The Nigerian equities market, on Thursday, gained N28bn as 28 stocks appreciated.
A total of 513.8 million shares valued at N6.448bn exchanged hands in 4,243 deals.
The equities market rebounded as the All-Share Index rose by 22 basis points to settle at 36,688.75 basis points, while the year-to-date return expanded to 36.5 per cent.
Accordingly, market capitalisation increased by N27.8bn to settle at N12.773tn. Acording to analysts at Afrinvest Securities, the day’s performance can largely be credited to price appreciations in Zenith Bank Plc, International Breweries Plc, Access Bank Plc and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, which appreciated respectively by 1.8 per cent, 4.1 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent.
In addition, activity level improved as volume and value traded rose by 55.1 per cent and 15.9 per cent to 513.8 million units and N6.4bn, respectively.
Performance across sectors was broadly bullish. First on the gainers chart was the Banking Index, which was up by 0.8 per cent as buying interest in Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc and Access Bank drove the index to a positive close.
The oil/gas index followed, rising by 0.5 per cent, primarily on the back of price appreciation in Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, which gained one per cent.
Following closely, the consumer goods index added 0.4 per cent due to gains in International Breweries Plc and Dangote Sugar.
Meanwhile, bargain-hunting in AxaMansard Insurance Plc and NEM Insurance Nigeria Plc drove the insurance index 0.2 per cent higher. On the other hand, the industrial goods index was the lone loser, declining five basis points as investor appetite for the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria waned, causing a decline of 3.2 per cent.
Investor sentiment, measured by market breadth, strengthened on 28 stocks advancing against 11 declining.
Custodian and Allied Plc, International Breweries and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc respectively gained five per cent, 4.1 per cent and four per cent, emerging as the day’s top gainers while PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Champion Breweries Plc and Wapic Insurance Plc declined by five per cent, 4.7 per cent and 3.8 per cent to become the top three losers.
“In line with expectation, market performance was positive at the close of trade while activity level and investor sentiment improved. We expect market performance to stay positive in the near term as investors’ position ahead of anticipated year-end rally,” Afrinvest analysts said.
Oando Plc has suffered a major setback in its effort to stop the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from conducting a forensic audit into its affairs, as a Federal High Court in Lagos, on Thursday, declined the jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought before it by the embattled oil firm.
The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa struck out the suit, which also sought an order of the court directing the lifting of a technical suspension on Oando shares and advised the oil firm to take its case to the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST).
The ruling was sequel to a preliminary objection filed by Counsel to SEC, George Uwechue, SAN, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the suit.
In his ruling, the judge held that: “that the subject matter of this issue falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) and not this court.
“In addressing this issue, I find the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007 quite instructive. Section 284 of the ISA (2007) says the Tribunal shall, to the exclusion of any other court of law or body in Nigeria, exercise jurisdiction to hear and determine any question of law or dispute involving- (a) a decision or determination of the Commission in the operation and application of this Act, and in particular, relating to any dispute- (i) between capital market operators; (ii) between capital market operators and their clients; (iii) between an investor and a securities exchange or capital trade point or clearing and settlement agency; (iv) between capital market operators and self regulatory organisation; (b) the Commission and self regulatory organisation; (c) a capital market operator and the Commission; (d) an investor and the Commission; (e) an issuer of securities and the Commission; and Jurisdiction of the Tribunal, etc. 132 (f) disputes arising from the administration, management and operation of collective investment schemes.
“It is not in dispute that the matter before me is a dispute between capital market operators.” Continuing, the judge noted that “the duty of the court is to apply the law”.
He declared: “On this premise, I have no option than to uphold the preliminary objection. I also in the same vein uphold the preliminary objection of the 2nd defendant (Nigerian Stock Exchange). This court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute between both parties. “The proper place for this matter to go is IST. I therefore strike out this matter.” Reacting to the ruling, Uwechue, said: “We brought a notice of preliminary objection stating that this court has no jurisdiction to hear capital market matters because there is a special tribunal set up for it. And the court agreed with us. So the court upheld our preliminary objection and therefore struck out the application.”
Oando had approached the court for an order to lift the suspension of its shares as well as to stop an impending forensic audit after SEC, on October 18, directed the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to place trading of its shares on full suspension for 48 hours and on technical suspension from Friday, October 20.
