Connect with us

Business News

C&I Leasing Shareholders Approve Conversion Of Neoma Africa $10m Loan to Equity

Published

on

C&I Leasing Plc shareholders have unanimously approved the conversion of $10 million loan to equity for Neoma Africa Fund (formerly Aureos African Fund).

The shareholders gave the approval at the company’s Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Tuesday in Lagos.

The shareholders also approved the conversion of the $10 million unsecured variable coupon redeemable convertible loan stock in registered units of N4.75 or the dollar equivalent units into 987,500,000 ordinary shares of the company.

Recall that in January 2019, C&I Leasing announced that Abraaj, the managers of the Aureos Africa Fund, agreed to convert the $10 million loan stock in the quoted company to equity.

The loan was obtained by the Nigerian firm and it matured in 2018.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association, urged the management to protect the interest of minority shareholders in the arrangement.

Nwosu advocated that the price should be adjusted upward from N4.75, adding that most of the shareholders purchased the shares at N6.

He said that the board of the company should work in ensuring that arrangements made would benefit all parties involved.

Also, Mr Robert Egbe, Coordinator, Noble Shareholders, called on the board and management of the company to ensure quick implementation of the conversion arrangement.

Mr Adeleke Oladimeji, representative of Dedicated Shareholders, urged other shareholders to collaborate toward moving the company ahead.

Oladimeji noted that the company could not bear the burden of the debt again, thus called for a support to the proposals.

Responding to the shareholders’ concerns, Mr Henry Okolo, the company’s Chairman, explained that the exchange rate for the conversion was pegged at N197 three years ago.

Okolo said that the present exchange rate and unit cost of the share at N3.20 was an advantage to the company.

He assured the shareholders of higher returns in the years ahead.

He said that the conversion was expected to happen before the end of the year.

“We expect that this would significantly strengthen the balance sheet of our company,” Okolo said.

C&I Leasing has been in operation for over two decades.

It has since evolved from being a simple finance leasing company licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1991 to becoming a diversified leasing and business service conglomerate providing support services to various indigenous and multinational organisations in West Africa.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business News

Kenya-UK Trade Pact Awaits Approval from EAC Council of Ministers

The virtual meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of the Ministers of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) will also discuss other regional matters such as EAC policies on trade, non-tariff barriers, customs, budgets, standards and quality, industrialisation and the tripartite agenda.

Published

on

This week, the East African Council of Ministers will hold their last meeting of the year with Kenya hoping to get approval to separately sign a trade agreement with the United Kingdom ahead of the December 31 deadline.

The virtual meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of the Ministers of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) will also discuss other regional matters such as EAC policies on trade, non-tariff barriers, customs, budgets, standards and quality, industrialisation and the tripartite agenda.

Kenya is pegging its hopes on Article 37 of the EAC Customs Union Protocol, which allows partner states to separately conclude or amend trade agreements with foreign countries provided the terms do not conflict with the provisions of the Protocol.

Under the Customs Union Protocol, the first pillar of regional integration, East African Community countries are required to negotiate matters related to trade with third parties as a bloc. However, a member may separately negotiate bilateral trade agreements, subject to notifying other members.

Earlier this month, Kenya and the British government reached a critical agreement on a new trade deal that grants Kenyan products duty-free quota-free access to the UK market after December 31.

Related: Kenya, UK, Secure Trade Deal

The deal, which includes clauses from the old Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) under the European Union, is expected to be formalised through signing of the agreed texts by the two countries.

The British government is adamant with its timeframe, but it is willing to apply the Principle of Variable Geometry under the EPAs to allow EAC member states that are ready to sign the agreement while others join later.

“With respect to other East African states, the UK is willing to proceed with those that are ready and allow others to join at a later date as per the current EPAs text,” said Kevit Desai, Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the State Department of EAC Affairs.

Kenya is racing against time to individually negotiate and sign a new trade agreement with the UK to avoid paying duty on its products destined to the British market starting January, 1 2021.

The UK formally exited the European Union on January 31 with an 11-month transition period to re-negotiate new trade agreements with its trading partners outside the 27-member bloc.

Related: East African Countries Amass $73b in External Debt

All existing trade agreements with the UK under the EU terms, which are not rolled over, will expire on December 31.

East African member countries, which run a common Customs Union, are required to negotiate and sign this agreement as a bloc. However, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi appear not to be keen on the deal, thereby calling for the extension of timelines for the negotiations by one year, citing country specific issues including election cycles.

