Kremlin takes Trump to task over gas pipeline comments



U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018.


U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism of Russia’s Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline to Europe is an egregious example of unscrupulous competition and it worries Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Monday.

Speaking shortly before Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sit down together for a summit in the Finnish capital, Peskov also said discussions between the two on Syria would be difficult because of the U.S. stance on Iran, Russia’s ally and a major player in the Syrian conflict.

Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Peskov as saying he hoped the Helsinki talks would represent some kind of step away from the current crisis in U.S.-Russian relations.

China to seek more balanced trade with EU



European Council President Donald Tusk speaks next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (not pictured), after signing a new joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation in Brussels, Belgium July 10, 2018.


China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday the country wants to seek more balanced trade with the European Union.

China needs to advance investment treaty negotiations with the EU and both should share the objective of concluding agreements at an early date, Premier Li said when meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Beijing.

How Nigeria, others shared African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)’s $65b loan syndications

After 25 years of operations that kicked off in Abuja, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said it has mobilised no fewer than $65 billion worth of loan


After 25 years of operations that kicked off in Abuja, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said it has mobilised no fewer than $65 billion worth of loan syndications for trade financing and the development of the continent’s economies.

Nigeria, as a major stakeholder and contributor to the pan-African largest multilateral lender, has received about 40 per cent of the bank’s interventions, covering public investments and private sector working capital, particularly, the banks.

Today, while Nigeria and the rest of the African economies are still battling with financing challenges, the question of what it would have been like for the continent, without the emergence of the bank remains at large.

Meanwhile, the bank noted that there is as much as $120 billion in trade finance gap that needs to be closed; yearly $93 billion trade infrastructure gap; and a global trade share at three per cent, that needs to be raised; while Intra-African trade is still far below aspirations.At the weekend, during the yearly meetings of Afreximbank, part of the $65 billion syndications was injected further into Nigeria’s economy, as the Bank of Industry signed for a $750 million facility for on lending to small businesses.

Also, Aliko Dangote, signed a $650 million loan facility with the for an oil refinery project in Lekki, Nigeria, on a seven-year term loan, with five years moratorium.The government received a provision of $1.8 billion to support the economy during the recent oil price shock between 2015 and 2016, while a provision of liquidity and trade finance lines of more than $800 million was made during the banking consolidation when many international banks cut credit lines to the country.

Currently, Afreximbank’s initiatives in Nigeria include the development of testing and inspection centres across the country in collaboration with the Standards Organization of Nigeria; and establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Tertiary Healthcare/Medical Park.There is ongoing talks to participate in the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited being promoted by the government; the support for industrial projects through loans to strategic banks; provision of trade and letter of credit lines to all Nigerian banks, in close coordination with Central Bank of Nigeria; and development of an Afreximbank Africa Trade Centre in Abuja.

The bank’s President, Dr. Benedict Oramah, told The Guardian that the emergence of the bank was in reaction to challenge by an unprecedented debt crisis that ravaged the continent like a plague those days and as a child of necessity, was conceived for Africa and by Africans and now effectively delivered by Africans.So far, the bank has provided over $50 billion, granted in support of trade and project activities across Africa, supported the emergence of world class hotels across the continent, including upscaling facilities in Island economies like Cape Verde and Seychelles.

The bank prevented the implosion of Zimbabwe by providing an aggregate of about $4 billion to avert hunger and support critical businesses when virtually all international banks cut off the country.“Who would today have stepped in to provide trade services lines in excess of 4 billion to about 500 banks across Africa so that no country can be denied access to trade finance as a result of high compliance cost?

“Who would have supported connectivity among African markets by leveraging close to $3 billion in support of African airline operations?“How would some indigenous Nigerian entities have been able to acquire oil production acreages if the Bank had not stand by them?“Who would have financed the creation of at least 130 thousand metric tonnes of cocoa processing capacity in Cote d’Ivoire and revived processing plants in other major producing countries, namely Ghana and Nigeria?“Who would have provided $9 billion to a number of African central banks and commercial banks at the height of the commodity price induced crises of 2014-16?” he queried.Oramah said Afreximbank is powering the Collective Will of the Continent to boost intra-regional trade and export manufacturing and now about to launch a pan-African payment and settlement platform in support of intra-African trade.

