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ExxonMobil to Pay N350m Each as Severance Package to Sacked Senior Employees

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  • ExxonMobil to Pay N350m Each as Severance Package to Sacked Senior Employees

U.S. oil giant, ExxonMobil Corporation, will pay up to N350 million each to some of the sacked Nigerian employees as severance payments, driven by years of service and additional redundancy gratuities.

It was also learnt that of about six per cent of the workforce affected by the right sizing carried out by the firm, the average payment per person hovers around N140 million, including redundancy pay of about 36 months basic salary.

This is coming as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has invited the protesting oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) for a meeting tomorrow to resolve the labour crisis.

The aggrieved oil workers of the company on Thursday shut down the company’s corporate head office in Lagos indefinitely in protest over the attempt by the company to sack over 150 workers.

The protesting workers had accused the company of flagrant violation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act by deploying expatriates to take over jobs for which there is local capacity.

The workers had also insisted that the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Nolan O’Neal, must be relieved of his duties.

But top officials of the company who spoke off the record at the weekend said that 2016 was a challenging year for Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), a Nigerian affiliate of ExxonMobil, with the profitability of the affiliate being the worst in recent history.

According to one of the officials, while costs are down, revenue is down by almost three quarter, even as the company has spent more than its earnings to ensure that its contractors and employees were paid.

“Some of the resultant effects on the business have included scaled down operations, reduced personnel, uplift project deferments, and contract renegotiations. Against this backdrop, any responsible company would take steps to ensure survival,” he said.

He described the company’s ongoing redundancy programme, which he said was targeted at lower performing employees, as one of the steps taken by the company towards survival.

Another official of the company further revealed that the employees impacted accounted for only about six per cent of the workforce that were offered an enhanced benefits package in excess of the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed with the in-house union.

He added that post-employment support programmes to support their transition period from the company were also included in the package.

“The severance payments driven by years of service and additional redundancy gratuities are in some cases up to N350 million for an employee. For the total population affected, average payment per person hovers around N140 million.

“The pay package covered redundancy pay of about 36 months basic salary, Settling-in allowance of up to two months basic salary, additional pay to address economic realities of up to three months basic salary, and notice pay of three months basic salary,” he explained.

On the allegations of non-compliance with the extant laws and agreements levelled against the company, the official argued that neither the Nigerian labour law nor the CBA with the union requires alignment between the company and the union in the event of redundancy actions.

According to him, the CBA (Clause 23b) states that “whenever redundancy actions are contemplated, the company shall inform the association of the intended action and the association may bring to the company’s attention any problems that it believes are involved”.

He added that the Nigerian Labour Act (Clause 20a) also states that “in the event of redundancy, the employer shall inform the trade union or workers’ representative concerned of the reasons for and the extent of the anticipated redundancy”.

The official revealed that the union disagreed with the company’s notification, and also abandoned the provisions of the CBA, which specifically states in Clause 13b that “if a dispute arises during the subsistence of the agreement, either party shall comply with the current law governing Trade Disputes in Nigeria and neither party shall resort to arbitrary strike action or lockout”.

He accused the workers of disregarding the provisions of the CBA to embark on actions that “border on harassment of fellow employees, breach of security, health and safety protocols, destruction of the company’s property and other actions that impacted the general welfare of all personnel including their members”.

“We even understand that they shut down power to the staff clinic, and chased away medical personnel on duty, thereby putting the lives of patients at risk,” he added.

He further disclosed that even with the intervention of Kachikwu, who personally appealed to both the union chairman and secretary, extending invitations for a meeting tomorrow, the union resorted to taking steps that might impact production activities within 24 hours.

On the allegation by the workers that the company was hiring expatiates to replace Nigerians, the official disclosed that the company had demobilised 40 per cent of its expatriates in the wake of the current challenges.

According to him “We are at our lowest ever number of expats in country.”
Despite the clarification provided by a source in ExxonMobil, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said at the weekend that it would begin a three-day nationwide warning strike by January 9, 2017, against the anti-labour practice of the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the country.

The South-west chairman of the union, Alhaji Tokunbo, told newsmen in Lagos that the warning strike was inevitable because all other options had failed.
According to Korodo, “We are not gaining anything by going on strike because it is not a joyful thing but as a union, we have to protect and fight for the welfare of our members.

