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Viaplay Group Faces a Crossroads: Entire Organization Up for Sale Amidst $574 Million Loss

Viaplay’s CEO Takes Responsibility for $574 Million Loss, Aims to Revive Streaming Giant
Viaplay Group’s Battle for Survival: CFO Seeks Solutions Amidst Looming Financial Crisis

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Viaplay

Viaplay Group, a Swedish streaming service company, has put the entire organization up for sale following a substantial loss of 5.89 billion kronor ($574 million) in the second quarter of this year.

The company, which competes with Netflix, has also made the difficult decision to lay off over 25% of its workforce and withdraw from various markets.

The company has now lost 80% of its market value after slashing guidance for 2023 and replacing its chief executive officer in early June.

Investors King understands that the decline was due to the aggressive “pursuit of subscriber volume growth” that cost the company its value.

Jorgen Madsen Lindemann, the Chief Executive Officer, admitted that the assumptions made regarding their initiatives, particularly the international expansion, did not yield the expected results.

He also acknowledged that content costs in the Nordics were surpassing their revenues.

“It’s a fact that the assumptions on the range of initiatives that we have had, particularly around international expansion, are not adding up,” Lindemann said by phone.

“We also see that our content cost in the Nordics are to some extent exceeding our revenues.”

In response to these challenges, Viaplay is now focusing on its operations in the Nordic region, the Netherlands, and Viaplay Select. Simultaneously, they are exploring effective solutions such as partnerships, asset sales, and market exits for their other markets before 2024.

To address their financial situation, the organization must negotiate with creditors and tackle funding challenges through discussions with lenders, banks, and bondholders, as pointed out by Chief Financial Officer Enrique Patrickson.

“The core bank group we work with is very aware of the situation and is looking at our cash profile,” the CFO said via phone, adding that the potential covenant breach relates to the firm’s projection of a negative free cash flow for both 2023 and 2024.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Dangote’s $20 Billion Refinery to Begin Petrol Sales Next Month

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Petrol - Investors King

Aliko Dangote announced on Monday that his long-awaited $20 billion refinery complex will commence petrol sales starting next month.

The announcement came during a press briefing held at the refinery site in Lagos, where Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, detailed the project’s progress and future plans.

“We are proud to announce that the Dangote Refinery will begin selling petrol from August,” Dangote stated confidently.

“This milestone marks the culmination of years of meticulous planning, construction, and overcoming numerous challenges.”

Dangote’s refinery, touted as the largest single-train refinery in the world, is designed to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day once fully operational.

The facility aims to not only meet Nigeria’s domestic demand for refined petroleum products but also contribute significantly to export markets across West Africa.

“We have entered the steady-state production phase earlier this year, and now we are ready to begin commercial sales,” Dangote explained. “Initially, we will focus on petrol production, with plans to expand our product range as we ramp up to full capacity.”

The refinery’s launch is expected to alleviate Nigeria’s longstanding dependence on imported refined products, thereby boosting the country’s energy security and reducing foreign exchange outflows associated with fuel imports.

Beyond petrol sales, Dangote revealed ambitious plans to list both the refinery and its associated fertilizer plant on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) by the first quarter of 2025.

This move aims to attract broader investor participation and unlock additional value for shareholders.

“We are committed to transparency and accountability in our operations,” Dangote emphasized. “Listing these subsidiaries on the NGX will not only strengthen our corporate governance framework but also enhance the refinery’s financial sustainability.”

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite celebrating the imminent commencement of petrol sales, Dangote acknowledged challenges encountered during the project’s execution, including delays in securing land for a petrochemical facility in Ogun State, which incurred substantial costs.

“We faced bureaucratic hurdles that resulted in significant delays and financial losses,” Dangote lamented. “Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing Nigeria’s industrial capabilities and contributing to economic growth.”

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NNPC’s Stake in Dangote Refinery Drops to 7.2% Due to Unpaid Balance

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Dangote Refinery

Aliko Dangote, the Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Refinery, announced that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited’s stake in the refinery has dropped from the previously held 20% to a mere 7.2%.

This reduction is attributed to NNPC’s failure to pay the balance of their shareholding dues, which was expected last month in June.

