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Bristow Records Over 50% Drop in Operations

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  • Bristow Records Over 50% Drop in Operations

Leading helicopter service provider in the oil and gas sector, Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited, has hinted on over 50 per cent drop in operations due to the current economic downturn.

The development, though not unique to Bristow, has, however, warranted some drastic measures including the release of some workers and withdrawal of some aircraft from the Nigerian market.

Meanwhile, Bristow has acquired four brand new Sikorsky76D helicopters as part of its diversification and commitment to the Nigerian market.

Recall that the global oil and gas market has been in decline since the second half of 2014, with enormous effects on activities in the Nigerian oil and gas market. Helicopter operators, like Bristow, have been affected.

With reduced activities in the oil and gas sector, Bristow, like its competitors, has had to reduce its staff strength. In 2015, Bristow released 89 expatriate engineers and pilots, coupled with 26 support staff. As activity levels further dropped in 2016, the company released 29 expatriate engineers and pilots and 16 support staffs, coupled with 21 national pilots and engineers.

Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters in Nigeria, Capt. Akin Oni, told reporters that the lay-off was not unconnected with 50 per cent cut in fleet size, compared to what it operated in 2014/15.

Oni said: “In terms of flight activities, we are now about 45 per cent of what it was in 2014/15. That is the level of impact on us.”

He added that they had in the last one year shipped 13 aircraft out of Nigeria to other countries where their services are more required, given the impact of recession on helicopter services.

“Whilst the release of a staff is never an easy decision, the release of any national pilot or engineer is even more difficult. Most of our national engineers and pilots were recruited as cadets and received funding from the company for training.

“We very much view these national pilots and engineers as long term employees and future leaders of the company. It is, therefore, always a difficult decision to release our national staff,” he said.

On average, Bristow spends about $250,000 (cadet pilots) and $80,000 (cadet engineers) per annum on training its cadets until qualification as pilots or engineers.

The downturn in the sector and reduced activities notwithstanding, Oni said Bristow remains committed to operations in Nigeria, tapping into the bright side of fixed wing operations.

His words: “We have been operating in our present form since 1969 and intend to continue to operate in Nigeria. Our focus remains on providing a safe and efficient service throughout Nigeria.

“We are committed to developing new opportunities to serve the Nigerian market. Last year, we introduced a fixed wing business charter service operating the Lagos – Port Harcourt route for the benefit of our clients and other business corporations. This service is operated by two Embraer 135 aircraft.

“Last week, we expanded the service to include a Lagos–Abuja route, currently operating three days a week, as demanded by our clients. This service is an example of how we are able to diversify and provide a service outside our core oil and gas sector.”

In the oil and gas sector, Bristow has also introduced a search and rescue service, the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The MD explained that the service would be provided by a Leonardo AW139 with capabilities for both day and night rescue operations. The search and rescue service lends from the expertise and experience held by an affiliate UK company, Bristow Helicopters Limited, which provides a similar service to the United Kingdom.

Senior Legal Director at Bristow, Tolu Olubajo, noted that effective from April 1, 2016, parity in remuneration was established between their national and expatriate aircraft type-licensed pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers. This was sequel to an agreement reached with the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) on the remuneration of their members.

Olubajo said that Bristow would continue to engage with NAAPE on compensation payable to the released national engineers and pilots, and remain open to an amicable dialogue to reach agreement on the matter.

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.

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Commodities

Increased Demand Paves The Way for Expansion of Africa’s Sugar Industry

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Sugar - Investors King

Africa, June 2021:  A new focus report produced by the Oxford Business Group (OBG), in partnership with the International Sugar Organization (ISO), explores the potential that Africa’s sugar industry holds for growth on the back of an anticipated rise in regional demand. The report was presented to ISO members during the MECAS meeting at the Organization’s 58th Council Session, on June 17th 2021.

Titled “Sugar in Africa”, the report highlights the opportunities for investors to contribute to the industry’s development by helping to bridge infrastructure gaps in segments such as farming and refining and port facilities.

The report considers the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could deliver by supporting fair intra-African sugar trade efforts and bringing regulatory frameworks under a common umbrella, which will be key to improving competitiveness.

The increased international focus on ESG standards is another topical issue examined. Here, the report charts the initiatives already under way in Africa supported by green-focused investment with sustainability at their core, which will help to instil confidence in new investors keen to adhere to ESG principles in their decision-making.

In addition, subscribers will find coverage of the impact that Covid-19 had on the industry, with detailed analysis provided of the decrease in both worldwide sugar production and prices, as movement restrictions and social-distancing measures took their toll on operations.

