Indorama Debunks Economic Sabotage
The management of Indorama Eleme Fertilizer & Chemicals (IEFCL) has debunked the report that the company and another fertilizer firm are sabotaging the national economy and security through their export of fertilizers at the detriment of farmers in Nigeria.
The Company stated that all its domestic supplies to customers so far are in accordance with the approval of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Farm Input and Supply Services (FISS) department in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Indorama Eleme Fertilizer & Chemicals Limited (IEPL) and its sister companies in Nigeria are not, and have not, and would never be directly or indirectly involved in any activities to undermine or sabotage the economy or security of the nation,” the company declared.
In a press statement issued in Port Harcourt, and signed by the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Dr Jossy Nkwocha, the management noted that its brand-new world-class fertilizer plant built at a cost of $1.5 billion — one of Nigeria’s largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the downstream sector — started pre-commissioning production only recently at only 75% capacity, and in the past one month has been giving priority to the domestic market.
The statement added: ‘”The plant is still awaiting official inauguration.
“Our brand-new fertilizer plant has capacity for 1.5 metric tons of fertilizers per annum which is designed to serve Nigeria’s entire domestic requirement and the surplus is for export markets.”
“However, our primary focus is to serve the interest of our domestic market and this we have been doing with great sense of responsibility and commitment to the Nigerian economy” the company stated.
“It is also a matter of national pride that the surplus production would be exported to enable the generation of foreign exchange for the Country at this time of huge deficit of foreign exchange; as well as branding Nigeria’s global reputation as producer and exporter of petrochemicals and fertilizers, thereby encouraging more foreign investors to come and invest in Nigeria.”
Nkwocha noted that IEFCL has been loading and distributing an average of between 90 – 100 long trailers of fertilizers, each carrying 600 bags of 50kg each, totaling over 57,000 bags of Indorama Urea fertilizer daily over the past one month for the benefit of Nigerian farmers across the country.
The company added: “Indorama-Nigeria is 100 percent committed to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy and has in the past ten years demonstrated such total commitment and loyalty by providing more than 85% domestic needs of polymers which were hitherto imported into the country at huge foreign exchange cost.”
Indorama said as a responsible corporate organisation, it was constrained to state the facts for the benefit of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Federal Government of Nigeria, the international partners, other critical Stakeholders and the general public.
It noted that it was greatly embarrassed and distressed that the publications gave misleading impression that the two fertilizer companies were sabotaging national security by distributing fertilizers within the country, which were being used by some undesirable elements to make explosives.
“The publications further mentioned an unnamed organisation involved in commercial explosives and accessories whose activities were sabotaging national security”.
“This mix-up has caused great embarrassment and distress to our company, which over the past ten years has the unblemished reputation of adding great value to the Nigerian economy and society,” it said.
Furthermore, the statement added: ‘’The management of Indorama Fertilizer therefore restated its total commitment to the economy and security of the country, especially in ensuring that farmers across the country have unhindered access to its high quality Urea fertilizers.
It also expressed readiness to collaborate with the office of the NSA and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that all identified concerns about availability of Indorama fertilizers by farmers and dealers are addressed as quickly as possible.
Indorama said it would continue to work with Federal Government regulators to achieve its vision of building the largest Petrochemicals and fertilizer hub of Africa with a cumulative investment of $4.32 billion by 2020.
The company stated that in the past ten years, Indorama-Nigeria has been a responsible corporate citizen, reputed for its excellent Public Private Partnership (PPP) – sharing its wealth/dividend with shareholders including the Federal Government (through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises), Rivers State Government, and host communities and Nigerian employees.
It stated that it has also created over 7,500 jobs, as well as engendered numerous Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes that impact very positively on its host and transit communities in Rivers State.
Unilever Nigeria to Focus on Higher Growth Opportunities by Exiting Home Care and Skin Cleansing Markets
Unilever Nigeria Plc, one of the leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, has announced its decision to exit the home care and skin cleansing markets.
The company disclosed that the decision would only affect three of its brands – OMO, Sunlight, and Lux. According to Unilever Nigeria, the move is aimed at accelerating the growth of the organisation and sustaining profitability.