The suspension, according to SEC, was to enable it conduct a forensic audit into the affairs of Oando Plc following petitions and protests by some aggrieved shareholders leading to a directive by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market to issue a directive to the regulator to investigate the grievances.
In a statement in October, SEC said that it carried out a comprehensive review of the petitions and found a breach of the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act 2007; breach of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies; suspected insider dealing; suspected related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length and discrepancies in the shareholding structure of Oando Plc, among others.
The commission, in the memo said these findings were weighty and therefore needed to be investigated further. “The commission’s primary role as apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market is to regulate the market and protect the investing public. The commission notes that the above findings are weighty and therefore needs to be further investigated. After due consideration, the commission believes that it is necessary to conduct a forensic audit into the affairs of Oando Plc. This is pursuant to the statutory duties of the Commission as provided in section 13(k), (n), (r) and (aa) of the ISA 2017.
“To ensure the independence and transparency of the exercise, the forensic audit shall be conducted by a consortium of experts made up of auditors, lawyers, stockbrokers and registrars,” the regulator had stated. Trading in Oando’s shares were also suspended by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in October.
The Nigerian equities market opened for the week on a bullish note as investors reacted to the positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in the third quarter (Q3) 2017. The country’s GDP grew by 1.40 per cent in Q3, 2017 higher than the revised growth rate of 0.72 per cent recorded in Q2, 2017.
Buoyed by the positive news, investors increased demand for stocks. Consequently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) appreciated by 0.24 per cent to close at 36,792.60, while market capitalisation closed higher at N12.81 trillion. The appreciation recorded in the share prices of FBN Holdings, Nestle, PZ Cussons, UBA, and Zenith Bank was mainly responsible for the gain.
In all, 17 stocks appreciated, while 15 depreciated. PZ Cussons led the price gainers with 10.2 per cent, trailed by NASCON Allied Industries Plc with 9.5 per cent. Eterna Plc rose by 4.7 per cent, just as Diamond Bank Plc, NEM Insurance Plc Chalked up 4.5 per cent. Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and May & Baker Nigeria Plc garnered 4.3 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively among others.
Conversely, Forte Oil Plc led the price losers with 9.7 per cent, trailed by Law Union & Rock Insurance Plc with 4.6 per cent. Unity Bank Plc shed 3.7 per cent, while Learn Africa Plc Plc went down by 2.0 per cent.
However, the total value of stocks traded went down by 61 per cent to N2.45 billion invested in 208.70 million shares in 2,993 deals, down from N6.31 billion last Friday. The three most actively traded sectors were: Financial Services (175.47 million shares), Consumer Goods (21.42 million shares), and Conglomerates (5.63 million shares), while the three most actively traded stocks were: Custodian and Allied Insurance (40.45 million shares), FBN Holdings Plc (27.45 million shares) and Fidelity Bank (23.46 million shares)
In terms of sectoral performance, across sectors was broadly positive as three of the five indices closed northwards, while one declined another one was flat.
The NSE Banking Index and NSE Consumer Goods Index appreciated 0.5 per cent apiece. Similarly, the NSE Insurance Index gained, inching 0.4 per cent higher. On the flip side, the NSE Oil & Gas Index was the lone loser, shedding 1.1 per cent.
Analysts at Meristem Securities Limited said positive sentiments on stocks in the consumer goods and banking space strengthened the positive momentum of the bourse at the close of trades on Monday.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange has upgraded its website, www.nse.com.ng, to be mobile friendly with a better layout and navigation befitting of the brand.
The upgraded website would enable users to access information quickly and easily on the various products and instruments that are listed and traded on the regulated market, the local bourse explained in a statement on Tuesday..
Commenting on the upgraded website, the Chief Executive Officer of the Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, noted that the upgrade was in line with the NSE’s drive to create more liquidity and improve participation in the market through greater access to market information and visibility for all securities listed on the Exchange.
Onyema said, “Accessibility and usability are our watchwords in providing capital market information to existing and potential investors. We aim for an Exchange that is easily accessible and actively used by investors who now have greater thirst for more information and detailed disclosure information to make sound investment decisions.
“The explosion of online services and the rising popularity of the Internet will continue to create new opportunities for the Exchange to utilise in its determination to constantly improve the level of services it provides to the market.”
The Head, Corporate Communications, Olumide Orojimi, said the NSE carried out the upgrade with the user experience firmly in mind.