Already, there are SMEs operating in export supply chains with hopes of improved access to finance as a result of the bank’s efforts to promote factoring, such that from almost nothing, Africa can today boast of 32 factoring companies sharing in near trillion dollar global market.President Muhammadu Buhari, while declaring open the bank’s yearly meetings, in Abuja, at the weekend, commended Afreximbank’s strategy in the continent through its dynamism and tenacious leadership, saying the lender had proved that Africans could come together to build something meaningful.

While delivering his keynote address, he said that those attributes had enabled the bank to record the successes so far since its establishment 25 years ago.He noted that the bank’s efforts to integrate Africa through its African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is already undergoing a careful review, with several consultations to get the inputs of the nation’s diversed professionals, entrepreneurs and investors.

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who attested to the portents of AfCFTA, being driven by Afreximbank, when adopted, would provide the integrated and diversified markets that will unlock Africa’s full productive capacity.He lamented that “intra-African trade is only 15 per cent of Africa’s total trade, compared to Europe’s 67 per cent and we need a sustained strategic shift to industrialisation, increased Intra-African trade, and de-commoditisation through increased value addition and export diversification.”

Afreximbank’s Chief Economist, Dr. Hippolyte Fofack, said: “The AFCFTA must emphasise policies promoting export diversification for each member country. In addition, efforts must be increased to motivate more technology-intensive manufactured goods.“Given the current average technology and skill content in Intra-African trade, the AFCFTA seems to be well positioned to help achieve and deliver more technology-intensive manufactured goods.”

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said that continued infrastructure improvements and a focus on trade, particularly regional trade, would drive sustainable growth.Adeosun commended Afreximbank for its role during the last global recession when it supported many African countries with trade support and lines of credit at a time when others were withdrawing from Africa.

Volpi to pay 60% of $600m: London Court of International Arbitration Rules

Gabriele Volpi

Gabrielle Volpi to pay 60% of $600m: London Court of International Arbitration Rules

Lawyers representing Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo the Group Chief Executive and Deputy Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC and co-owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited, have come out to say that contrary to a statement issued by the Legal Counsel to Ansbury
Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, the amounts owed to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi, is in fact $80m owed by Whitmore Asset Management Limited, while the balance
$600m is owed by Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI.

Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI Ltd, is owned by all three parties Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Gabriele Volpi, hence the judgement by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) implies that Volpi as part owner of OODP BVI owes himself by
virtue of his ownership in the company.

This was made in a ruling on July 6, 2018 by the LCIA. OODP British Virgin Islands owns 99.99% of OODP Nigeria which in turn owns 55.96% of Oando PLC.

The principals have chosen to speak as there were concerns that Volpi’s press release implied that they, Whitmore Limited, had a total indebtedness of $680 million.

Sources have indicated that payment terms for the personal debt are being ironed out by both parties whils payment terms for the $600 million owed by OODP will be determined by the LCIA which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution.

The dispute between Gabrielle Volpi and the principals of Oando has been ongoing for over a year and has been a cause of concern for companies and individuals alike who look for investments to grow their business via individuals in the form of equity or debt.
Gabrielle Volpi, a significant shareholder in OODP invested in the company during Oando’s acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigeria assets. At the time it would have seemed like the investment of a lifetime, unfortunately shortly after the price of oil crashed and saw many oil and gas companies fold. That Oando is still alive today is testament to its principals resilience and hard work.

The assumption would be that against this backdrop Gabrielle Volpi would wait for OODP to start to reap the rewards of its investment however he has faced near financial ruin in his home country Italy and it seems is now by any means necessary trying to recoup his investments.

Since the upturn in commodity prices, Oando has recorded 6 consecutive quarters of profits. The company kicked off 2018 on a positive note also, through continued restoration of value to its shareholders via profits in the first quarter of the year.

AfDB to host seminar on energy and investment potential in Africa

The  African development Bank will on 2nd of August, 2018 organize a seminar on Africa’s Energy and Investment potentials in Tokyo, Japan.

