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Experts Warn against Sale of Aero, Arik to Foreign Airlines

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Arik Airplane
  • Experts Warn against Sale of Aero, Arik to Foreign Airlines

Aviation industry experts have cautioned against alleged plan by the federal government through Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to sell Aero Contractors and Arik Air to foreign airlines.

Informed sources at the Ministry of Transportation had hinted that the government approached Ethiopia Airlines and Turkish Airlines to buy Arik but they declined. Also last week the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun confirmed that investors were making enquiries about acquiring the two airlines.

But industry experts have expressed worries about the news of the plan takeover of these airlines by foreign concerns, querying if how this would benefit Nigeria and make the airlines operate profitable.

They argued that if foreign airlines acquire and absorb these airlines, Nigeria would lose because the workers would be relieved of their jobs and the airlines may even seize to exist as Nigerian operators.

Secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART), Group Captain John Ojikutu has criticised the move, saying that the decision to sell the airlines to European carriers is ill-advised.

“The news going round is that there are some moves by AMCON to liquidate Arik airline and sell it to the Ethiopian airline. Sure AMCON has no good knowledge on how many things work in aviation, but must be getting some blind advice from some Nigerian interested parties. I am not against the selling of Arik or Aero to technical investors, what I, like any other Nigerian, should fight for is selling a reasonable percentage of the airlines assets to the public. Secondly, those who are contemplating the sales or cooperation with Ethiopian airline should go into history of such cooperation in the past between Nigeria Airways and KLM or the Nigeria Airways and South African Airways in the 90s and the one for establishing Virgin Nigeria between the government and Virgin Atlantic.

“In the event that the liquidation and sale of these airlines to Ethiopia Airlines or European carriers is true, what would be the statutes of the airline if Nigerians are not participants? Would Ethiopian Airlines and Asky still retain their multiple destinations to all the five Nigerian airports if the airline is designated as the national carrier or flag carrier? We must find favourable answers to these questions or else AMCON and its advisers would blindfully sell our birth rights to a commercial competitor in the industry,” Ojikutu said.

Travel expert, Ikechi Uko said if selling the airlines would make them viable that would be good for Nigeria, but there is no certainty that after the sale the airlines would be allowed to operate as they are but if that would be the case because “if Turkish Airlines acquire the airline, it cannot bring Turkish people to run it; it will allow Nigerians to run the airline.”

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.

Crude Oil

A Threat to Revenue As Nigeria’s Largest Importer of Crude, India slash Imports By $39.5B

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Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity has come under threat following the reduction of importation of crude oil by India.

India, Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5bn in April, compared to the same time the previous year, data from India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.

According to the Indian High Commission in Nigeria, India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03bn.

This represented 17 percent of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as quoted by OilPrice.com.

As Nigeria’s largest importer of crude oil, lockdowns in India’s major cities from the COVID-19 surge in April had ripple effects on Nigeria’s oil sales.

The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below dated Brent, the international benchmark, as Oilprice.com showed.

India had been buying the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crudes that suited its refiners.

Reuters reported that the Indian Oil Corporation’s owned refineries were operating at 95 percent capacity in April, down from 100 percent at the same time the previous month.

An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.” Hundreds of seafarers risked being stuck at sea beyond the expiry of their contracts, a large independent crude ship owner reportedly told Bloomberg.

India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day.

This squeezed the group’s share of imports to 72 percent from around 80 percent previously, as India’s refiners were diversifying purchases to boost margins, according to Reuters.

India also plans to increase local crude oil production and reduce import expenses as its population swells, according to Bloomberg.

A deregulation plan by the Narendra Modi-led government to boost national production to 40 million tonnes of crude oil by 2023/2024, an increase of almost eight million tonnes, had already been initiated.

According to Business Today, an Indian paper, the country currently imports 82 percent of its oil needs, which amounted to $87bn in 2019.

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Energy

Invest Africa and DLA Piper Partner to Support ESG Best Practice in African Renewable Energy Projects

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Invest Africa - Investors King

The global law firm, DLA Piper, has partnered with Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets, to support the development of ESG best practice in African renewable energy projects.

Clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and measurements have become an increasingly important part of fundraising as investors seek to align their portfolios with sustainable growth. For a continent boasting ample natural resources, this presents a significant opportunity for Africa’s green energy sector. However, renewable does not always equal sustainable and developing and articulating ESG metrics can pose a significant challenge to projects as they prepare investment rounds.

The project will assemble experts from the worlds of impact investment, development finance and law. Across a series of online meetings, participants will discuss strategies to improve ESG practices in African renewable projects from both a fundraising and operational perspective.

Amongst those speaking in the inaugural session on Thursday 13th May are Cathy Oxby, Chief Commercial Officer, Africa GreencoDr. Valeria Biurrun-Zaumm, Senior Investment Manager, DEGOrli Arav, Managing Director – Facility For Energy Inclusion (FEI) – Lion’s Head Global PartnersBeatrice Nyabira, Partner, DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) and Natasha Luther-Jones, Partner, Global Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG, DLA Piper.

Veronica Bolton-Smith, COO of Invest Africa said, “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change despite contributing very little to global emissions. As the price of renewables fall, they will form an ever more important part of Africa’s electrification. In this context, it is essential that projects be given the tools to apply best practice in ESG not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of good governance, fair working conditions and contribution to social inclusion. I look forward to working closely with DLA Piper on this important topic.”

Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources and International Co-Head Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper also commented, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges companies, and people, face today and when we look at its reduction – whether that be in how we power our devices, what we eat or how we dress, where we live or how we work – all roads come back to the need to increase the amount of accessible, and affordable, clean energy. However, renewable energy companies are not automatically sustainable as sustainability is a focus on all ESG factors, not just environmental. We know the need for renewable energy is only going to continue to rise, and therefore so will the number and size of renewable energy companies. The additional challenge is to make sure they are truly sustainable organisations and that’s what we’re excited about discussing during the webinar.”

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Crude Oil

Oil Posts 2% Gain for the Week Despite India Virus Surge

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices steadied on Friday and were set for a weekly gain against the backdrop of optimism over a global economic recovery, though the COVID-19 crisis in India capped prices.

Brent crude futures settled 0.28% higher at $68.28 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude advanced 0.29% to $64.90 per barrel.

Both Brent and WTI are on track for second consecutive weekly gains as easing restrictions on movement in the United States and Europe, recovering factory operations and coronavirus vaccinations pave the way for a revival in fuel demand.

In China, data showed export growth accelerated unexpectedly in April while a private survey pointed to strong expansion in service sector activity.

However, crude imports by the world’s biggest buyer fell 0.2% in April from a year earlier to 40.36 million tonnes, or 9.82 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest since December.

In the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, jobless claims have dropped, signalling the labour market recovery has entered a new phase as the economy recovers.

The recovery in oil demand, however, has been uneven as surging COVID-19 cases in India reduce fuel consumption in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer.

“Brent came within a whisker of breaking past $70 a barrel this week but failed at the final hurdle as demand uncertainty dragged on prices,” said Stephen Brennock at oil brokerage PVM.

The resurgence of COVID-19 in countries such as India, Japan and Thailand is hindering gasoline demand recovery, energy consultancy FGE said in a client note, though some of the lost demand has been offset by countries such as China, where recent Labour Day holiday travel surpassed 2019 levels.

“Gasoline demand in the U.S. and parts of Europe is faring relatively well,” FGE said.

“Further out, we could see demand pick up as lockdowns are eased and pent-up demand is released during the summer driving season.”

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