14 Sep

Daily Watch – Arik goes dark and comes back, Microfinance banks get BVN mandate

  • Arik Air has announced that it will resume normal flights operations on today, hours after announcing the suspension of its services. Airline spokesman, Olabanji Ola, said the airline will notify passengers and customers that flight services will resume at 11 am. The update comes hours after the airline —whose fleet of 28 aircraft— announced an indefinite suspension of operations, which left thousands of travellers stranded as the Sallah holidays ended. Arik blamed a delay in “approval of documentation” caused by the public holiday which was followed a “long weekend” for the interruptions. Deputy MD, Ado Sanusi told Bloomberg that the suspension was caused when the airline’s original insurer failed to secure the foreign currency needed to remit premiums abroad. “This situation is likely to continue for the next few days until such time that NAICOM approves a waiver on a priority basis for the new insurance company to renew the policy,” a statement said. Arik is the third Nigerian carrier, and the largest so far, to suffer significant operational disruptions as a result of the country’s ongoing foreign currency shortages (Aero) or maintenance requirements (FirstNation).
  • The CBN plans to extend the BVN registration exercise to customers of other Financial Institutions – which include Microfinance Banks and Primary Mortgage Institutions, according to its Director, Banking and Payment Systems Department, Dipo Fatokun. Fatokun, who made the disclosure at a bi-monthly forum organised by Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria, said the CBN would have OFIs customers enrol through deposit money banks because of the high cost of procuring the machines. “We are considering using commercial banks as registration points for the OFIs customers. We also expect that many of the OFIs customers, who already have their BVNs, will supply the data to their banks, while those without BVN will register afresh,” he said.
  • Puma Energy, a player in the downstream sector, has announced the delivery of its first cargo of bitumen to its Calabar terminal under a joint venture with WABECO Petroleum Ltd, registered as P.E. Bitumen Resources (Nigeria) Limited. According to a statement over the weekend, the cargo was delivered by MT Acacia Rubra, which completed the discharge earlier in the month. The company recently announced results for Q1 2016 where it recorded a 21 percent increase in sales volumes supporting gross profit growth, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, depletion, amortisation and exploration expenses (EBITDAX) rose by 19 percent, with contained operating expenses. The company has the world’s largest system of bitumen ships and terminals and operates in 47 countries across five continents.
  • NSE CEO, Oscar Onyema says there is significant market potential for green bonds in Nigeria. Speaking during a stakeholders’ consultation on the pilot issuance of green bonds, organised by the ministries of finance and environment, he said that as a developing market of 180 million people, with projected annual emissions of 900 million tonnes, the country required significant capital to develop mitigation and adaptation interventions that would cushion the effect of global warming. The bonds are to serve as a product that can leverage and channel resources towards viable green projects and contribute to the achievement of the nation’s development objectives.
  • GTBank CEO, Segun Agbaje has assured shareholders that the bank will maintain a robust dividend in spite of current operational headwinds. GTBank, which is one of only a handful of banks that pays a dividend bi-annually, returns about 50 percent of its profit to shareholders, and has already recommended an interim 25 kobo for the H1 ended June 30. Speaking about the bank’s H1 results during a conference call last week, Agbaje said the financial institution will not change its payout ratio. “I don’t see any reason in changing what our dividend payout ratio as long as you have enough capital and (our) capital adequacy today is over 18 per cent. So for as long as capital adequacy remains that high we are going to keep at that dividend payout ratio,” he said. Agbaje said the ₦125 billion profit before tax target for the year is still on course despite the challenging operating environment. GTBank has already recorded a PBT of ₦91.38 billion for the H1 2016.