Orojimi said, “We are excited about our newly upgraded website which has been fully optimized to be mobile friendly and contains robust information for diverse stakeholders in our ecosystem. The revamp was fuelled by feedback from users that wanted certain high demand pages easier to navigate and some key changes implemented.”
Analysts at the FSDH Merchant Bank Limited have projected that the year-on-year inflation rate will drop marginally to 15.91 per cent in October 2017, from the 15.98 per cent reported in September 2017.
The expected marginal decline in the inflation rate was premised on slower increase in the food and non-food divisions, compared with the previous month.
Based on the data release calendar on the website of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the bureau is expected to release the inflation rate for October 2017 on November 18, 2017. The monthly Food Price Index (FPI) that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released recently showed that the Index averaged 176.4 points, 1.26 per cent lower than the revised value for September 2017, but 2.45 per cent higher than the October 2016 figure. According to the FAO, all categories of commodities used in the calculation of the Index dropped in value with the exception of cereal. The FAO Dairy Index fell by 4.19 per cent from September 2017 as the prices of butter, skim milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) eased in October.
Also, analysis by FSDH Merchant Bank indicated that the value of the naira depreciated on the interbank market, while it appreciated on the parallel market. Precisely, the naira lost by 0.02 per cent on the interbank market to close at US$/N305.80 while it gained 0.83 per cent on the parallel market to close at US$/N362.50 at the end of October. “The naira appreciation in the parallel market and the drop in the prices of food at the international market led to a drop in the prices of some consumer goods in Nigeria. “The prices of most of the food items we monitored in October 2017 moderated downwards, while a few items recorded price appreciation. “The movement in the prices of food items during the month resulted in 0.85 per cent increase in our Food and Non-Alcoholic Index to 256 points.
“Our Food and Non-Alcoholic Index increased by 20.24% from 212.90 points in October 2016. We also noticed increase in the prices of Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels divisions between September 2017 and October 2017,” the bank stated. Furthermore, it revealed in a report that itmodel indicated that the general price movement in the consumer goods and services in October 2017 increased the Composite Consumer Price Index (CCPI) to 243.04 points, representing a month-on-month increase of 0.77 per cent. “We estimate that the increase in the CCPI in October 2017 would produce an inflation rate of 15.91 per cent marginally lower than the 15.98 per cent recorded in September 2017,” it added.
Forex Market In line with its foreign exchange policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) injected US$195 million into the interbank forex market last Tuesday, to maintain stability in the naira’s exchange value. Accordingly, the interbank rate appreciated from N359.49/US$1 last Monday to N355.85/US$1 by midweek. However, a report by Afrinvest West Africa Limited showed that the rally was reversed on Thursday as the naira closed at N360.40/$1, the same value it closed last Friday. This represented a nine-kobo week-on-week deprecation. Similarly, the official rate traded within a tight band, marginally depreciating 15 kobo to N305.90/$1 from last week’s close of N305.75/$1. In continuance of recent trend in the parallel market, the naira traded flat at N363/$1 all through last week. At the I&E Window, the NAFEX rate pulled back losses on Monday (down eight basis points to N360.61/$1) and Tuesday (down six basis points to N360.83/$1) to close the week at N360.57/$1, implying a seven basis pointsloss week-on-week. Moreover, despite primary market auctions held last week, activity level in the I&E Window weakened relative to previous weak as total turnover fell to $680 million, relative to $750.8 recorded the preceding week. In the FMDQ OTC futures market, the total value of open contracts of the Naira settled OTC futures for the 12 instruments on the calendar stood at $2.9 billion as atlast Thursday, from $3 billion the previous week. On the back of the rally in oil prices and re-balancing of FGN debt in favour of external borrowings, Afrinvest expects theexternal reserves to continue to accumulate in the near term. “As such, we expect the CBN to sustain frequency of interventions and the naira to continue to trade within a tight band at all segments of the forex market in the near term,” the report added.