The African Development Bank will on 2 August, 2018 organize a seminar on Africa’s energy and investment potentials in Tokyo, Japan.

Coming ahead of the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD, in Yokohama in 2019, the energy sector and Africa Investment Forum Seminar will identify bankable projects in Africa’s energy sector and mobilize Asia’s investment community towards the Africa Investment Forum (AIF).

The AIF – Africa’s own investment marketplace for accelerated economic transformation – is scheduled for 7-9 November 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The pre-TICAD African Development Bank energy and Africa Investment Forum seminar in Tokyo follows the inaugural meeting of Africa Energy Marketplace, an initiative of the Bank, held in the Ivorian capital, 5 – 6 July 2018. At the Africa Energy Marketplace, energy and development experts from across Africa and beyond called for renewed urgency in the drive to light up and power the continent. With close to 600 million Africans still lacking electricity, they resolved that Africa’s power deficit must be considered as both a crisis and an opportunity to fast-track reforms and transactions. The Tokyo Forum will build on and maintain this momentum.

The seminar will feature one-on-one business meetings, panel sessions and presentations on the AIF, on Japan – Africa trade, the potentials and investment climate of African economies and on securing investments and partnerships in Africa’s energy sector.

Africa is rich in energy resources with well over 10 terawatts of solar potential, 350 gigawatts of hydroelectric potential, 110 gigawatts of wind potential, and an additional 15 gigawatts of geothermal potential. However, Africa remains unable to power its homes and businesses unless it unlocks this huge renewable energy potential and combines it with conventional energy to light up and power rural and urban communities, companies and countries across the continent.

Achieving universal access to energy for Africa through the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa initiative would also be on the agenda, including putting together a pipeline of investment-ready products and projects for investors, fund and asset managers and others managing emerging markets assets.

The IAF was officially launched by African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and David Makhura, Premier of South Africa’s Gauteng Province on 8 May 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Both leaders endorsed the Forum as a worthy initiative and called on potential project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors to take advantage of the AIF platform to accelerate Africa’s investment drive.

This stock hit a 5-year high on the NSE



Custodian Investment (formerly known as Custodian and Allied Plc) yesterday made history as the firm hit a 5-year high of N6.89 in today’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The stock closed at N6.80, up 8.5%.

Custodian shares have appreciated by 119.76% in the last one year. From January 2, 2018 year to date, the stock is up 74.8%, making it one of the best-performing stocks on the NSE.

The stock also happens to be the highest priced stock in the insurance sector, with a market capitalization of N39.90 billion.

Consistent performer

Custodian’s share price has been on a consistent rise in the last 5 years, largely due to stellar results. Gross income increased from N3.8 billion in 2013 to N8.0 billion in 2017. Profit after tax also rose from N3.6 billion in 2013 to N7.3 billion in 2017.

FY 2017 results show that revenue increased from N38.5 billion in 2016 to N43 billion in 2017. Profit before tax rose from N7.3 billion in 2016 to N8.9 billion in 2017. Profit after tax also jumped from N5.3 billion in 2016 to N7.3 billion in 2017.

The 2017 performance was largely due to a sharp increase in investment income, as a group and across several units. Investment income as a group rose from N4.2 billion in 2016 to N6.2 billion in 2017.

The firm may have taken advantage of the high yields on market securities last year, as it increased the volume of treasury bills it held. Held maturity treasury bills rose from N5.6 billion in 2016 to N9.7 billion in 2017.

Yields on money market securities rose sharply last year in tandem with the spike in inflation.

A 2017 ranking of listed insurance companies also saw Custodian and Allied Insurance coming tops, using criteria such as balance sheet, net asset and gross premium income.

Custodian Insurance is also one of the most diversified insurance firms in the country, with operations in trusteeship, pension fund administration, and real estate. The stock has also featured repeatedly on Nairametrics’ Buy Sell Hold list.

Q1 2018 results show that revenue jumped from N7.6 billion in 2017 to N11.4 billion in 2018. Profit before tax increased from N1.8 billion in 2017 to N2.1 billion in 2018. Profit after tax also rose from N1.5 billion in 2017 to N1.8 billion in 2018.

