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No Plan to Reduce Nigerian Flights – Lufthansa

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Lufthansa
  • No Plan to Reduce Nigerian Flights

An international carrier, Lufthansa Airline, yesterday said it had no plan to reduce its flight operations in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the airline’s Media Consultant, Mr. Hakeem Jimoh, made the disclosure to aviation correspondents in Lagos.

Two foreign airlines, Emirates and Kenya Airways , recently announced the suspension of their flights to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

While Emirates Airlines said it would stop flights to Abuja from October 22, Kenya Airways said its flights to the nation’s capital would be suspended from November 15.

Both airlines attributed the decision to the economic downturn in the country, foreign exchange challenges, and the shrinking passenger traffic.

Jimoh said Lufthansa Airline, which operates flights to Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airports, would not be following a similar path for now.

“Yes, there has been challenges, particularly with the issue of forex, but I can tell you that Lufthansa has no plan for now to reduce flight operations in Nigeria,” he said.

Jimoh said Lufthansa had been operating in Nigeria for over 50 years, adding that the country was important to the airline’s operation, especially in West Africa.

The efforts of the current administration in the aviation sector have received a boost with the coming in of Airbus Group of France to set up an office in Nigeria.

The Ambassador of France in Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer who led a delegation of the Airbus Group to the office of the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika in Abuja yesterday, confirmed the coming in of the Airbus group to Nigeria.

Gauer informed the minister that the largest aircraft manufacturers and leasers in the world, the Airbus Group, have concluded plans to open an operational office in Nigeria as a mark of confidence in the government agenda for the aviation industry in Nigeria.

Similarly, the Vice President of the Airbus Group for Africa, Mr. Vincent Larnicol, informed the minister that Airbus Group had expanded upon its strong European roots to move forward on an international scale with fully-owned subsidiaries in more than 150 field service offices around the world.

According to him, “Airbus, in its desire to get closer to its customers, is also actively developing engineering, manufacturing and service capabilities in Europe, China, India, Russia, the Middle East, Singapore and the United States.”
This, he said, also informed the decision to establish its presence in Nigeria with the opening of an operational office.

Larnicol expressed the group’s interest in the federal government’s plan to concession major airports across the country, as well as the establishment of a national carrier, while also commending government’s plan to establish an aircraft leasing company in view of the inherent difficulties in acquiring new aircraft.

The Airbus Group also promised to collaborate, through its co-operation programme, with the Nigerian government in the establishment of an Aviation University to which the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is largely committed.

Sirika informed the ambassador and the Airbus delegation that the vision of the government for the aviation sector included repositioning domestic airlines to make them competitive and profitable, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities and development of human capital for the anticipated expansion of the sector.

According to the minister, “The plan of the Preisdent Muhammadu Buhari government was to gradually reposition the Nigerian aviation industry in such a way that would turn the nation into a regional hub for air transportation, given the ICAO forecast of a quadruple growth for the nation’s air travel in the next ten years.”

He expressed Nigeria’s preparedness to collaborate with all genuine partners, insisting, however, that government decisions and actions would always be guided by the protection of the national interest.

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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Experts Reacts to Shoprite Planned Exit From Nigeria

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Shoprite Planned Exit Triggers Experts Reaction

Experts have expressed their concerns over the decision of Shoprite Holding Limited to exit the Nigerian Market, Africa’s largest economy, at a period that unemployment is projected to hit 39.4 million.

On Monday, Africa’s largest retail company, Shoprite, announced it would commence a former process of exiting the Nigerian market or sell a major stake to willing investors that it claimed have started approaching its organisation for a possible partnership.

Experts, who spoke with our correspondents, said the decision would worsen Nigeria’s present economic position, especially with Osinbajo-led committee predicting that unemployment could hit 39.4  million in 2020.

Dr. Musa Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  said the Shoprite move would impact investors’ interest in Nigeria. Yusuf is likely making reference to a series of other factors hurting Nigeria’s economic outlook in recent months.

Barely a month ago, OPay, one of Nigeria’s promising startups started by a Chinese company, announced it will be shutting down some of its business units in Nigeria due to harsh business environment and other COVID-19 related issues. That was a company that raised about $270 million about a year ago.

The series of uncertainties hurting businesses amid unclear economic path have left many investors and businesses seeking exit plan. Even at that, several of the foreign-owned businesses and investments are stuck in the country with their owners unable to access foreign exchange to repatriate their funds.

A recent report showed the Central Bank of Nigeria has over $5 billion forex backlog, yet the nation’s external reserves is hovering around $36 billion since plunging from $45 billion in June 2019.

Prof. Uche Uwalaka, a professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University in Keffi, said, “The exit of Shoprite, or any other foreign business for that matter, ordinarily should be a cause for concern especially for a country like Nigeria that is in dire need of foreign direct investment.”

“The importance of Foreign Direct investment, especially in the area of job creation cannot be overemphasised.

Speaking on the matter, Samed Olukoya, CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, explained that “Shoprite just upped Nigeria’s economic uncertainties barely a month after OPay and other foreign-owned companies commenced their process of shutting down or have already shut down part or most of their operations in Nigeria.

He added that “at this rate, it would be hard to increase capital importation or boost  the nation’s Foreign Direct Investment with negative economic outlook and weak investment sentiment.

