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Caverton Helicopter’s fortunes continue to decline

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Caverton Group boasts of being Nigeria’s leading provider of aviation, marine, and logistics services to local and international oil and gas companies in Nigeria. On paper it can be easily assumed that the business is going well when oil and gas firms perform well and poorly when oil and gas firms struggle. However, recent results show that is not the case in reality.

The company recently released its 2021 FY results revealing it recorded a whopping loss after tax of N4.3 billion compared to a profit after tax of N1.1 billion in 2020 which ironically was a Covid-19 year. That year, the result was a 74% drop from the N4.3 billion profit reported in 2019 which was its best year yet. Well, 2021 has now seen things go from bad to worse with its worst result in at least 5 years. So, what happened?

According to the company, the loss was due to the impact of the “Covid-19 pandemic” and other factors which it claims had “negatively impacted business operations in Nigeria and the rest of the world” thus leading to the losses. As they say, the devil is in the details. A cursory review of the company’s financial statement reveals the losses were due to a spike in its cost of sales, the direct cost of doing business.

More specifically, in 2021 consumables gulped N12.2 billion out of the N24 billion incurred in total cost of sales compared to 2020 with N6.4 billion and N18.5 billion, respectively. Consumables the company explains include aircraft spare parts, aviation fuels, freight and courier services protocol and immigrations etc. Another cost component that recorded a rise were foreign exchange losses and higher finance cost adding N8.5 billion to finance cost compared to just N6.3 billion a year earlier

Unfortunately, it could not pass on this cost to its customers most of whom may have locked in price by paying for service upfront. Revenues topped N34 billion just N2.6 billion higher than a year earlier. This was not enough to cushion the spike in expenses. The worst hit was its core business, Helicopter Services where it lost N5.8 billion.

Despite this challenge, Calverton still had a healthy cash pile of about N5.7 billion helped by a net loan increase of about N11 billion. Over 90% of the bank’s N31 billion loans were borrowed in foreign currency further posing a headwind for operational cost. If the exchange rate situation in the country gets worse this year or even remains as is, the company might take N4-5 billion hit on foreign currency losses. It will point to its revenue being charged in dollars but that is not enough. So, what can management do?

The solutions we see here are two-pronged. One is to immediately raise revenues to levels that can accommodate the rising cost of doing business. This will involve raising prices and increasing orders. It will have to hope that oil and gas companies use more of its helicopters at a higher cost than they ordinarily did. It might also need to look at other customers beyond the oil and gas sector. It is the election season and politicians will want to move from one destination to another as campaign picks up. However, the company seems to be looking in another direction. Here is what its CEO Mr, Bode Makaonjuola said:

“To further boost revenues, the Group has been exploring further opportunities within and outside the oil and gas sector. In addition to growing our market share in the oil and gas logistics sector, our primary focus for the year will be on third party training and maintenance. Our Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and our Caverton Aviation Training Centre (CATC), both in Lagos, officially commenced business operation in the 2nd half of 2021. Prospects for training and maintenance is extremely positive as we are in advanced contract negotiations with a number of government and private institutions across sub–Saharan Africa.”

It will be interesting to see what these business segments add to revenues in the first quarter of this year. The second thing the company must do is raise capital. Currently, total debt of about N31 billion (without adding leases) is almost twice its total equity of N17.3 billion. Its free cash flow of N4.6 billion will not be enough, so sooner rather than later that loan will have to be repaid and it will have to come from fresh equity.

These are not easy actions, but it appears time is running out. If it does not take urgent action, the situation might not stop worsening.

 

Nairametrics

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Contempt: Again, court commits EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prison

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been committed to prison for allegedly disobeying court order.

The court also directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to effect Bawa’s arrest and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, in his judgement on Monday, granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the EFCC chairman was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.

The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.

The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked, “HCL/697M/2022” and titled, “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against the EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

The court ordered that the EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.

The court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant in the face of a subsisting court order made by a court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.

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Court Jails Fidelity Bank MD, Onyeali-Ikpe, Bank’s Secretary.. (CTC documents attached)

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A Chief Magistrate Court at Ogba, Lagos on Monday morning sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe to six weeks imprisonment over disobedience of a garnishee order of court restraining the bank from allowing a judgment debtor access to his account.

 

Joined with the Managing Director to serve the imprisonment is the Company Secretary of the bank, Ezinwa Unuigboje.

 

Magistrate Lateef Owolabi gave the sentence sequel to a garnishee order he gave on December 6, 2022 asking 16 banks not to allow a judgment debtor, Prince Enabulele Ozaze access to his bank accounts pending the payment of N2.8 million judgment debt in suit involving the sale of a Toyota Corolla car.