Dangote disclosed this during a media parley held at the refinery on Sunday, shedding light on the current ownership structure and the financial commitments made by the national oil company.

“The agreement was actually for 20%, but NNPC did not pay the balance of the money up till last year. We then gave them another extension up to June 2024, and they decided to remain at the 7.2% stake for which they had already paid,” Dangote stated.

This revelation has come as a surprise to many Nigerians who had been under the impression that the NNPC maintained a 20% stake in the refinery.

The reduction in ownership highlights the financial challenges faced by the state-owned oil company.

In 2021, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had championed the decision to acquire a stake in the Dangote Refinery, citing the profit potential and the strategic importance of having a say in the refinery’s operations.

The investment was seen as critical to ensuring energy security for Nigeria and supporting the country’s fiscal stability.

Earlier this year, NNPC’s audited financial statements indicated that the corporation had acquired a 20% stake in Dangote Refinery for $2.76 billion.

This included a $1.036 billion funding from Lekki Refinery Funding Limited, of which $1 billion was paid to Dangote Refinery and $36 million covered transaction costs.

During the media parley, Dangote addressed various issues, including the challenges of supplying crude to the refinery.

He confirmed that the refinery has been sourcing crude from the United States and Brazil, while also noting the government’s intervention to resolve the supply issues.

The Dangote Refinery, located in the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos, is a massive project with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day (BPD). Once fully operational, it aims to become Africa’s largest oil refinery and the world’s largest single-train facility.

The refinery is expected to generate approximately 9,500 direct jobs and an additional 25,000 indirect jobs, significantly boosting the local economy.

In addition to refining, the facility includes a fertiliser plant that will use by-products from the refinery as raw materials, further enhancing its economic and environmental impact.

The refinery is projected to produce around 50 million litres of petrol and 15 million litres of diesel daily, along with significant quantities of jet fuel and other petroleum products.

The reduction of NNPC’s stake underscores the financial complexities surrounding large-scale investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

As the Dangote Refinery nears full operation, the focus will be on how effectively it can address the country’s energy needs and contribute to economic growth, despite the challenges faced by its stakeholders.

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Dangote Refinery Buys 11 Million Barrels of American Crude Due to Domestic Shortages

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Dangote refinery

The Dangote Refinery has announced plans to acquire an additional 11 million barrels of crude oil from the United States.

In a tender viewed by Bloomberg, Dangote Refinery purchased five million barrels of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland crude for delivery next month and in September.

The company has also initiated a tender process to buy another six million barrels of American crude for September.

Despite its reliance on local crude supplies, the refinery near Lagos has been forced to seek imports to sustain its operations.

With the ability to source crude from offshore terminals in just a few days, the refinery took in over 41 million barrels of feedstock in the first half of the year.

Notably, about a quarter of this amount was sourced from the United States.

Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote Group, explained the necessity of importing crude oil as the refinery scales up production and explores alternative supply contracts.

“It makes economic sense for us to tender for crude. If we could source 100 percent Nigerian crude, then fine, but we can’t wait,” Dangote stated at the Africa CEO Forum 2024.

He further said it is important for a mix of different crude types to optimize operations, given the current limitations in domestic production.

The refinery’s recent acquisition contrasts with its earlier deliveries, which included 11 WTI cargoes, or nine million barrels, between February and May, alongside approximately 18 million barrels of Nigerian crude.

This move to secure a longer-term offtake agreement indicates a commitment to diversifying crude sources, particularly during a period of weak demand for Nigerian supply.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), which holds a 20 percent equity stake in the refinery, has faced difficulties meeting its 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude oil obligation.

In June, Nigeria’s crude output was around 1.28 million barrels per day, significantly below its estimated production capacity of 2.6 million barrels per day.

Factors such as crude theft, aging oil pipelines, low investment, and divestments by major oil companies have all contributed to declining production.

Despite various assurances from the federal government and the NNPC about meeting the country’s OPEC quota, Nigeria recorded an estimated 30 million barrels of underproduction in the first four months of 2024.

Efforts to curb insecurity in the Niger Delta, where Nigeria’s oil is extracted, have included a multi-billion-naira contract with local security groups and substantial spending on official security agencies. Nonetheless, oil theft, asset vandalism, and sabotage remain rampant in the region.

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