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Visafone Complied with NCC’s Terms for Share Transfer to MTN

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  • Visafone Complied with NCC’s Terms for Share Transfer to MTN

Fresh facts have emerged that Visafone Communications, winner of Unified Access Services Licence in 2007, complied with the terms and conditions given it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), regarding the sale of Visafone to MTN in 2015, before making a u-turn and a fresh demand for licence transfer, which the NCC has vehemently opposed.

Visafone had on July 13, 2015, before the company was eventually sold to MTN in December 2015, applied for the approval of NCC to enable MTN Nigeria acquire 100 per cent equity of Visafone, by virtue of share transfer agreement, without additional request for the unified spectrum licence transfer.

NCC, consistent with its due process and procedure, reviewed Visafone’s request for the 100 per cent transfer of its shares to MTN on October 5, 2015, and granted Approval-in-Principle to Visafone Communications for the proposed transaction, subject to meeting NCC’s conditions.

According to NCC’s source, Visafone complied with the conditions specified by NCC for the transfer of shares only. The source further said upon confirmation of compliance with the given conditions for only shares transfer, NCC granted final approval for the acquisition of 100 per cent equity in Visafone Communications by MTN Nigeria.

Following the final approval given to Visafone, NCC compelled Visafone to submit to the Commission, a certified true copy of statement of share capital and return of allotment of shares from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), duly filed at the CAC, or an extract from the register of members. In addition to that, NCC also asked Visafone to submit a certified true copy of particulars of directors or any change therein, duly filed at CAC for record purposes.

NCC also asked Visafone to formerly register the share sale and purchase agreement with the CAC, upon its execution.

The source said Visafone complied with all the conditions for just the transfer of shares and nothing more, and that it was based on the agreement reached between Visafone and NCC, that Visafone opened up and concluded talks with MTN in December 2015, to sell Visafone to MTN.

According to the source, it was after the deal between MTN and Visafone was concluded, that Visafone saw the need to transfer its unified spectrum licence to MTN, in addition to its 100 per cent shares, probably as a result of interest and pressure from MTN, who may have initially thought that the licence was part of the deal.

In order to legally transfer its licence to MTN, Visafone, it was gathered, made another request to NCC on June 9, 2016, six months after the sale of its shares to MTN, asking for approval to transfer Visafone licences to MTN, following the transfer of ownership to MTN Nigeria.

NCC responded to the fresh request of Visafone and informed Visafone that its request for transfer of licences was not yet considered, but under review.

Although NCC did not approve the request for licence transfer, NCC however approved that Visafone’s subscribers could be migrated to MTN’s network in the interim and that such subscribers need to be segregated until a final decision is taken on the application for licence transfer.

NCC also said that in the interim, MTN’s tariff shall apply to all MTN and Visafone subscribers that are migrated, and that separate accounts shall be maintained by MTN and Visafone.

NCC directed that MTN shall bear the cost of devices needed by Visafone subscribers accommodated on MTN network, and that Visafone subscribers who still have airtime on their devices should be duly credited.

NCC said where the subscriber previously owned an MTN SIM card and chooses to retain the said SIM card, the airtime subsisting on Visafone’s platform should be transferred and where new SIM has to be purchased, a refund of airtime has to be made.

NCC however said any Visafone subscriber that declines to the offer, shall wait until Visafone rolls out its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network and be accommodated thereon.

MTN is however worried that its acquisition of Visafone in December 2015, did not come with the Visafone’s spectrum licence, a situation that NCC had since clarified that it never gave approval to Visafone to transfer its licence to MTN, following the acquisition of Visafone by MTN.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the clarification recently, said the NCC would hold a public forum to discuss the issue of licence transfer.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slip as Japan’s Rising Inflation Signals Rate Hikes

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Crude oil fell in early trading on Friday as concerns over sustained high interest rates in both Asia and the United States weighed on the outlook.

This trend is attributed to Japan’s increasing inflation, which is prompting expectations of imminent rate hikes by its central bank.

Brent crude edged declined by 11 cents to settle at $85.60 per barrel while the U.S. crude oil declined by 9 cents to $81.20 per barrel.

Recent data revealed that Japan’s core consumer prices rose by 2.5% in May compared to the same month last year. This increase marks a growth from the previous month, suggesting that the Bank of Japan is likely to raise interest rates in the upcoming months to curb inflation.

In the United States, data released on Thursday showed a decrease in the number of new unemployment claims for the week ending June 14, indicating continued strength in the job market.

This persistent robustness in employment raises the likelihood that the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain higher interest rates for a longer period.

Higher interest rates typically have a dampening effect on economic activity, which can subsequently reduce oil demand.

The prospect of prolonged elevated interest rates in two major economies has therefore put downward pressure on crude oil prices.

Despite the downward trend, oil prices received some support from the latest figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The data showed a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories by 2.5 million barrels in the week ending June 14, bringing the total to 457.1 million barrels. This exceeded analysts’ expectations, who had predicted a 2.2 million-barrel reduction.