Money Market Outlook
Last week, interbank rates trended lower on the first four trading days due to improved system liquidity attributable to Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) refund, open market operations (OMO) and treasury bills maturity, which offset OMO mop-ups by the central bank. However, interbank rates spiked on Friday as banks provisioned for SMIS auction.Hence, the open buy back (OBB) andovernight rates rose to 36.3 per cent and 39.4 per cent, up 20.5 per cent and 20.6per cent, week-on-week respectively. Also, sentiment in the treasury bills market stayed bullish due to improvement in system liquidity during the week. Hence, average yield on benchmark bills declined 38 basis points week-on-week to 17.5 per cent. There was a treasury bills auction last Wednesday, where-in investors continued to aggressively bid for longer dated bills although rates were barely changed relative to the last auction. “In the coming week, an OMO maturity of N233.8 billion is scheduled to hit the system and we expect rates to remain around similar levels despite continued OMO mop ups by the CBN,” the report added.
Bonds Market Review The domestic sovereign bonds market traded slightly bullish in the week with average yield moderating 0.2 per cent week-on-week as investors’ appetite for long dated instruments stayed strong though more activities remained noticeable at the shorter end of the bond yield curve. Average bond yield opened the week flattish after closing at 15.3 per cent on Monday, (from 15.3 per cent close the previous week) and remained stable at that level for Tuesday. By mid-week however, average yield moderated by 14 basis points to settle at 15.2 per cent following positive sentiment towards short and medium dated instruments though average yield on long dated bonds traded flat.
The bullish sentiment was sustained into Thursday as average yield further declined by three basis points and eventually closed on Friday within the positive territory as it settled at 15.2 per cent. “Whilst we have noticed improved investor attraction for bond securities since the central bank started guiding towards a moderation in short term T-bills and OMO rates, we somewhat attribute the rather bullish investor sentiment on bonds to increased confidence in the credit status of the Federal Government of Nigeria following the slight rally in crude oil prices during the week (Brent crude price traded 1.3% higher week-on-week to close at US$60.92/b),”Afrinvest added. Nigerian Eurobonds yields on average moderated 15 basis points week-on-week to settle at 4.8 per cent with all the bonds currently trading at premium to par value. The Kenyan, Zambian and the Nigerian Eurobonds remained the best performingyear-to-date with 10.5 per cent, 9.7 per cent and 8.4 per cent respectively.
Opposition to FG’s Reform
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun last week stated that ongoing efforts by the federal government to institute reforms in the economy have continued to be resisted by those she described as “vested interests within and outside the system.” But the minister maintained that the government would not be deterred, insisting that the reforms would continue. She said: “But we are not fazed. The work of reform goes on. It is, to borrow from the Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe, morning yet on Creation Day. Not very long from now, Nigerians and the world will look back on this recession we have just emerged from, and realise that it was the turning point in Nigeria’s journey to true growth and greatness. “Let me point out that the most important elements of any reform effort tend to be the least flamboyant. We are confident that in the months and years ahead, Nigerians and the world will see the full impact of the foundational resetting that the Buhari administration has been focused on since 2015.” She pointed out that since mid-2014, when the price of crude oil fell dramatically, the country’s finances became challenged.
Banking Sector Recapitalisation Following the intense weakening of Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment, resulting in the deterioration of asset quality and rise in non-performing loans (NPLs) in the banking industry, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consider asking the country’s lenders to recapitalise. The Senior Resident Representative and Mission Chief for Nigeria, African Department, IMF, Mr. Amine Mati, gave this advice while presenting a paper in Nigeria. Mati stressed the need for the banks to remain strong so that they would be able to play their roles in the economy. He explained: “We believe the banking sector should be strong to support the economy. So, it is important we recapitalise the banks to make sure that they are very strong.
“The regulators should try to make sure that the banks operate in line with international standards to be able to withstand any shocks.” He, however, endorsed the CBN’s tight monetary policy stance, saying it had helped in gradually easing inflationary pressure and brought about exchange rate stability. But he urged the central bank to continue in its pursuit of a unified exchange rate, just as he acknowledged efforts that had been made by the CBN in eliminating pressure in the forex market. He noted that the country exited the recession in the second quarter of the year, driven by improvements in the oil and agriculture sectors.
After two consecutive weeks of negative performance, the Nigerian equities market rebounded last week as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) rose 1.31 per cent to close at 36,939.59. Despite the improved corporate earnings declared by most companies for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the market had declined for two straight weeks.
