14 Aug

Daily Watch – Zenith punished for stingy dividends, Hundreds riot for jobs in Rivers

  • Hundreds of people stormed a crude oil facility and gas plant owned by Shell in the Niger Delta on Friday demanding jobs and infrastructure development, Reuters quotes a witness as saying. Echoing a common complaint in the region that produces most of Nigeria’s oil, the protesters said they were not benefiting from the region’s oil wealth and wanted an end to the oil pollution that has ruined much of the land. Soldiers and security guards did not disperse the crowd as it entered the Belema Flow Station in Rivers State, which feeds oil into Shell’s Bonny export terminal. The company said it had evacuated staff late on Thursday and shut the facility when it became clear the protesters were on their way there. The army sent in 30 extra soldiers after protesters said they planned to stay at the facility for two weeks.
  • The CBN through the BOI, is poised to enhance the country’s biodiesel refining capacity with the establishment of Nigeria’s first biodiesel refinery in Kogi, which will cost $500,000, according to the Director of Agronomy at the Kogi Biofuel Refinery Nigeria Limited, Emmanuel Ogu. The project is expected to commence operations by 2018 in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. A few European nations and some American states have recently announced that vehicles and equipment running on fossil fuel would be banned by 2040 and be replaced by biofuel oil, electricity and solar-powered automobiles and machines. The refinery, when completed, would turn out 100,000 litres of biodiesel from the Jatropha plant which is an eco-friendly fuel.
  • Shares in Zenith Bank fell for a second session in a row on Friday after the lender declared a lower than expected interim dividend, despite a sharp rise in first-half earnings. The top tier Nigerian lender said late on Thursday its pretax profit in the first six months jumped 71 percent to ₦92.2 billion ($264 million) and it declared a ₦0.25 interim dividend. Traders said investors were expecting a higher payout at the half-year point to continue holding the stock, which had doubled in value by the end of July from its 2017 low hit on March 13. The stock fell 1 percent to ₦23.75 on Friday, the lowest since July 26. Stanbic Stockbrokers upgraded its target price to ₦28.60 from ₦25 and forecast the bank’s full-year pretax profit would come in at ₦184 billion, up 18 percent.
  • The New Nigeria Development Company says it will invest $15 million in a partnership with a Turkish firm, Sur International Textile, to reactivate the ailing Kaduna Textile company. The Group Managing Director, Ahmed Musa, said this to newsmen shortly after a closed-door meeting with a Turkish business delegation at the NNDC’s head office in Kaduna. The delegation had earlier inspected the site of the firm and the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, both at the Kakuri Industrial Layout in Kaduna. According to the proposal, the Turkish firm will provide 35 percent of the funding, the federal government 45 percent and KTL will give 20 percent of the funds. Musa said in the short term, the KTL would produce uniform needs for the Nigerian Armed Forces as well as the police and other paramilitary agencies in the country, and across the West Africa subregion.