17 Dec

Daily Watch – Fine threatens to bankrupt MTN, Naira may soon find equilibrium

  • Two weeks to a deadline to pay a $3.9 billion fine imposed by the NCC on the MTN Group, there are concerns that the fine will bankrupt the company. The December 31 fine, which was imposed for a failure to switch off unregistered mobile-phone customers, was revised down from an original penalty of $5.2 billion. Analysts say that without an immediate equity injection, the cash payment required by the NCC implies that MTN Nigeria will be thrown into negative net-worth on January 1, 2016. $3.9 billion is the equivalent to 42.2 percent of MTN Nigeria‚Äôs market capitalisation, 455.7 percent of its net assets and 94.6 percent of 2014 revenues.
  • The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has upheld the ruling of the gubernatorial election tribunal in Rivers state. In a 110-page ruling delivered by Justice M.B. Dongban-Mensem, the Court ruled that the election of Nyesom Wike did not conform with the electoral act. The Court has ordered a rerun within 90 days. The five-man tribunal headed by Justice Suleiman Ambrosa had, in a judgement on October 24, voided Wike’s election as governor of Rivers State and ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election in the state.
  • There might be a need to adjust the naira above its upper band as the price of oil continues to slide to levels that suggest more pressure on already dwindling foreign exchange reserve. BusinessDay reports that analysts across a wide spectrum say the CBN’s move to maintain the current exchange rate regime is understandable, given the potential inflationary impact of devaluations on an import dependent country like Nigeria. Economists however say that if the regulator allows the forces of demand and supply to determine the exchange rate, the naira will likely track the move in oil prices. When this happens, the currency will find its true value at the equilibrium point.
  • The Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola has said that the sixth turbine belonging to Egbin Power will come on stream in January, bringing the total electricity megawatts to be generated by the plant to 1,320 MW. At the moment five of the six turbines generate about 1,100 MW, but with the rehabilitation work on the sixth turbine billed for completion next month, the plant would step up.
  • The Federal Government has concluded plans to pay the $2 billion counterpart funding for the Lagos-Calabar standard gauge railway, a deal that Nigeria’s government signed with the Chinese government since 2009. The rail line will connect Lagos to Calabar and will also pass through Obudu, Uyo, Aba, Port Harcourt, Yenegoa, Otuoke, Yenegoa, Sapele, Agbor, Ijebuode, Ore, and Sagamu.