The report shines a spotlight on sugar production in key markets across the continent, noting regional differences in terms of output and assessing individual countries’ roles as net exporters and importers.

It also includes an interview with José Orive, Executive Director, International Sugar Organisation, in which he maps out the particularities of the African sugar industry, while sharing his thoughts on what needs to be done to promote continental trade and sustainable development.

“The region is well advanced in terms of sugar production overall, but several challenges still hinder its full potential,” he said. “It is not enough to just produce sugar; producers must be able to move it to buyers efficiently. When all negotiations related to the AfCFTA have concluded, we expect greater investment across the continent and a clearer regulatory framework.”

Karine Loehman, OBG’s Managing Director for Africa, said that while the challenges faced by Africa’s sugar producers shouldn’t be underestimated, the new report produced with the ISO pointed to an industry primed for growth on the back of anticipated increased consumption across the continent and higher levels of output in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Regional demand for sugar is expected to rise in the coming years, driven up by Africa’s population growth and drawing a line under declines triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “With sub-Saharan Africa’s per capita sugar consumption currently standing at around half of the global average, the opportunities to help meet increasing domestic need by boosting production are considerable.”

The study on Africa’s sugar industry forms part of a series of tailored reports that OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including a range of country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.

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Gold

Global Demand for Investment Gold Plunged by 70% YoY to 161 Metric Tons in Q1 2021

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Last year, investors flocked to gold as stock markets crashed on a gloomy economic outlook due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second quarter of 2020, global demand for investment gold surged to over 591 metric tons, the second-highest level since 2016. However, the investors’ demand for gold has dropped significantly this year.

According to data compiled by AksjeBloggen, global demand for investment gold plunged by 70% year-over-year to 161 metric tons in the first quarter of 2021.

The Lowest Quarterly Figures after Record Gold Investments in 2020

In 2016, the global gold demand amounted to 4,309 metric tons, revealed Statista and the World Gold Council data. By the end of 2019, this figure rose to 4,356 metric tons. Investment gold accounted for 30% of that amount. Worldwide gold jewelry demand volumes reached 2,118 metric tons that year. Central banks and technology followed with 648 and 326 metric tons, respectively.

Statistics show the global demand for investment gold surged amid the COVID-19 outbreak, growing by 35% YoY to almost 1,800 metric tons in 2020. Demands for gold used in technology also rose by 17% to 383.4 metric tons, while central banks and other institutions bought 326.2 metric tons of gold in 2020, a 50% plunge in a year.

However, after record gold investments in 2020, the global demand for gold for investment purposes dropped to the lowest quarterly level in years.

The Price of Gold Dropped by 5% Since January

The average gold value tends to increase during a recession, making it an attractive investment in uncertain times. In February 2019, a troy ounce of gold cost $1,320.07, revealed the Statista and World Gold Council data. By the end of that year, the price of gold rose to $1,479.13.

The gold price continued growing throughout 2020, reaching an all-time high of over $2,000 in August. By the end of the year, the precious metal price slipped to $1,864 and then rose to over $1,950 in January 2021.

However, the first quarter of the year brought a negative trend, with the price of gold falling to $1,684 by the end of March. Statistics indicate the price of gold stood at around $1,860 last week, a 5% drop since the beginning of the year.

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Gold

Gold, Other Safe Haven Assets Plunge Ahead of Fed Rate Hikes

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Gold and Bitcoin - Investors King

Gold and other safe-haven assets plunged last week as the Federal Reserve signals the possibility of raising interest rates twice in 2023 given the ongoing economic recovery post-COVID-19.

The price of gold dropped by 6.04 percent last week as investors rushed to move their funds out of safe-haven assets including the new gold, cryptocurrency.

The entire crypto space sheds $898 billion in market value to hover around $1.625 trillion last week, down from $2.523 trillion recorded on Wednesday 12, 2021. Its highest market capitalisation till date.

The Federal Reserve raised inflation expectations to 3.4 percent and shifted the year it is expected to increase interest rates from near-zero to 2023 from the previously projected 2024.

The new hawkish stance of the central bank led to capital outflow from safe havens and subsequently boosted dollar attraction.

The United States Dollar gained across the board with the dollar index that tracks its performance against six major currencies, rising by 0.63 percent to 91.103 last week.

However, on Monday morning the gold showed signs of recovery, gaining 0.5 percent to $1,772.34 per ounce following the retreat in U.S. treasury yield that boosted the attraction of non-yielding metal.

Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency coin, pared losses to $33,245 per coin, up from the $32,658 decline it posted last week.

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