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BUA Kicks as Obaseki Orders Arrest of Two Workers

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BUA Sugar
  • BUA Kicks as Obaseki Orders Arrest of Two Workers

Two workers of BUA International Limited were arrested on Wednesday on the order of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, for allegedly flouting a stop-work order issued by the Federal Government over the disputed Obu mine in Okpella.

The suspects were arrested when the governor and some heads of security agencies visited the site in Etsako East Local Government Area of the state.

It was learnt that some explosives used for mining operations on the site were also confiscated and moved to the Army Brigade Command on the order of the commander.

The Obu mine has been a subject of disagreement between BUA and the Dangote Group, with both parties claiming ownership before the matter was taken to court.

The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Edo State Government had also ordered the shutdown of the mine pending the determination of the court case on the issue.

But the governor, who was accompanied by the Commander of the 4th Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Garba; Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Kokumo; and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Security, said the continuous operation on the site was a disregard for constituted authority.

According to him, the state government is more interested in the security of lives and property, adding that while there was the need for investors to make profits from their investment, “no money is worth any life.”

Obaseki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Crusoe Osagia, said, “There is a dispute over the ownership of this mine. The dispute is in court. There was a specific instruction from the Minister of Mines and Steel Development asking that work should stop pending the outcome of the matter before the court.

“I addressed a section of the Okpella community, who came to me to express concerns about the growing tension in the community because of the dispute. At that point, I issued instructions that the work should stop in line with the Federal Government’s directive and the case in court.

“I said that the status quo (should) be maintained until the determination of the case in court. I think that is the simple common sense thing to do. There is a quarrel and all parties should maintain peace and the status quo.”

The governor also accused the management of BUA of claiming that the state government had no authority and right to enforce a Federal Government directive.

He added, “What they are saying in essence is that government does not matter. That sort of utterance and position is very dangerous for our country, for a company that needs government to treat us with such disdain.

“With this, things will degenerate into anarchy. How can they operate in such an environment? We do not care who owns what; but human life is more expensive than whatever money anybody can make.”

The governor also explained that the visit to the site was to assure the people of the area that the government was on top of the situation to ensure peace in the community.

Also speaking, the Okuokphellagbe of Okpella, Alhaji Andrew Dirisu, maintained that the community was open to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Dirisu, who spoke when he received the governor at his palace, said, “There is no way we will not welcome people to invest. But what we want is for everyone to take what they get and no one should take from another.

“For now, as you have given your order, who are we to dispute it? I thank you for calling for peace in this matter.”

Meanwhile, BUA described the action of the governor as “a gestapo-style forceful shutdown of that mine despite a subsisting court pronouncement that the mine be allowed to operate.”

It said in a statement, “Upon reaching that mining site and not meeting any personnel or equipment, two BUA Cement employees were invited to the mining site to receive the governor. We later learnt that these employees were arrested upon arrival on the orders of the governor and taken away for no just reason.

“As it stands, we do not know why they were arrested but have requested our lawyers to secure their unconditional release immediately as these employees are innocent and have no knowledge of why they were being arrested.

“Now that one of our mining sites has been forcefully closed down by the governor without regard to the court’s pronouncement on maintaining the status quo at that particular site (and without any formal communication from the Edo State Government), BUA as a responsible corporate entity has instructed its lawyers to report back to the courts on this latest developments and pursue all legal channels to enforce its rights.”

BUA added, “Whilst the governor based the legitimacy of his actions on a purported stop-work order from the Ministry of Mines, BUA wishes to reiterate that there is a pronouncement of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin on December 5, 2017 that declared the stop-work order issued by the ministry as a contravention of the court’s directives to maintain the status quo and thus deemed it illegal. The same court also threatened to arrest the minister, who is the first defendant in the case, if the stop word order continues to be pursued.

“We once again ask all parties to await the conclusion of the judicial process as this matter is already before a court of competent jurisdiction.”

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.

Company News

BUA Cement Announces 24.6 Percent Increase in Profit to N43.4 Billion in H1 2021

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BUA Cement stock - Investors King

BUA Cement Plc, Nigeria’s second-largest cement manufacturing company, on Thursday reported a 22.7 percent increase in revenue in the six months ended June 30, 2021.

Revenue rose from N101.261 billion recorded in the first half (H1) of 2020 to N124.278 billion in the first half of 2021.

The company disclosed in its unaudited financial statements release through the Nigerian Exchange Limited and seen by Investors King.

As expected, the cost of sales inched higher by 19.1 percent from N55.539 billion in H1 2020 to N66.158 billion in H1 2021. While gross profit expanded by 27.1 percent to N58.120 billion in H1, up from N45.723 billion.

