Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said it will announce the names of financial advisers for Enterprise Bank Limited, Keystone Bank Limited and Mainstreet Bank Limited before Monday.
The financial advisers are expected to evaluate the value of the three banks and advise the corporation on what to do with the commercial banks.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, disclosed this in a telephone chat with THISDAY. Chike-Obi who declined to reveal identities of the 11 financial advisers selected for the three banks, reiterated that the corporation ensured that only credible and professional institutions were appointed. 
The names of the financial advisers for the banks will be made public before Monday. Some of the firms are local while others are international institutions and we ensured that we got the best for the banks. We dont want anybody to think that these banks were taken over and handed over to special interests. It must be a very transparent process, he added. He stressed that AMCON was not in a hurry to sell the commercial banks, saying that the advisers would value the assets and liabilities of the institutions.

Chike-Obi had also said that listing the shares of the banks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange was one of the options available to the corporation.  
One of the options available to AMCON is to take these institutions public, so that the Nigerian public can have a chance to invest in them. So, we want to look at all the options before we start thinking of who the ultimate investors would be. It is only on the basis of that advice and examination that we come to the best way of selling these banks.

The adviser will evaluate and determine the value of the banks, evaluate all the options available to AMCON, he had said. He had also said that the process would ensure that AMCON gets the best returns on its investments. We are not a charity organization; we want the best returns on investment. Thirdly, it must be done in the interest of the financial system. And that is where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) comes in.

Oando, Honeywell, 52 Others Bid for Power Discos

Oando Gas and Power, Honeywell Energy and Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd were among the 54 companies that met Tuesdays deadline for the submission of technical and financial proposals for the privatization of the 11 distribution companies (discos) created from the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Head, Public Communications at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, confirmed in a statement Tuesday night that a total of 54 bids were received from potential investors interested in the privatization exercise, but he did not disclose the names of bidders. But THISDAY investigations revealed that Interstate Electrics Ltd, a joint venture between Chrome Energy Consortium and Power House International Ltd; Nahco Energy and Power Ltd (a subsidiary of Nahco Aviance Plc), whose technical and strategic partners are Empower of Finland; Skipper Energy; Tata Power, India's largest integrated power company; and Enl Consortium Ltd also met the bid deadline.
THISDAY also learnt that the Integrated Energy bid, which is spearheaded by Dr. Shola Ayandele, is backed by the consortiums technical partner, Melraco Electricity Company of the Philippines and technical consultants, Mercados Energy Markets International of Spain. The consortium is said to have submitted bids for the Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja and Yola Distribution Companies It was also gathered that Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) of Thailand is partnering Interstate to bid for the Enugu and Abuja Discos. The two companies are promoted by business mogul, Emeka Offor and Mr. Kester Enweronwu, a lawyer cum businessman. While Offor is the promoter of Chrome Energy Consortium, Enweronwu is the promoter and Chairman of Power House. MEA is the technical partner to Interstate Electrics, a company that distributes electricity in the Thai capital city of Bangkok.
The discos slated for privatization are: the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc
A breakdown of the bids received for the power assets showed that the Ikeja Disco attracted 10 bids, which was the highest, followed by Eko Disco, which attracted nine bids. Benin and Ibadan Discos got seven bids each, Enugu got only four bids, while Port Harcourt and Yola attracted three bids each. Also, seven bids were received for Benin Disco, while Jos, Kaduna and Kano had two bids each.