“We have sensitised the public and also sought the intervention of the federal government over the anti-labour activities of the IOCs on our members but we are not getting results.

“Our members that put in their best within the duration of time they worked were not paid their severance packages by their employers when they sacked them.

“This is a big slap and it will not be allowed. What they are practising here in Nigeria, they cannot practise in their countries, so that is why we say enough is enough. We will take the bull by the horn,” he said.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the chairman said that the issues leading to the planned warning strike were inherited by the present administration, while some occurred within the same government.

He said: “Two hundred and fifty members of our union were affected by the divestment by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., in the South-East.

“And this is giving us serious concern because they cannot feed their families. The Minister of Labour, Sen. Chris Ngige, asked all the parties to maintain the status-quo ante and we complied because we respect the authorities.

“But the IOCs seem to be above the law or more powerful than the government; they failed to maintain the status-quo ante that was amicably agreed to by both parties.

“Chevron had to tell our 250 members that their contracts with it were no more binding on it because it cannot trace the company that employed them as contract workers for it.

“The minister said that Chevron had to pay the sacked workers but its management refused to comply. It got to a time when Sen. Ngige called for a meeting in Abuja to mediate; at times its representatives would not show up.
“We would risk our lives and resources and go to Abuja, no IOCs member would come.

“Even when their representatives came, they would be those without a mandate to represent the organisation just to frustrate the discussion,” he said.

He said all the IOCs in the country were involved in the anti-labour practices. “We do not want the public to experience the strike as though we are unnecessarily punishing Nigerians.

“That’s why we are using this period to protest by asking tanker drivers to hang green leaves on their trucks and our members to wear red cloth.

“By next year, if our grievances are not addressed within this period, we will proceed on a three-day warning strike. If the government and people concerned are not able to apprehend and resolve it, we may be forced to turn the strike into an indefinite one,” he said.

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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USAID/Power Africa Announces $2.6m in Healthcare Electrification Grants to Solar Energy Companies in Nine Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

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 Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announces grants totaling $2,620,650 to solar energy companies to provide reliable, affordable off-grid electricity to nearly 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nearly 60 percent of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 percent of hospitals and 28 percent of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access.  Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilization equipment, diagnostics, cold storage for vaccines and medication, information technology, and lights to enable the delivery of continuous health care services. Efficient health services and responses to diseases – including COVID-19 – depend on reliable access to electricity.

In support of the accelerated provision of off-grid solar energy to healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, Power Africa is awarding grants to the following solar energy companies: 

  • Havenhill Synergy Ltd. (Nigeria)
  • KYA-Energy Group (Togo)
  • Muhanya Solar Ltd. (Zambia)
  • Nanoé (Madagascar)
  • OffGridBox (Rwanda)
  • OnePower (Lesotho)
  • PEG Solar (Ghana)
  • SolarWorks! (Mozambique)
  • Zuwa Energy (Malawi)

These companies will utilize Power Africa funding to provide off-grid solar electricity solutions to 288 healthcare facilities across the nine countries represented.

“Solar energy holds great potential to expand and improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar technology offers a clean, affordable, and smart solution to electrify healthcare facilities located beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Acting Coordinator. “Power Africa’s experience shows that off-grid solar energy systems can be rapidly deployed to even the most rural facilities.”

“These awards demonstrate what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors join together to break down the barriers to reliable electricity for rural healthcare facilities,” said Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID, on September 22, 2020 during a virtual event announcing the grant awardees.

ABOUT THE GRANTEES AND HOW THEY WILL POWER HEALTHCARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Havenhill Synergy will electrify 21 rural healthcare facilities in Oyo State, Nigeria, using an energy-as-a-service business model. The facilities are mostly within peri-urban communities with limited reliable electricity access. Havenhill will provide long-term operation and maintenance of the solar energy systems.

KYA-Energy Group will electrify 20 health centers in Togo. In addition to electricity access, KYA will provide automated solar hand washing stations for infection prevention and solar phone charging stations for generating additional income.  

