19 Oct

Daily Watch – Oando’s SEC suspension spooks investors, TCN goes under the knife

  • The House of Representatives will investigate $2 billion of foreign loans which the state-owned national electricity grid operator may have raised without official approval. Nigeria privatised most of its power sector in 2013 but retained control of the dilapidated monopoly grid operator, the Transmission Company of Nigeria. Simon Arabo, a member of the House of Representatives, said in a motion that the TCN had borrowed $1.5 billion from the World Bank and other international lenders without securing the approval of the National Assembly as required. He described the grid operator’s contract processes as opaque and said they may violate procurement laws. Arabo did not name the other lenders but said TCN is currently negotiating another loan of $500 million with the Islamic Development Bank. Lawmakers agreed to investigate the activities of the TCN over the past 10 years in respect of foreign loans and contract awards and to report their findings within eight weeks.
  • The SEC said on Wednesday it had ordered the suspension of Oando shares, citing concerns about possible insider trading and the oil company’s shareholding structure. The SEC ordered the NSE to implement a 48-hour suspension of Oando’s shares after which it would implement a price freeze until further notice. Oando said it had received a communication from regulators on the share suspension, adding that it will state its position as soon as possible. The regulator said it had carried out a comprehensive review of Oando after it received two petitions and found related party transactions were not conducted at arm’s length and discrepancies in its ownership structure. Reuters quoted a company source as saying the petitions centred around the ownership of some Oando shares bought through an investment vehicle at the time the company bought ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian business for $1.65 billion in 2014.
  • The NNPC says it has stored over two billion litres of petrol to ensure a hitch free end-of-year movement for the country’s motorists. The festive season is typically one characterised by fuel scarcity due to supply and demand disequilibrium. NNPC’s spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, said, “As we speak, the NNPC has over two billion litres of petrol and we want to sustain this level from now on up until the end of the year and beyond. This volume will give the country product sufficiency of about 60 days, well above the standard 30 days sufficiency threshold.”
  • GTBank posted a profit of ₦125.58 billion for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017, it announced on Wednesday in filings released by the NSE. The report showed that the profit represented a growth of ₦8.49 billion or 7.21 percent as against ₦117.08 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2016. Its profit before tax rose to ₦150.03 billion from ₦137.99 billion recorded in the preceding period of 2016. Total assets surged to ₦3.21 trillion from ₦3.12 trillion and the lender’s total liabilities inched up to ₦2.63 trillion from ₦2.61 trillion in Dec. 2016. Interest income surged to ₦248.270 billion from ₦181.91 billion in the comparative period of 2016. Net interest income stood at ₦189.58 billion during the period under review from ₦132.75 billion in the preceding period.