 

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Custodian Investment to Purchase 51% Stake in UACN Property Company

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custodian and UACN Deal

Custodian Investment to Acquire 9.5bn Shares in UACN Property Company

The management of UAC of Nigeria Plc on Monday announced that they have entered into a binding agreement with Custodian Investment Plc for Custodian to acquire a 51 percent equity interest in UACN Property Development Company Plc (UPDC) from UAC.

In the statement released by the UAC of Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company said Custodian will acquire 9,465,584,668 UPDC ordinary shares held by UAC, representing 51 percent of UPDC’s issued share capital.

The company further stated that the sale of shares will be done in two tranches.

The first phase includes an initial sale of 946,558,467 shares, representing 5.10 percent of the issued capital of UPDC, on the execution of binding transaction agreements.

This will be followed by a sale of 8,519,026,201 shares, representing 45.90 percent of the issued share cpaital of UPDC upon receipt of requisite approvals.

According to UAC, the agreement marks the start of a new partnership between Custodian and UAC that will achieve both companies’ objectives in the real estate sector. It also marks a significant milestone aligned with UAC’s strategy to focus on its core businesses.

Commenting on the partnership, Wole Oshin, Group Managing Director of Custodian Investment PLC, said: “We at Custodian are excited about the possibilities arising from this partnership with UAC which provides multiple levers for value creation. The rationale for the Transaction is that Custodian and UAC share the view that their ambitions for capturing opportunity in the real estate industry will be better achieved working in partnership.

“UPDC is one of Nigeria’s leading real estate development companies, having completed several landmark residential and commercial developments over the past twenty years. This Transaction will provide Custodian with a platform to capture arising real estate opportunities. It also immediately provides recurring cash flow visibility and attractive yields as a result of its direct exposure to Nigeria’s leading real estate investment trust (“UPDC REIT”) with a track record of profitability and annual dividend distribution which offers a good compliment for our product portfolio.

“We are confident that the recent recapitalisation of UPDC, significant reduction in finance costs, and recently reconstituted leadership have repositioned the company to operate sustainably and capture growth opportunities aimed at increasing stakeholder value going forward.”

Also, commenting on the deal was Folasope Aiyesimoju, Group Managing Director of UAC, Aiyesimoju said: “The Transaction is a significant step in achieving our objectives for UPDC. In 2018, the Board and management of UAC embarked on a strategic review to evaluate the performance of the company and its subsidiaries. The objective was to achieve sustainable positive financial performance from our existing operations and enable management focus on businesses that align with our strategy.

“In reviewing UPDC, the Board weighed the long-term opportunities in the Nigerian real estate sector against the fundamental differences between the cash flow profile and capital needs of UPDC and those of the other entities in UAC’s portfolio. Following its review, the Board concluded that it would be in the best interest of UAC to exit its interest in the real estate sector, allowing UPDC to operate as a standalone legal entity, free to source appropriately structured capital and to unlock value for its shareholders.

“In September 2019, the Boards of Directors of UAC and UPDC jointly announced three significant strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening UPDC and positioning the company to operate as a standalone entity. This included a rights issue to recapitalise the business, plans for UAC to transfer UAC’s equity interest in UPDC pro-rata to UAC’s shareholders (“UPDC Unbundling”), and plans for UPDC to unbundle the UPDC REIT to its shareholders (“UPDC REIT Unbundling”). The ₦16 billion UPDC rights issue was successfully completed in April 2020, proceeds of which were used to reduce borrowing costs and significantly improve UPDC’s capital position.

“In the process of progressing the unbundling initiatives, UAC received a credible offer from Custodian. The terms of the offer compelled the Board to re-evaluate the planned approach to deconsolidate UPDC and influenced the Board’s decision to proceed with the sale of a portion of UAC’s interest in UPDC to Custodian, effectively putting an end to the UPDC Unbundling.

“We are delighted about the positive impact that a strong anchor shareholder like Custodian will have on UPDC and are focused on ensuring a smooth transition.”

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Forex Scarcity Weighs on Manufacturing Sector

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Steel Manufacture At Evraz Plc West-Siberian Metallurgical Plant

Manufacturing Sector Suffers from Lack of Dollar Liquidity

The  Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, has said lack of dollar availability continues to weigh on the manufacturing sector in the first half of the year as the sector recorded its third consecutive month of contraction in the month of July.

According to Yusuf, several manufacturers had to source for forex on the black market, increasing scarcity on the already stressed section of the forex even more. This, other experts have blamed for the high Dollar-Naira exchange rate on the black market.

On Monday, the Naira was exchanged at N473 to a US dollar on the parallel market popularly known as the black market. The local currency gained N2 from the N475 it was exchanged before the Sallah holiday to N473 on Monday when the market opened.

“Across, practically, all sectors, we are experiencing cost escalation, loss of credit lines enjoyed from foreign creditors, forex remittance challenges and many more.  We need an urgent response from the CBN to calm the situation and restore confidence in our foreign exchange management framework,” Yusuf stated.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said most of its 2,000 members have been hit by the dollar shortage and wide foreign exchange rate that is presently eroding their profits.

“If the situation persists, it will lead to lay-offs. If you are not producing, there will be a shortage of goods in the market, prices will go up,” he added

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