2023, they said.

Investors King learnt that one reason the Japanese car maker has an upper hand could be as a result of the presence of top chip manufacturing company, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) in Japan. Also, electronic manufacturers in Asian countries like China and South Korea, including Taiwan produce more semiconductors than any region in the world.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the TSMC announced that it will build a chip manufacturing plant in Japan to boost its production levels during the global semiconductor shortage that’s affecting industries of all types.

Although Toyota’s sales soared last year, the company has said it may likely fall short of a production target of 9 million vehicles in the business year that ends on March 31st because of disruptions linked to COVID-19. The company is also set to release its third-quarter earnings on Feb 9, this year.

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Reps Call For Suspension of E-invoice Policy, Say CBN Notice Too Short



e-invoice - Investors King

The House of Representatives has enjoined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the planned enforcement of the use of electronic invoice for import and export transactions.

The lower legislative chamber in Nigeria pointed out that the timeframe given for modification to the new e-invoice policy is short.

During its plenary session on Thursday, the representatives resolved that a 90 days timeline should be given for a new fiscal/monetary policy implementation as this will help the stakeholders adjust accordingly and reduce its effect on the economy. 

Investors King had earlier reported that the CBN said the hard copy final invoice would not be accepted from February 1 as it will be replaced with e-valuator and e-invoice as part of the documents needed for all import and export transactions.

According to CBN, the electronic invoice was introduced to get accurate value from imports and exports in the country.

It explained that the e-invoice for import and export operations must be authenticated by the Authorised Dealer Banks (ADBs) on the Nigeria single-window portal –Trade Monitoring System. 

Leke Abejide, a Kogi State lawmaker who sponsored the motion at the House of Representatives argued that the policy did not give adequate time for stakeholders’ discussion so that distortion of the economy can be averted.

The chairman, committee on customs and excise, Abejide stated that the apex bank has shifted its focus from initiating monetary policy measures to providing fiscal policy measures, which is the role of the ministry of finance.

He further said the main stakeholders in the ports and relevant sectors must be given enough time to study and understand the policy to avoid distortion in prices of commodities, delay in import and export transactions as well as ports congestion.

In his words, “Sudden monetary/fiscal circular hurriedly or half-haphazardly implemented often leads to policy summersault hence major policy change such as this.

“Importers and exporters in the manufacturing, mining and trading sectors would be affected because as the exceptions indicate that all exporters and importers with a cumulative invoicing value equal to or above $500,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency would be affected which is practically impossible to have anyone below this value cumulatively.”

The lawmakers harmoniously adopted the motion. They urged the CBN to sensitise the public on the new policy to ascertain its workability in seaports, airports, and border stations across the country.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was thereafter invited to appear before its committee to speak more on the policy, especially its effect on the Nigeria Customs revenue generation.

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Company News

Nestle to Invest $1.4bn to Boost Cocoa Production, Farmers’ Income, Lessen Child Labour




Top chocolate producer, Nestlé has revealed plans to continue expanding its cocoa sustainability efforts, through investing a combined $1.41 billion by 2030.

The investment, which is thrice Nestlé’s current annual investment, is part of an innovative income accelerator program, which aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farming families in West Africa.

According to the Swiss international food and drink processing firm, the program covers cash incentives for farming families to reduce the level of high child labour, especially in cocoa-growing nations like Ivory Coast, Ghana, etc.

The University of Chicago, in a recent study, disclosed that about 45% of children in agricultural households in Ivory Coast and Ghana cocoa farming areas were engaged in child labor.

Recently, chocolate-producing companies have come under pressure by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and other global organisations to invest in cocoa-farming communities facing dire challenges, including widespread rural poverty, lack of access to financial services and basic infrastructures like water, health care, and education. These are factors that increase child labour as children support their families in cocoa production.

Nestlé’s cash incentives will be paid directly to cocoa-farming households for certain activities such as enrollment of children in school, the company stated.

The company’s CEO, Mark Schneider during a webcast on Thursday said, “Nestle’s new initiative focuses on the root causes for child labour and the living income gap farmers and their families face… Our goal is to have an additional tangible, positive impact on a growing number of cocoa-farming families, especially in areas where poverty is widespread and resources are scarce, and to help close the living income gap they face over time.

“Building on our longstanding efforts to source cocoa sustainably, we will continue to help children go to school, empower women, improve farming methods and facilitate financial resources. We believe that, together with governments, NGOs, and others in the cocoa industry, we can help improve the lives of cocoa farming families and give children the chance to learn and grow in the safe and healthy environment they deserve.”

The KitKat Chocolate and Smarties confectionery producer stated that the Accelerator Program will aid the company to transform its global sourcing of cocoa through a fully traceable, directly sourced supply chain by 2025.

In 2021, 51% of the cocoa Nestlé used was directly sourced and traceable, versus 46% in 2020. By 2025, the company expressed that it fully wants to trace 100% of its cocoa back to specific farms under its in-house sustainability scheme, the Nestle Cocoa Plan.

“We’re very confident this will be a game changer on the road to reducing the risk of child labour,” Nestlé Head of Operations, Magdi Batato said in an interview with Reuters.

To qualify for the payments from Nestle, farmers must send their children to school, prune cocoa trees, plant shade trees and diversify their income with other crops or livestock.

Then each farmer, irrespective of the tonnes of cocoa produced by them, will directly receive cash payments via mobile transfer of up to 500 Swiss francs ($543) a year.

This, according to Batato represented 20-25% of a farmer’s average annual income. The incentive will then be levelled at 250 francs after two years and progressively extended to all of Nestle’s 160,000 cocoa farmers by 2030.

In an interview, Nestlé Head of Confectionery, Alexander von Maillot said, “An incentive to the household is much more inclusive of the smaller farmers, really making sure that nobody gets left out.”

To ensure that children really are attending school and farmers are following the rules, Nestlé disclosed that The Sustainable Trade Initiative will monitor the programme with other third parties. It also explained that children helping on family farms outside of school time do not fall under the International Labour Organization’s description of child labour.


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