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BAT Plans $47b Reynolds Merger

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British American Tobacco
  • BAT Plans $47b Reynolds Merger

British American Tobacco(BAT) is planning to merge with its United States partner Reynolds in a deal valued at $47billion (£38billion).

BAT wants to buy the 57.8 per cent of Reynolds it does not already own.

The merger would bring together some of the tobacco industry’s best-known brands, including Lucky Strike, Rothmans, Dunhill and Camel cigarettes.

BAT has been a shareholder in Reynolds since 2004 and the company said the merger was “the logical progression in our relationship”.

The FTSE 100 company is offering $20billion in cash and $27billion in shares for the US business. This values Reynolds at $56.50 a share, compared to its closing price of $47.17 on Thursday.

BAT estimates that it can make $400million worth of cost-savings through the merger.

The company has not yet held talks with Reynolds and said the merger would have to be approved by all the US company’s independent directors.

This is the biggest foreign deal by a British company in recent years, and flies in the face of the prevailing, post-Brexit wisdom that a weak pound would stop British companies buying foreign rivals.

It also marks a substantial consolidation in the ranks of big tobacco – the kind of consolidation that has just happened in another of the “sin” industries with the merger of the world’s two largest brewers, AB InBev and SAB Miller. Analysts have for years thought there could be another big deal to being together the big players in world tobacco, and today it has finally arrived.

There have been no talks between the companies in advance of this morning’s offer, but the pair know each other well – and after some haggling over price, it is likely we will see the creation of a new giant player in world tobacco.

BAT has held a significant stake in the company for 12 years after merging its US operations, known as Brown & Williamson, with RJ Reynolds. A new parent company was established at the time, of which BAT owns a 42.2 per cent share.

RJ Reynolds has been operating since 1875 and is the second largest tobacco company in the US after Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA.

Last year, Reynolds completed its $25billion takeover of US rival Lorillard. The combined company was forced to sell off a number of brands, including Kool, Salem and Winston, to satisfy regulators. They were eventually bought by Britain’s Imperial Tobacco for $7.1billion.

BAT also released results for the first nine months of the year on Friday which showed that revenue rose by 8.1per cent on a constant currency basis.

The company said there would be an impact from the fall in sterling against the dollar and that trading remained “challenging” in a number of key markets. Shares in BAT rose nearly 3 per cent to £49.40 in early trading.

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

Business

NAHCO Recalls Suspended GMD/CEO, Mrs Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi

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NAHCO Recalls Suspended GMD/CEO, Mrs Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi | investorsking.com

Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi Resumes Work With NAHCO

The Board of Directors of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has recalled Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, who was suspended over Management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from vendor within the contracted period and Management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonable long delay.

Mrs. Fagbemi was suspended by the Board at a meeting held on 27th of January 2021 in line with the Board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by 2nd February 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer.

Since Mrs. Fagbemi commenced her suspension on February 3rd, 2021, Mr. Olumuyiwa A. Olumekun, the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, has been acting as the GMD/CEO, according to a statement put out by the company.

It said “the Board is however pleased to inform the investing public and the Exchange that on, Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.

“Consequently, the Board at its emergency meeting today, February 24, 2021, has recalled the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi from the suspension and she has resumed work.”

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Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

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Petrol Importation

Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

Businesses have started feeling the negative impact of the rising price of Automotive Gas Oil, known as diesel.

A single litre now goes for N250 in some parts of Lagos, with businesses taking a beating on the back of rising energy costs.

Our correspondent observed that some filling stations in Lagos had increased the price of the product to N250 per litre, while many others sold it at between N220-N245.

Northwest Petroleum along the Oshodi-Apapa road increased the pump price of diesel to N250 per litre; AP (Ardova Plc), along Airport road, Ikeja, N248; and Oando, along Acme Road, N240.

The National Bureau of Statistics, in its AGO price report on Tuesday, said the average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.22 per cent to N224.86 per litre in January 2021 from to N224.37 in December 2020.

It said states with the highest average price of diesel were Adamawa (N268.33), Zamfara (N262.78) and Kebbi (N257.50).

“States with the lowest average price of diesel were Osun (N194.60), Anambra (N195.83) and Enugu (N198.24),” the NBS added.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petroleum products, and the deregulation of the downstream oil sector by the Federal Government means that the pump prices of the products will reflect changes in the international oil market.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, has risen by more than 25 per cent this year from the $51.22 per barrel at which it closed last year. It rose to $65.25 per barrel as of 6:30pm Nigerian time on Tuesday.

Diesel is mostly used by businesses to power their generators amid a lack of reliable power supply from the national grid.

The President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Mr Femi Egbesola, lamented that the recent increase in the price of diesel was taking a heavy toll on businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises.

“The cost of diesel and raw material is giving us a nightmare. The price of diesel has been skyrocketing in a way that creates fear in particularly manufacturers,” he told our correspondent on Tuesday.

According to him, it is difficult for businesses to factor all the increase in diesel price in their final product prices.

Egbesola said, “That is why a lot of companies are downsizing and are making sure that they only produce products that they are so sure will sell in the market.

“Many companies have reduced their product lines significantly just to be able to cope. And that is not good for us because by the time this goes on, unemployment will increase. I believe government should be able to do something about this.”

He said although the downstream petroleum sector had been deregulated, there should be checks and balances.

Egbesola said many small businesses’ savings had been eroded already because ‘we keep spending our savings to make sure we don’t close shop’.

He said, “If things continue this way, there is no way we are not going to close shop. We are still struggling with the recent increase in electricity tariff.

“Many small businesses still depend so much on diesel generators because there is no alternative power supply. It is only the big players that have the facilities to use gas. And we cannot use solar installation because it is very expensive.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.

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United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications

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United-capital

United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications

United Capital Plc has been appointed, Tolu Latunji as its Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications.

In the new role, he is expected to drive a strategic communications, marketing and brand management programme for the investment banking group.

Latunji is a communication and marketing expert with 12 years’ experience in products development, marketing, brand & franchise building, effective management and communication of strategic objectives whilst ensuring adequate visibility for both organisation and product/service offerings through product, content and brand initiatives.

“With a 360 degree knowledge of communications and marketing, which includes but not limited to – brand management and initiatives, corporate affairs, internal and external affairs, product and brand marketing, event management and experiential marketing, cluster/segment marketing, Tolu has served at various capacities on government constituted sub-committees on financial inclusion,” a statement explained.

Prior to joining United Capital Plc, he was the Managing Partner of Ten & Square Media Co., a bespoke creative ideation and brand/crisis management firm, based in Lagos, Dakar and London.

Latunji was recently the Strategic Communications lead at FMDQ Securities Exchange, Nigeria’s first integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI), where he had the responsibility of effectively positioning the group, together with its subsidiaries, as the most sophisticated and technologically driven securities exchange in Africa.

Prior to that, he worked in Guaranty Trust Bank for nine years with roles in brand management & monitoring, events and experiential marketing, products and content marketing and user experience.

He led the marketing team to the successful development and launch of various retail, SME and corporate products. He was also instrumental in curating and developing the bank’s social footprints. Outside the corporate environment, Tolu engages in various humanitarian activities with food banks and empowerment programmes. He holds a B.Sc. Economics from University of Lagos.

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