However, sentiments turned positive last week to completely reverse the previous losses. As a result, the NSE ASI ended the week higher by 1.31 per cent at 36,939.59, while market capitalisation appreciated by same margin to be at N12.785 trillion. In addition, all other Indices finished higher during the week with the exception of the NSE-Main Board and NSE Consumer Goods Indices that depreciated by 0.11 per cent and 0.07 per cent respectively. The NSE Insurance Index led with 1.52 per cent, trailed by the NSE Industrial Goods Index with 1.45 per cent. The NSE Oil & Gas Index climbed 1.44 per cent, while the NSE Banking Index closed 0.27 per cent higher. Analysts at Cordros Capital said: “With Q3-17 earnings season now over, activities in the market will be driven by outlook for fourth quarter and full year earnings releases. However, we believe the market fundamentals remain strong, amid improving macroeconomic conditions.”
Daily Market Performance The NSE ASI rose marginally by 0.06 per cent on Monday as the market opened on a positively note. Similarly, the market capitalisation appreciated by same margin to close at N12.63 trillion. The growth was bolstered by gains recorded by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated ( ETI), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Zenith Bank, UAC of Nigeria, and Forte Oil Plc, pushing the year-to-date (YTD) growth to 35.76 per cent as at that day.
However, the total value of stocks traded on the first day of the week fell by 30 per cent to N1.82 billion staked on 174.95 million shares in 3,401 deals. The three most actively sectors were: Financial Services (129.08 million shares), Conglomerates (15.89 million shares), and Consumer Goods (12.47 million shares), while the mostly traded stocks were: FBN Holdings (26.51 million shares), Diamond Bank (26.24 million shares) and UBA (16.12 million shares) In terms of sector, it was mixed with the NSE Industrial Goods Index emerging the biggest loser, down 1.5 per cent largely due to losses in Lafarge Africa Plc (-3.9 per cent). The NSE Insurance Index trailed, declining by 0.09 per cent on the back of losses in AXA Mansard Insurance(-1.9 per cent) and NEM Insurance (-3.1 per cent ) while the NSE Consumer Goods Index closed flat.
On the positive side, the NSE Banking Index and the NSE Oil & Gas Index appreciated by 0.07 per cent and 0.01 per cent in that order. The market rose further on Tuesday the index added 0.54 per cent to close at 36,680.29, while market capitalisation ended higher at N12.69 trillion. Unlike the first day, the value of shares traded rose on Tuesday by 67.47 per cent as investors committed N3.05 billion on 259.07 million shares in 4,503 deals. The three most actively traded sectors were: Financial Services (176.62 million shares ), Consumer Goods (44.36 million shares), and Conglomerates (21.64 million shares), while the three most actively traded stocks were: Diamond Bank (42.94 million shares), Fidelity Bank (31.06 million shares) and FBN Holdings (21.47 million shares).
A further analysis of the market performance showed that the NSE Industrial Goods Index led the sectoral chart. It rose by 1.1 per cent propelled by Dangote Cement Plc. The NSE Oil & Gas Index closed 1.0 per cent higher just as the NSE Insurance Index chalked up 0.9 per cent. Similarly, the NSE Consumer Goods Index gained 0.2 per cent. The lone loser was the NSE Banking Index that shed 0.9 per cent. The positive trend was maintained for the third day running as the index rose 0.56 per cent to be at 36,880.20, just as the market capitalisation added N71.6 billion to close at N12.8 trillion. All the sectoral indices closed the day in the green led by the NSE Industrial Goods Index with 0.9 per cent on the back of gains in Dangote Cement (+1.6 per cent) and Lafarge Cement (+0.1 per cent). The NSE Oil & Gas Index followed, rising 0.4 per cent due to price appreciation in 11 Plc (+3.9 per cent), while the NSE Banking Index and the NSE Insurance Index grew by 0.2 per cent apiece. The NSE Consumer Goods Index gained 0.01 per cent. After three days of gains, profit taking set in to push the index down marginally by 0.03 per cent to close at 36,877.15. The depreciation recorded in the share prices of Dangote Cement, Zenith Bank, Nigerian Breweries, Transcorp, and PZ Cussons was mainly responsible for the decline. In line with the bearish trend, the total value of stocks fell by 24 per cent to N3.95 billion from N5.20 billion.