Earnings per share also increased significantly from N0.26 in 2017 to N0.30 in 2018. If the company maintains the performance this year, it could exceed last year’s earnings.

Custodian had earnings per share of N1.19 for the 2017 financial year, of which it paid a total of N0.42 in dividends comprising an interim dividend of N0.10, and a final dividend of N0.32, the highest in the company’s history.

Buy Sell or Hold?

Short-term investors who got in at the beginning of the year, could decide to exit at this point, having made over 70% returns.

Long-term investors thinking of investing in the stock could wait for a market correction before taking a position. Foreign portfolio investors have begun a gradual sell down as elections approach, preferring to stay on the sidelines.

About Custodian Investment Plc

Custodian Investment Plc (formerly known as Custodian and Allied Plc) is a holding company with interests in Life Insurance, General Insurance, Pensions, Trustees, Properties and Financial Services.

The company was incorporated on August 12, 1991, as a private limited liability company under the name, Accident and General Insurance Company Limited. The company’s name was changed to Custodian and Allied Insurance Limited on February 5, 1993, and converted to a public limited liability company on September 29, 2006.

It then changed its name to Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, following approval by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on March 20, 2013.

NSE: Quick budget implementation, new listings will stem slide – Experts



Financial experts on Thursday stressed the need for quick implementation of the 2018 budget and listing of new companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to tackle the exodus of foreign investors. They said in Lagos that quick budget implementation and listing of more multinationals on the stock exchange would boost its liquidity and enhance the participation of local investors.

The financial experts were reacting to the bearish trend in the equities market occasioned by exit of foreign portfolio investors to countries with higher return on investment.
Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, said the stock market had been bearish since the beginning of third quarter due to lack of economic activities.Tella said the economy had not picked up fast from recession due principally to long delay in the passage of the budget by the legislature.He said the current withdrawal of foreign investments, engineered by high interest rates in the US added fueled the slide in the capital market.
According to him, only quick implementation of the budget and payment of domestic debts could halt the slide.

He said new investments in the economy would improve public confidence in the market. “If the capital outflow caused by the US monetary policy is short-lived, the Nigerian stock market can rebound.
“What is happening is referred to as contagion effect and can only happen to an open and dynamic stock market,”Tella said. He added that the Nigerian capital market would require more advanced, proactive and dynamic instruments to manage it.
Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said local investors would be attracted to the market with the listing of new companies.
Kurfi also stressed the need for regular customer forum and investors education on the gains and rudiments of the stock market. He explained that foreign investors, aside investing for returns consider foreign exchange rate, political and liquidity risks while investing in any market.
Kurfi said that these major issues needed to be addressed to attract more foreign Investors in the Nigerian market. He said that foreign exchange risk could be mitigated with good foreign reserves, while liquidity risk had to be available in any stocks both at the time of purchase and sale.
Kurfi said political risks could partially be managed with early primaries of various parties to reduce political uncertainties.

Nasarawa State to embark on HIV survey


The National Aids Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIS) says it has earmarked 2,492 households for survey in Nasarawa State.

The North Central Coordinator of NAIS Project, Dr Musa Abdullahi made this known to the press in Lafia.

Abdullahi said that 89 enumeration areas have been mapped out for the project in the state with each enumeration area comprising 28 households.

He explained that all the households for the project were randomly selected through a scientific method.

According to him, the survey will collect data on HIV incident, prevalence and viral load suppression amongst adults and children in the country.

Abdullahi said the survey would also determine the prevalence of hepatitis B and C in the country.

“We want the public to know that, although the survey would cover every local government of the state, not everyone would participate as the participating households have been selected randomly with recourse to sex, gender, religious and political inclination,” he said.

He added that the survey would provide opportunity for Nigeria to measure the impact of intervention programmes in the country and fashion out more effective prevention and treatment strategies.

The coordinator said the survey for the North Central zone of the country would start on July 16 with Nasarawa as the first state and called for support from residents to ensure the success of the exercise