London court orders Akingbola to repay Access Bank N164bn

A high court sitting in London on Tuesday ordered Erastus Akingbola, former Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank, to repay to Access Bank, approximately N164 billion or £654 million having been found guilty of sharp practices while heading the bank. The case ruled by Justice Burton at The High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division Commercial Court London was comprehensively in the Banks favour in respect of all aspects of its claims against Akingbola. As contained in the suit judgment seen by BusinessDay, the Judge found that Akingbola was liable to repay to Access Bank the followings sums: N145 billion in respect of the Unlawful Share Purchase Scheme; N16 billion in respect of the Tropics Payments Claim; and approximately £10.5 million in respect of the Fuglers Payments Claim. This makes a grand total, in Naira and Pound Sterling terms respectively, of approximately N164 billion or £654 million.
The case was between Access Bank as the claimant and Erastus Bankole Oladipo Akingbola, Kayman Company Limited, Verndale Properties Limited, Jasmine Properties Limited, Caelum Limited and Sanami Limited as defendants. The summary sheet indicated that The Claimant, formerly Intercontinental Bank plc (where separately referred to, IB), but since January 2012 as Access Bank plc, which merged with IB in 2011, sued Erastus Akingbola (the Defendant) for very substantial sums in these proceedings.
Although the defendant is the First Defendant, the other defendants are companies in which it is accepted that he has, directly or indirectly, an interest, and who, having been joined simply for the purposes of any tracing claim, have taken no part in the proceedings. Akingbola was the Managing Director (known as the Group Chief Executive (GCE)) and a substantial shareholder in IB at all material times until 14 August 2009, when he was removed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in exercise of his statutory powers under the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991 (BOFIA), following an investigation by the CBN into the affairs of IB.
The Defendant was also a director of two subsidiaries of IB, Intercontinental Capital Markets Limited (ICML) and Intercontinental Securities Ltd (ISL); the latter was, although in-house, one of the three stockbrokers used during the material time by IB. In addition, the Defendant was a director and shareholder of the companies in the Tropics Group of Companies (Tropics of the Tropics Group).
In the suit, Access Bank asserts that the collapse of IB, its very substantial loss after taxation in the period up to September 2009 (approximately N321 billion, the equivalent of about £1.3bn, at the material exchange rate, being approximately N250 to the pound, all led to the intervention into IB by CBN, and the consequence that IB could no longer survive as a free-standing bank and had to be acquired and merged into the Claimant.
It further asserts that prior to its collapse, IB was one of Nigerias top four banks, it employed some 20,000 people and had some 350 branches. In his ruling, the judge noted that Akingbola during his cross-examination told obvious lies that he did not know that the Bank was buying its own shares. It was also discovered that Akingbola, in fact, devised and oversaw the implementation of the strategy to buy the Banks shares and thereby artificially increased its share price. He also noted that shortly before he commenced the strategy to increase the Banks share price and in order to benefit from it, Akingbola borrowed N 9.3 billion and used it to acquire a large quantity of the Banks shares for himself and that the strategy to buy the Banks shares was a substantial contributing factor to the collapse of the Bank.

Nigeria seeks bilateral economic commission with Mexico

Nigeria has stepped up efforts towards the establishment of a bilateral joint economic commission with Mexico. The commission will among other things help the country to document the trade in animal skin with the Latin American country for its footwear and agro-allied industries. Yesterday, the two countries signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a consultation mechanism of common interest in Abuja. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, maintained that in the present drive for investment in the thriving non-oil sector, the form of economic cooperation envisaged would usher in various opportunities for the procurement by Nigeria and Nigerian interests, of Mexican agricultural machinery to boost the food security needs of the country
The joint economic commission, it was further learnt, had become imperative because the experts on the Nigerian side of the table see the countrys comparative advantage embedded in the American countrys interest in the high quality animal skin export among others. The MOU, which was signed by the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, Marco Antonio Garcia Blanco and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of Regions, who stood in for the Minister, Bukun-Olu Onemola, is meant largely to create an enabling environment for the improvement of the Nigeria-Mexico relations.
Responding to the expression of willingness for a more strategic relations with Nigeria as expressed by the Mexican envoy, Onemola said: This MOU serves as a basic strategy as well as a mechanism towards achieving the national aspirations of our two countries including ensuring that both countries are economically buoyant and politically stable
On the establishment of a joint bilateral economic commission over which an agreement had been reached between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Mexican counterpart Vicente Fox Quesada when the latter visited Nigeria in 2002, he said: It is aimed at re-engineering and re-invigorating the bilateral links in different sectors in our countries which I fervently believe will elevate our strategic partnership to the next level... The effort is in line with the current trend towards globalization either in bilateral or multilateral settings.
This development makes it more expedient more than ever before for both countries to share information and initiatives on how to confront the challenges to guide their respective national policies in order to deepen and strengthen our diplomatic ties Nigeria and Mexico, both classified as developing countries, face similar developmental challenges, but possessing potential for investments. Although both countries established diplomatic missions in their respective capitals in the 60s, their respective embassies were forced to close in the 80s due mainly to economic considerations. The missions were reopened after 25 years even though for a greater part of the period, Nigeria didnt completely close her mission in the Central American country where a Charge dAffairs was maintained there.
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