Trading house Aiteo, which had prospered under Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, has recently had to start making hefty repayments to creditors that had helped the firm buy the giant OML 29, The Capital reports.
Aiteo founder and CEO, Nigerian businessman Benedict Peters, is using this as an opportunity to reorganize the group.
Banks push for payments
To buy the 45% stake of OML 29 from Shell, ENI, and Total for a total $2.58 billion, Peters borrowed nearly $2 billion from various Nigerian banks. Peters forked out the rest of the sum from his own fortune, largely built on extremely lucrative swap contracts won when Diezani Alison-Madueke was the minister of petroleum resources.
When the firm had trouble meeting its repayments in 2016, according to our sources it renegotiated an 18-month grace period with the banks that ended in June this year. Since that date, Aiteo has had to pay out heavy sums and is understood to be trying to negotiate another arrangement. The oil firm had bought OML 29 when crude oil prices regularly peaked over $100 and the sale price matched its market value.
With the sharp downturn in oil prices halfway through 2014, the loan became unworkable. Nearly all of the trader’s revenue from the license goes straight into paying back its creditors. With production dampened by a string of attacks on its pipelines in Niger Delta and the continued lull in oil prices, Aiteo has struggled to meet its reimbursement deadlines.
Peters counters with new financiers
Peters, who has lived in Ghana since 2016, can no longer count on his financial director, Bruce Burrows, hired in 2017 to help work out a new deal with the banks. Burrows, who previously worked for Ernst & Young and Seven Energy and now lives in London, was sacked by Peters in October, though he had never been given much room for maneuver.
Peters delegates very little, except to his older brother Francis Peters who handles the firm’s relations with banks and the government. Since the beginning of the year, the group’s finances have been in the hands of Nigerian financier Razak Shittu, former head of oil & gas for United Bank for Africa (UBA), who will be looking to secure a repayment schedule.
Adding to the pressure placed by the banks, Shell – the former owner of OML 29 – had negotiated extremely strict terms with Aiteo for the 2014 sale that are still having repercussions on the trader today. One of the first conditions of the sale was that Aiteo undertook to sell nearly its entire output on the block, which currently produces between 80 and 90,000 bpd, to Shell’s own trading branch.
Indeed, this unit had directly lent several tens of millions of dollars to Aiteo to purchase OML 29. Aiteo accepted to sell such a large volume to Shell that with current output levels it will still have to work with the Anglo-Dutch major’s division for nearly 10 more years. Making the noose all the more tighter, in the formula used for the sale price of OML 29 crude oil, Peters agreed to guarantee Shell a very comfortable margin estimated at more than $1 per barrel.
The firm also accepted to use Shell’s Bonny oil terminal, whose transfer rates sit at just over $2 a barrel. Shortly following the OML 29 sale, one of Shell’s main negotiators for the operation, British expert Humphrey Doody, became a board member of Aiteo. However, according to sources in Lagos, Doody was recently made to step down from this role
JUST IN: Yoruba Nation Protesters Storm Osogbo [VIDEO]
Scores of youths under the aegis of Omo Oduduwa United have stormed the streets of Osogbo capital of Osun State to agitate for the Yoruba nation.
The protesters converged on November 27 bridge in the Africa area, Osogbo for the protest.
They marched from the November 27 bridge through Ogo-Oluwa, Aregbe junction, Fakunle, Ola-Iya, and Odi Olowo areas.
The protesters carried placards, banners chanting secession songs, and distributing handbills to people along the streets.
They are heading to Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Old Garage.
The Nation had reported there was heavy security presence in major junctions of Osogbo as men of DSS, Police, JTF, Amotekun and other local operatives were on the ground.
Credit: The Nation
Restructure Your State Before Calling For Restructuring At Federal Level —- Lawan Knocks Southern Governors
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, has cautioned Governors calling for the restructuring of the country.
Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents on Thursday, said although he was not against those calling for restructuring, elected officials must not be among those advocating such.
According to him, state governors must ensure that they restructured their respective states first before calling for restructuring at the federal level.
He said: “The call for secession or the call for restructuring, many are genuine calls even though I never believe that someone who is calling for secession means well or is a misguided person.
“But I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have is a genuine call.
“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.
“This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.”
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state, and even local government work for the people and that we allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels that he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any hindrance.’’ NAN quoted him as saying.
Lawan also said Nigerians must come together regardless of their religious, ethnic, or political persuasions to find lasting solutions to the nation’s challenges.
He called on all elected leaders across the three tiers of government to always avoid primordial sentiments capable of creating division and social discontent among Nigerians.
“We should avoid partisanship, we should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solution must come from us regardless of what level of government we are – whether at the federal, state, or even at the local government level,’’ he added.
Lawan, who also frowned at the way the local government system was relegated to the background in the country, noted that for the nation to address its security challenges the local government system must be functional and efficient.
“I want to take this opportunity also to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute some of the security issues to the lack of a functional local government system.
“For me, I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge to ensure that the local government system functions. This is in keeping with looking for ways, for means, for solutions to the security challenges that we face. We must never neglect the local government system.
“I believe that this is one system that had worked even though in a different name. When it was Native Authority it was very effective, very efficient.
“So, we must go back to our local government to ensure that the local government continues to be autonomous, continues to be functional in order to complement whatever the States and the Federal Government would be doing.
Ohanaeze To Sanwo-Olu: Ignore Threat Of Attack On Lagos, Igbo Aren’t Violent People
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has asked Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.
On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.
The groups have, however, denied the allegations.
Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.
Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.
“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we are known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.
“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.
“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.
“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the southwest was a source of relief.
“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”
Responding, Sanwo-Olu said his administration will continue to secure the lives and property of residents in the state.