In partnership with the Churches Health Association of Zambia, Muhanya Solar Ltd. will provide electricity access to seven rural health facilities in Zambia. Muhanya will also electrify staff housing to generate revenue for the operation and maintenance of the solar systems installed at the health facilities. 

Nanoé will electrify 35 rural health facilities in the Ambanja and Ambilobe districts of Madagascar. The company will deploy nano-grids with the health facilities as anchors and connections running to staff housing. Electricity will be sold to the surrounding communities to generate income for the operation and maintenance of the nano-grids. 

With their containerized solution, OffGridBox will provide renewable energy and clean water to six rural clinics in Rwanda. The company will also set up a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) business model, selling electricity and clean water to the surrounding communities.

OnePower will electrify seven rural health facilities in Lesotho, using the facilities as anchor loads for mini-grids. In addition to powering the health facilities, the mini-grids will provide electricity access for rural communities served by the facilities. 

PEG Solar will provide electricity access to 91 rural community healthcare facilities in Ghana. PEG will adopt a private sector approach to energy service delivery for public health facilities, enabling rapid electrification of the facilities while significantly reducing the upfront financial burden of transitioning to solar energy. 

SolarWorks! will electrify 92 rural healthcare facilities in Mozambique’s Sofala province. To ensure sustainability of the systems beyond the grant implementation period, SolarWorks! will cover operational and maintenance costs of the solar energy systems for five years.

Zuwa Energy will install solar energy solutions in nine health facilities in Malawi. Electricity access will enable the facilities to provide higher-quality health services throughout the day and more comprehensive services at night. Additionally, Zuwa will electrify staff housing with the aim to increase staff wellbeing and retention rates.

“Through these grants, USAID is investing in a set of pilot projects that demonstrate how healthcare electrification can be delivered in a commercially sustainable manner, with strong private sector involvement,” said David Stonehill, the Lead for Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.  “These grants demonstrate the Power Africa model in action:  We use a modest amount of public funding to de-risk transactions, thus opening the door for private investment.”

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Market Cap of Five Largest Hotel Chains Decline by $25.2bn Amid Coronavirus Crisis

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World`s Five Largest Hotel Chains Lost $25.2bn in Market Cap Amid Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus outbreak has affected every sector across the globe, but the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Although hotels implemented increased safety and sanitation measures and cautiously reopened for the summer travel season, recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take years.

According to data presented by Stock Apps, the combined market capitalization of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, as the five largest hotel chains in the world, hit $79.2bn in September, a $25.2bn plunge since the beginning of 2020.

Marriot International Witnessed the Biggest Market Cap Drop in 2020

To curb the spread of the virus, countries across the world have imposed lockdown rules, leading to thousands of canceled vacations, and closed hotels between March and May. Although many of them lifted off travel restrictions in the last three months, the first two quarters of the year produced colossal revenue and market cap drops to the largest hotel chains globally.

The market cap of Wyndham Worldwide, the biggest hotel chain in the world by the number of hotels, stood at $5.89bn in December, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. By the end of March, this figure dropped to $2.93bn. Although the second and third quarter of 2020 brought a recovery, the combined value of stocks of the U.S. corporation, which owns 8,092 hotels, stood at over $5bn in September, an $870 million plunge since the beginning of the year.

The second-largest hotel chain globally, Choice Hotels International, lost $440 million in market capitalization amid the coronavirus crisis. In December 2019, the total value of stocks of the company that owns 7,118 properties amounted to $5.76bn. During the last nine months, this figure dropped to $5.32bn.

However, statistics indicate that Marriot International, the third-largest hotel chain with 5,974 hotels in more than 110 countries, witnessed the most significant drop in market capitalization since the beginning of the year. In December, the combined value of stocks of the Washington-based corporation stood at $49.51bn. By the end of the second quarter, it halved to $24.25bn. Although the company’s market cap recovered to $33.86bn in September, this figure still represents a 31% plunge since the beginning of 2020.

Intercontinental and Hilton Lost $8.3bn in Total Stock Value

Intercontinental Hotels Group ranked as the fourth largest hotel chain globally, with 5,070 hotels across nearly 100 countries. Statistics indicate the market capitalization of the British multinational hospitality company amounted to $12.3bn in December 2019. After falling to $6.2bn in March, it rose to $9.7bn in September, a 21% plunge amid the coronavirus crisis.