But, with or without a new trade agreement these four countries, which are classified as less developed countries, have a window to continue enjoying duty-free quota-free access to the UK market beyond the December 31 deadline under the “Everything but Arms” initiative introduced in 2001 under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

Kenya, on the other hand, is classified as a lower middle-income country.

The Kenya-UK agreement is expected to provide continuity for businesses, investors and supply chains besides setting foundations for further economic development.

Continue Reading

Business News

East Africa Optimistic the U.S. Will Revive Trade Talks

This came to the fore as leaders from the EAC congratulated Biden for his election win, with many expressing hopes that his presidency will boost ties with the regional bloc.

Published

on

The East African Community is optimistic that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will revive the negotiations and implementations of the EAC-U.S. Trade and Investment Partnership.

This came to the fore as leaders from the East African Community congratulated Biden for his election win, with many expressing hopes that his presidency will boost ties with the regional bloc.

The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which is a trade pact that establishes a framework for expanding trade and resolving outstanding disputes between countries, was agreed between U.S. and EAC partner states in June 2012, but was never implemented.

TIFA was signed on July 16 2008, as a framework for expanding trade and investment between the U.S. and EAC.

But since United States President Trump took over from his predecessor Barack Obama in 2016, not much has been heard from the arrangement.

Read also: Kenya, UK, Secure Trade Deal

“We all look forward to working with the new US administration and of course hope that America’s trade and investment policies will also advance the interests of East Africa. Reviving TIFA is one of them,” said Prof Manasseh Nshuti, EAC chairperson of the Council of Ministers, who is also Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of the East African Community.

“EAC is better negotiating multilateral trade rather than bilaterally. This is because at the end of the day, what happens in Kenya affects Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, in terms of trade and investments.”

In April 2016, Ministers from EAC and U.S. signed the EAC-US Co-operation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) but so far very little has been implemented despite the existence of agreed work plans.

Under the United States-East African Community-Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, partners consult on a wide range of issues related to trade and investment, but under President Donald Trump, this was never implemented.

Related: Kenya to be in breach of EAC, AfCFTA rules in proposed American trade deal

Topics for consultation and possible further cooperation include market access issues, labour, the environment, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, and in appropriate cases, capacity building.

However, since 2016, the negotiations for the regional investment treaty stalled due to lack of consensus on the approach for discussions on the regional investment treaty.

“The U.S. has TIFAs with countries at different levels of development and trade and investment interests but none with the EAC,” said Dr. Peter Mathuki, CEO East African Business Council.

“As the private sector, we are expecting the revival of an up-scaled US-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership under U.S. presidential elect Joe Biden.”

EAC’s Director-General of Customs and Trade Kenneth Bagamuhunda also said he looks forward to a return to a multilateral trading system “where the trade rules will prevail over unilateralism”.

“We look forward to engagement with the US as a bloc at EAC and Continental level.”

Continue Reading

Business News

Ivory Coast, Ghana Cancel Hershey’s Cocoa Sustainability Schemes

Published

on

The world’s largest producers of cocoa, Ivory Coast and Ghana have cancelled sustainability schemes organised by US-based chocolate manufacturer, Hershey.

Both countries accused the company of avoiding the payment of a cocoa premium, aimed at improving the financial state of farmers in their countries.

According to Reuters, both countries found Hershey demanding very high volumes of physical cocoa on the ICE futures Stock exchange. The countries, who produce 2/3rd of the world’s total cocoa said the company did that to avoid paying the premium, called the living income differential (LID).

The countries have also accused Fuji Oil Holdings of playing a part in helping Hershey in the schemes.

The schemes, according to the chocolate manufacturers are to protect cocoa of any environmental and human rights abuses, meaning it was rightly sourced and is devoid of any problems that will affect its global sales. The company added that by the West African giants’ disruption of the schemes, farmers may not be able to get premium on their products again.

Hershey is the manufacturers of Hershey’s Kisses and Kit Kat and source for their cocoa mainly from Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Hershey recently entered into a deal to make physical cocoa available at the ICE Futures exchange. This is expected to reduce demands in cocoa from Ghana and Ivory Coast and also avoid the premium charged by the government.

Last year, the Ghanaian and Ivorian governments set the LID for cocoa at $400 a tonne. This is to ensure that farmers make as much money as possible but the harsh realities of the coronavirus pandemic have dealt sales a huge blow.

“The Cocoa Merchants Association of America (CMAA) is condoning and conniving with American companies against poor West African cocoa farmers”,  regulators in both countries said.

Continue Reading

Trending