The cement manufacturing company grew other income by 52.3 percent from N47.653 billion filed in H1 2020 to N72.6 billion in H1 2021.

Administrative expenses rose to N4.17 billion in the period under review, representing an increase of 57.9 percent when compared to N2.643 billion recorded in H1 2020.

Operating profit increased by 23.8 percent from N40.809 billion in the corresponding period of 2020 to N50.524 billion in the period under review.

Profit before income taxes rose by 26.9 percent to N49.700 billion in H1 2021 from N39.165 billion in H1 2020.

The company paid N6.3 billion in income tax in the first half of 2021.

Therefore, profit after tax stood at N43.396 billion in the first six months of 2021, an increase of 24.6 percent when compared to N34.819 billion achieved in the same period of 2020.

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Appointments

Seplat Energy Appoints Dr. Emma FitzGerald as an Independent Non-Executive Director

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Seplat Energy Plc - Investors King

Seplat Energy Plc has appointed Dr. Emma FitzGerald as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company, the company disclosed on Thursday.

Dr. FitzGerald will replace Lord Mark Malloch-Brown who retired from the Board of the Company on 1st August 2021.

Dr. Emma FitzGerald Profile

Dr. FitzGerald is a seasoned executive in Energy & Water, with hands-on experience in transformation through her many years of working at Shell, ranging from building its lubricants business in China to running its Global Retail network.

From 2007-2010, she was accountable for Shell’s Downstream strategy and played a key role in reshaping Shell’s renewables strategy including the creation of Raizen, a game changing biofuels JV with Cosan. From 2013 to 2018 she ran gas distribution and water & waste networks for National Grid and Severn Trent where she successfully
positioned them as sustainability thought leaders in their Industries.

Most recently Dr. FitzGerald served as CEO of Puma Energy International, a global energy company owned by Trafigura and Sonangol, which is focused on high potential developing markets in Africa, Asia and Central America. In 2020 she set up Puma’s Future Energies division to play a critical role in helping customers and communities find the right energy solutions to support the energy transition. Over the last 10 years she has served on various Boards in executive and non-executive capacities and currently sits on the board of UPM Kymmene, an international paper & biomaterials business focused on innovating for a future beyond fossil fuels.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr. A. B. C. Orjiako, Chairman of SEPLAT Energy said: “The Board of SEPLAT Energy is indeed delighted to have Dr. Emma Fitzgerald on board as she brings vast knowledge in important areas such as the energy sector, renewables and sustainability. SEPLAT Energy has a great future ahead and looks forward to the enormous contribution she will make towards its continuing global success.”

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Company News

Robinhood IPO Priced at Lower End of Range, Firm Valued at $32B

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Robinhood-Investors King

Stock and crypto-trading app Robinhood has secured a $32 billion valuation via its initial public offering (IPO) and is set to debut on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday.

According to a press release on Wednesday, Robinhood has priced its offering at $38 per Class A common stock share.

The pricing is at the lower end of the $38-$42 per share price range the company had targeted and had planned on selling 5.5 million shares targeting a $1.89 billion raise.

Net proceeds from the sale will go toward working capital, capital expenditures, funding tax obligations, hiring efforts, customer support services, among others.

Shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Thursday, according to the release.

Earlier this month, Robinhood began unconventionally offering a portion of its IPO to users via its app — a view some consider to be a risky gamble.

Known for its zero-fee trading structure, the company has continued to endure hits to its image as well as legal and political ramifications stemming from the fallout of the GameStop saga and limitations to users trading crypto.

The company is trying to reshape that image and is reportedly working on a new feature that will help protect users from crypto price volatility while hiring a former Google alumn to improve its overall product design.

“Robinhood intends to use the net proceeds for working capital, capital expenditures, funding its anticipated tax obligations related to the settlement of RSUs, and general corporate purposes including increasing its hiring efforts to expand its employee base, expanding its customer support operations and satisfying its general capital needs,” the firm said in the announcement.

Robinhood filed the public offering prospectus on July 1, noting at the time that 17 percent of its total revenue in Q1 came from crypto trading transaction fees, which represented a big jump from the 4 percent in Q4 2020.

“While we currently support a portfolio of seven cryptocurrencies for trading, for the three months ended March 31, 2021, 34 percent of our cryptocurrency transaction-based revenue was attributable to transactions in Dogecoin, as compared to 4 percent for the three months ended December 31, 2020,” the firm said in the initial filing.

Still, the company’s CEO Vlad Tenev is staring down allegations from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over his failure to register Robinhood Financial relating to compliance issues.

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