The total value of Hilton Worldwide Holdings stocks, the fifth-largest chain of hotels globally, dropped by $5.66bn since the beginning of 2020. In December, the market cap of the hotel group that generated around $9.45bn in revenue last year stood at $30.94bn. After a sharp drop caused by the Black Monday crash, it recovered to $25.28bn in September. Nevertheless, the figure represents an 18% fall since the beginning of the year. Statistics show two hotel groups lost $8.3bn in combined market capitalization amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Premier League Brand Value Hit €8.5bn, Bigger than La Liga and Bundesliga Combined

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Brand Value: Premier League Worth €8.5bn, More than La Liga and Bundesliga Combined

The revenues of the big five European football leagues have soared in the last twenty years, reaching €17bn in the season 2018/2019. However, English Premier League convincingly tops the list of professional football competitions in Europe, both in terms of profit and brand value.

According to data presented by Safe Betting, Premier League hit €8.5bn in brand value in 2020, 19% more than La Liga and Bundesliga combined.

€1.5 bn Higher Revenue than Other Top Football Leagues

Besides leading in brand value, the Premier League also generates the highest revenue of all the European football leagues and has the highest operating profit. Although the coronavirus outbreak caused a massive financial hit to England’s top division teams, Premier League clubs are still expected to generate at least €1.5 bn more than their counterparts in Germany and Spain, revealed the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2020.

The reason for that is broadcasting rights. Statistics indicate the Premier League clubs are set to reach €2.4 bn in revenue from broadcasting rights this season. Commercial revenues are forecast to hit €1.7bn value in 2020, a €139 million increase year-on-year. Matchday profits follow with €614 million in revenue this season.

Manchester United tops the list of the professional football clubs in England, with over €1.3bn in brand value in 2020, revealed the Brand Finance Football 50 – 2020 survey. Statistics show the club generated €627 million in revenue last year, while its wage costs amounted to €352 million. The 2019 Global Sports Salaries Survey also revealed that Manchester United’s first-team players earned an average of €6.8 million last season, ranking as the second leading football club in Premier League and seventh globally.

Liverpool FC hit over €1.2bn brand value this year, the second-largest among all Premier League clubs. Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2020 showed the club generated €533 million in revenue in season 2019/2020, while its first-team members earned an average of €6.1 million last year. Liverpool also represents the second most-expensive football team globally, with €1.02bn in the combined market value of its 30 players.

Manchester City ranked as the third most valuable football brand in England, with over €1.1bn in brand value in 2020. However, statistics show the club, which generated €538 million in revenue last season, tops the list of the highest-priced football teams in 2020, with €1.04bn in the combined market value of its 31 players. In the 2019/2020 season, Manchester City had an average annual first-team member salary of €7.7 million, the highest among all Premier League clubs.

La Liga Has the Most Valuable Football Club Brands

Although La Liga ranked as the second leading European football league with almost €4bn in brand value in 2020, statistics show the two top Spanish clubs represent the most valuable football brands globally.

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona both hit over €1.4bn in brand value this year, accounting for 70% of the total brand value of the highest-leveled Spanish football league.

Statistics show the first-team players of Real Madrid, the world’s largest football brand, earned an average of €9.45 million this season. At the same time, their combined market value hit €930.3 million, ranking them as the fifth most-expensive football team in the world.

FC Barcelona, the second most valuable football brand in the world, tops the list of European football clubs with a €10.4 million average annual player salary in the season 2019/2020. The club’s players also represent the third most expensive football team globally, with €1bn in their combined market value. Moreover, the Spanish football giant hit a record revenue of €813.3 million in the season 2018/2019 and ranked as the biggest cash-generating football club for the first time.

With €3.2bn in brand value or 2.6 times less than Premier League, Bundesliga ranked as the third most valuable European football league. The leading German football club and the sixth globally, FC Bayern München, accounts for one-third of that figure, with over €1bn in brand value this year.

Italy’s Serie A and French Ligue 1 follow, with 1.8bn and 1.2bn in brand value, respectively.

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