 

 

In the main suit, Magistrate Owolabi had given judgment on October 13, 2022 in favour of the plaintiff, Jibrin Ahmed who sued the defendant over the payment of N2.8 million he made to the defendant for the purchase of a Toyota Corolla car. Magistrate Owolabi in the judgment said that the claim before the court is summons used in action for debt or liquidated money demand with or without interest. Liquidated demand, according to him, is one ascertainable as a matter of arithmetic precision without further investigation.

He then said: “I have examined the whole process filed by the claimant and hold that the claimant is entitled to judgment not necessarily because the defendant is absent, but because the claimant has made a case worthy of being entitled to judgment. The totalities of evidence presented are relevant and reliable”.

 

There magistrate thereafter entered judgment against the defendant in the sum of N2.8 million which is due to the claimant over the transaction that took place in July 2022.

 

In order to reap the fruit of the judgment, the claimant’s lawyer, Alayo Akanbi filed a garnishe proceeding before the court and attached 17 banks, and asked the court to stop the banks from allowing the defendant to draw money from his accounts with them pending the liquidation of the debt. The garnishe order was granted on December 6, 2022.

 

However, on January 25, 2023, the claimant, now judgment creditor deposed to an affidavit before the court where he showed that the garnishe order have been flouted by Fidelity bank. He showed instances of how the judgment debtor had been withdrawing funds from his account to the extent that he had depleted the funds in his account with Fidelity bank. He claimed that the judgment debtor has N3, 165, 759.05k in his account with Fidelity bank as at January 12, 2023 when the garnishe order was served on the bank.

 

By January 15, three days after service, the judgment debtor had withdrawn N725,547.80k from the account. The following day, January 16, 2023, another N251,305.90 was transferred out of the bank. On January 17, the legal officer of the bank Obianuju Nwosu confirmed service on the bank as at December 22, 2022 and further apologized for the transactions on the account.

 

On January 18, 2023, the court ordered that ordered that the Managing Director, and Company Secretary to appear in person before the court to explain why they should not be committed to prison for allowing the judgment debtor to dissipate the funds in his account after the service of the garnishe order nisi.

 

At proceeding on Monday February 6, the Managing Director and Company were not in court as ordered. Lawyer to the judgment creditor told the court how the two had disobeyed the garnishe order of the court.

 

Magistrate Owolabi in his ruling sentenced the Managing Director and Company Secretary to six weeks imprisonment each. He further ordered Lagos State Commissioner of Police and any officer under his command to arrest the duo, bring them to court for onward transfer to the appropriate correctional center.

 

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Petition signatures to Emefiele over new naira hit 1653..

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Petition signatures to Emefiele over new naira hit 1653

 

Following the crisis over the non-availability of the redesigned N100, N200, N500 and N1000, over 1653 Nigerians have petitioned the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to end what they termed ‘hardship’ on the citizens.

 

The petition, hoisted on the global change website, change.org, which was started on Friday, garnered over 1653 signatures on Saturday.

 

As of the time of filing this report, many bank customers have yet to access the new notes as many automated teller machines are either not dispensing cash or completely shut down because of the crowd.

 

Protests have erupted over the situation in some parts of the country and some banks vandalised by hoodlums, demanding access to their money lodged in several accounts.

 

 

 

There have also been controversial videos showing bank officials sabotaging the process by hiding the new notes behind old ones in vaults.

 

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has requested seven days from Nigerians to fix the mess.

 

Part of the petition stated, “The recent shortage of physical cash in Nigeria has caused major untold hardship to Nigerians. People are spending hours in long lines at banks just to withdraw cash, and many are forced to rely more on digital transactions which tend to be unreliable due to poor bank networks.

 

POS operators also charge outrageous amounts; as much as N1000 for a N10,000 withdrawal. The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that the shortage is temporary, but it is causing serious disruption to the daily lives of many Nigerians.

 

“We call on the government, stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and the CBN to take urgent action to address the cash shortage crisis in Nigeria. We demand that the CBN increase the distribution of physical cash to meet the demand, and also any POS operator found charging outrageous amounts for withdrawal should be arrested.’’

 

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students has expressed displeasure over the issue, noting that the process was not only ill-timed but also not well thought out.

 

Speaking to Sunday PUNCH during a telephone interview on Friday, National Vice President (External Affairs), Akinteye Afeez-Babatunde, said, “The whole situation is crazy. We are tired. Students are crying and complaining. They can’t get cash. The leaders have confirmed to us that they don’t care for the people. The policy is fine but the process to get it done is to the detriment of our own lives as Nigerians. Our day-to-day activities have been disrupted. Nigerians are suffering.’

 

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