The restructuring of Unilever Nigeria’s business model is in response to the tough business environment in Nigeria, where many organisations and individuals have found it difficult to access cash due to the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Unilever Nigeria’s Managing Director, Mr Carl Cruz, noted that the offloading of the home care and skin cleansing portfolios would enable the company to “concentrate on higher growth opportunities.”
Unilever Nigeria has a strong competition in the business categories it is exiting. However, the company’s products are also market leaders in the sector. Mr Cruz added that the company was repurposing its portfolio by gradually exiting two categories, home care and skin cleansing, affecting only three brands (OMO, Sunlight, and Lux).
This would allow Unilever Nigeria to drive the rest of its brand portfolio for growth into the future and strengthen business operations with measures to digitize and simplify processes.
Unilever Nigeria is a truly Nigerian business and the oldest serving manufacturer in the country. The company’s decision to exit the home care and skin cleansing markets is in line with its commitment to adapt to changing market circumstances and reposition itself to better meet the needs of its consumers, shareholders, and employees.
Mr Cruz said, “By making these changes, we will unleash the sustained and profitable growth we need to be here for the next 100 years as well.”
Merger and Acquisition
Access Bank Zambia Granted Approval for Atlas Mara Zambia Merger
Access Holdings Plc has announced that its subsidiary, Access Bank Zambia Limited, has received final regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Zambia for the acquisition and merger of African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited (Atlas Mara Zambia).
The move is a significant step towards the creation of one of the top five banks in Zambia.
Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary of Access Holdings, stated that the latest development is a big step towards the earlier announcement made on October 25, 2021.
This approval comes after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Competition Commission granted their “no objection” to the transaction in 2022.
Access Zambia will now begin the process of integrating and merging Atlas Mara Zambia into its existing operations. The merger is expected to boost Access Bank Zambia’s position in the Zambian banking sector and create more opportunities for its customers.
Access Holdings Plc is committed to expanding its operations and presence in Africa, and this acquisition and merger is a testament to its efforts in achieving that goal. The company believes that this move will strengthen its position as a leading financial services provider in the region.
Dr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Access Holdings, while commenting on the transaction, said: “The transaction builds on our earlier acquisition and merger of Cavmont Bank Plc into Access Bank Zambia and underscores our resolve to strengthen our presence in Zambia, a key African market that fits into our strategic focus on geographic earnings growth and diversification”.
Merger and Acquisition
First Citizens BancShares Acquires Silicon Valley Bank’s Deposits and Loans in FDIC-Assisted Deal
On Monday, First Citizens BancShares Inc announced that it had acquired the deposits and loans of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) following its failure earlier this month.
This acquisition marks a significant step forward in addressing the global financial markets’ ongoing crisis of confidence.
As part of the deal, First Citizens BancShares will assume SVB’s assets including $110 billion in assets, $56 billion in deposits, and $72 billion in loans. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which took control of SVB, will receive equity appreciation rights in First Citizens BancShares stock with a potential value of up to $500 million.
First Citizens BancShares described itself as having completed more FDIC-assisted transactions since 2009 than any other bank. It believes that the combined company will be resilient with a diverse loan portfolio and deposit base.
The bank’s statement also noted that its prudent risk management approach would continue to protect customers and stockholders through all economic cycles and market conditions.
In addition to the acquisition, First Citizens BancShares will receive a line of credit from the FDIC for contingent liquidity purposes. Again, the bank will have an agreement with the regulator to share some losses on commercial loans to provide further downside protection against potential credit losses.
While analysts said the move was positive for financial stability and the venture capital industry, they noted that it only addressed the issue of deposits leaving smaller banks for larger banks or money market funds up to a point.
Redmond Wong, Greater China market strategist at Saxo Markets, said that “First Citizens Bank’s acquisition of the SVB loan book and deposits does not add much to solve the number one issue that the U.S. banking system is now facing.”
SVB’s failure was the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis. Its closure on March 10th caused massive market disruption and heightened stresses across the banking sector globally. The acquisition of its deposits and loans by First Citizens BancShares is a step towards stabilizing the sector and restoring confidence in the global financial markets.
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