- 9mobile Denies Speculations of Barclays Withdrawal as Financial Adviser
Contrary to the rumour making the rounds that Barclays Africa has pulled out as the financial adviser to 9mobile investment process that will lead to the sale of the telecoms company to a willing and credible investor, the Board of Directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services, trading as 9Mobile, has allayed the rumour, describing it as false information.
Although neither the banks nor the Barclays Africa was ready to speak on the issue when it broke out penultimate week, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, however told journalists in Abuja after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that he was yet to receive any official letter to the purported pullout.
When asked to comment on the situation, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, only referred journalists to the CBN for such comments, a situation that made it difficult to ascertain the true position of things as at that time.
But in a bold move to clarify the issue, the 9mobile, through its Board of Directors, released a statement on its website, informing the public that Barclays Africa is still in charge as the financial adviser to the 9mobile investment process.
Part of the statement read: “Following recent press reports relating to Barclays Africa’s role as financial advisor on the sale of 9mobile, the Board of Directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services, trading as 9mobile wishes to clearly state that these reports are inaccurate. This is not surprising, having come from so-called “sources” without authoritative knowledge of the process.
The board has full faith and confidence in the fairness and transparency of the process. Contrary to media speculation, Barclays Africa has also not resigned its mandate in the transaction and remains committed to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion of the process, for the avoidance of doubt.”
During the rumour period, an industry source said the withdrawal was not unconnected with the joint letter written against Barclays Africa, by the CBN and the NCC, over its alleged involvement in circumventing the due process laid down for the sale of 9mobile.
In a joint letter to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), which is the facility agent for the 9mobile syndicated loan, Danbatta and Emefiele expressed displeasure with the “unwillingness of Barclays Africa” to follow due process in the bid.
According to the source the letter was a dent to the integrity of Barclays, being a multinational financial institution, hence their decision to withdraw quietly.
But the recent statement from 9mobile has finally put the matter to rest, as Barclays still remain the financial adviser in the investment process of 9mobile, that will lead to the sale of the telecoms company and the eventual handing over of the telecoms company to its new owners before December 31.
Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday
Nigerian Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel Following OPEC+ Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $69 on Friday at 3:55 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price jumped after OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to role-over crude oil production cuts to further reduce global oil supplies and artificially sustain oil price in a move experts said could stoke inflationary pressure.
Brent crude oil rose from $63.86 per barrel on Wednesday to $69 per barrel on Friday as energy investors became more optimistic about the oil outlook.
While certain experts are worried that U.S crude oil production will eventually hurt OPEC strategy once the economy fully opens, few experts are saying production in the world’s largest economy won’t hit pre-pandemic highs.
According to Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental, U.S oil production may not return to pre-pandemic levels given a shift in corporates’ value.
“I do believe that most companies have committed to value growth, rather than production growth,” she said during a CNBC Evolve conversation with Brian Sullivan. “And so I do believe that that’s going to be part of the reason that oil production in the United States does not get back to 13 million barrels a day.”
Hollub believes corporate organisations will focus on optimizing present operations and facilities, rather than seeking growth at all costs. She, however, noted that oil prices rebounded faster than expected, largely due to China, India and United States’ growing consumption.
“The recovery looks more V-shaped than we had originally thought it would be,” she said. Occidental previous projection had oil production recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022. The CEO Now believes demand will return by the end of this year or the first few months of 2022.
“I do believe we’re headed for a much healthier supply and demand environment” she said.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
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