Also, gasoline inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels to 231.2 million barrels, contrary to forecasts that anticipated a 600,000-barrel increase.

“Gasoline finally came to life and posted its first strong report of the summer driving season,” remarked Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York, highlighting the surprising uptick in gasoline demand.

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Crude Oil

Nembe Creek Oil Field Halted After Leak, Impacting 150,000 bpd

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Nigeria’s oil output has taken a significant hit following the shutdown of the Nembe Creek oil field due to a major oil leak.

The Nembe Creek oil field, responsible for producing approximately 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), was forced to cease operations on June 17, 2024.

The leak occurred on the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), a critical pipeline that transports oil from the Nembe Creek oil field to the Bonny Oil Export Terminal.

The operator of the pipeline, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, confirmed the leak and the subsequent shutdown in a statement released yesterday.

Aiteo reported that the leak was discovered during routine operations in the Nembe area of Bayelsa State, located in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region.

This region is notorious for environmental degradation due to decades of oil spills, which have severely impacted local agriculture and fishing industries.

Following the discovery of the leak, Aiteo activated its Oil Spill and Emergency Response Team and shut down all production from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 as a precautionary measure to prevent further environmental damage.

“While we regret the production losses and the potential environmental impact, our current priority is to expedite an efficient spill management process in line with regulatory standards and collaborate with all stakeholders to restore production and mitigate associated risks,” said Victor Okronkwo, Managing Director of Aiteo Eastern E&P.

The exact cause of the leak remains unknown. Aiteo emphasized that the shutdown was a precautionary step to contain the spill and minimize environmental harm.

The company has notified its joint venture partners and relevant regulatory bodies, including the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), about the incident.

This development comes as a setback for Nigeria, which holds Africa’s largest natural gas reserves and is a major oil producer.

The country’s oil sector has faced numerous challenges, including aging infrastructure, theft, and environmental issues, which have hindered its ability to maximize production and exports.

The Nembe Creek shutdown also highlights ongoing concerns about the safety and reliability of Nigeria’s oil infrastructure. The NCTL has been a frequent target of oil theft and sabotage, exacerbating the challenges of maintaining a steady oil output.

Energy analysts believe that the latest incident could impact Nigeria’s ability to meet its export commitments and exacerbate the country’s economic challenges.

The Nigerian government, under President Bola Tinubu, has been making efforts to attract investment into the energy sector to boost production and address infrastructure deficits.

“The government will hope this offers confidence not only in the quality of the Nigerian resource base, but also in the government’s pledge to improve ease of doing business,” said Clementine Wallop, director of sub-Saharan Africa at political risk consultancy Horizon Engage.

As Nigeria works to address the immediate spill and restore production, the broader implications for the country’s oil sector and its environmental impact remain to be seen.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Nears Seven-Week Highs as Market Eyes US Inventory Report

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Brent oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, remained steady on Thursday, hovering just below seven-week highs as the escalating conflict in the Middle East raised concerns over potential supply disruptions.

At the same time, the market eagerly awaits U.S. inventory data for further indications of demand trends.

August Brent crude rose 28 cents, or 0.3%, to $85.35 a barrel while the U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil gained 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $81.70 a barrel.

“There was no WTI settlement on Wednesday due to a U.S. public holiday, which kept trading subdued,” noted Ricardo Evangelista, an analyst at ActivTrades.

“However, oil prices are likely to remain supported around current levels due to a growing geopolitical risk premium driven by conflict in the Middle East.”

Israeli forces have intensified their operations in the Gaza Strip, targeting areas in the central region overnight while tanks advanced into Rafah in the south.

The escalating violence has heightened fears of a broader conflict that could impact oil supplies from the region.

“Expectations of an inventory build appear to be overshadowing fears of escalating geopolitical stress for now,” said Priyanka Sachdeva, senior market analyst at Phillip Nova.

Investors are keenly awaiting the release of U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Thursday, delayed by a day due to the Juneteenth holiday.

An industry report released on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) indicated that U.S. crude stocks rose by 2.264 million barrels in the week ending June 14, while gasoline inventories fell, according to market sources.

The summer season typically sees an uptick in oil demand due to increased refinery runs and weather-related risks.

“Ongoing production cuts by the OPEC+ group, combined with seasonal demand, should tighten oil balances and lead to inventory draws during the summer months,” J.P. Morgan commodities analysts wrote.

Refining margins have also improved, with the ICE gasoil futures premium to Brent crude jumping to $20.63 a barrel on Wednesday, a two-month high.

“Firmer fuel refining margins provide a healthy dose of encouragement for those expecting improvements on the demand side,” commented Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM.

In other economic news, the Bank of England’s decision to keep its main interest rate unchanged at a 16-year high of 5.25% ahead of the national election on July 4 has been noted by market observers.

Higher interest rates generally increase the cost of borrowing, which can slow economic activity and dampen oil demand.

As the market braces for the upcoming EIA inventory report, analysts and traders are closely watching for any signals that could influence oil prices in the near term.

The delicate balance between geopolitical tensions and supply-demand fundamentals continues to play a critical role in shaping the oil market landscape.

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