The three most traded sectors were: Financial Services (224.37 million shares), Healthcare (60.58 million shares), and Consumer (15.17 million shares), while the three most actively traded stocks were: FBN Holdings (73.40 million shares), Union Dicon (58 million shares) and UBA (32.02 million shares). Sector performance was mixed on Thursday with the NSE Banking Index and the NSE Insurance Index closed positive, rising 0.7 per cent each. Conversely, the NSE Consumer Goods Index depreciated the most, shedding 1.2 per cent due to profit taking in Nigerian Breweries Plc (-3.2 per cent), Unilever Nigeria (-2.4 per cent) and PZ Cussons (-4.0 per cent). In the same vein, losses in Dangote Cement (-0.2 per cent) dragged the NSE Industrial Goods Index 0.1 per cent lower, while the NSE Oil & Gas Index closed flat.
Market Turnover Apart from closing higher, the market also recorded high volume and value of transactions as investors exchanged 1.363 billion shares worth N17.714 billion in 21,891 deals, compared with 1.394 billion shares valued at N16.403 billion that exchanged hands the previous week in 19,195 deals. The Financial Services Industry remained the most patronised with 1.046 billion shares valued at N9.032 billion traded in 12,847 deals, thus contributing 76.79 per cent and 50.99 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The Consumer Goods Industry followed with 119.907 million shares worth N5.109 billion in 4,827 deals. The third place was occupied by Healthcare Industry with a turnover of 70.587 million shares worth N77.530 million in 349 deals. Trading in the top three equities namely, FBN Holdings Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc accounted for 497.016 million shares worth N2.947 billion in 4,205 deals, contributing 36.4 per cent and 16.6 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. Also traded during the week were a total of 1,156,439 units of Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) valued at N6.404 million executed in 13 deals compared with a total of 104,544 units valued at N11.506 million transacted the preceding week in seven deals. A total of 2,775 units of federal government bonds valued at N2.770 million were traded this week in 4 deals, compared with a total of 559 units valued at N485, 802.83 transacted the previous week in five deals.
Price Gainers and Losers Meanwhile, 37 stocks appreciated last week higher than 33 of the previous week, while 29 stocks depreciated in price, lower than the 32 equities of the previous week. University Press Plc led the price gainers with 26.3 per cent, trailed by Learn Africa Plc with 19 per cent, just as Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc chalked up 18.2 per cent. Dangote Flour Mills Plc and Eterna Plc appreciated by 15.2 per cent each. Other top price gainers included: FBN Holdings Plc (13.7 per cent); Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (8.9 per cent); AXA Mansard Insurance Plc (7.4 per cent); UBA (6.3 per cent) and NEM Insurance Plc (6.2 per cent). Conversely, Newrest ASL Nigeria Plc led the price losers, shedding 18.3 per cent, followed by Linkage Assurance Plc with a decline of 13.3 per cent. Unilever Nigeria Plc depreciated by 6.5 per cent. Livestock Feeds Plc and C & I Leasing Plc closed 5.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent lower respectively. Custodian and Allied Plc and Beta Glass Plc declined by 5.0 per cent apiece, just as Trans-Nationwide Express Plc shed 4.9 per cent. International Breweries Plc and Morison Industries Plc fell by 4.7 per cent each.
An Italian judge is expected to decide on December 20 whether to send two oil majors, Eni and Shell, to trial over alleged corruption in Nigeria, two legal sources said on Tuesday.
Reuters reported that Milan prosecutors had asked for the two companies and some past and present managers, including the current Chief Executive Officer, Eni, Claudio Descalzi, to be indicted in a case revolving around the purchase of a Nigerian oilfield in 2011.
A judge must now rule whether to press charges or dismiss the case.
The Italian inquiry is one of several under way into the acquisition of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 field for about $1.3bn, including current cases in the Netherlands and Nigeria.
Under Italian law, a company can be held responsible if it is deemed to have failed to prevent, or attempt to prevent a crime by an employee that benefitted the company.
On Tuesday, a court in Milan decided to wrap a strand of the investigation involving three former Shell managers and the current Shell Foundation Chairman, Malcolm Brinded, into the main inquiry, the sources said.
All the parties involved have denied any wrongdoing.
Last week, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said the sum of $85m had been recovered from the controversial $1.6bn Malabu deal from the United Kingdom.
Courts in Nigeria and Italy are investigating the purchase of the block by Shell and Eni. Shell said in April that it knew that some of the payments it made to Nigeria for the rights to the oil field would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company associated with a former Minister of Petroleum Resources and convicted money launderer, Dan Etete
Eni has said neither the company nor Descalzi were involved in any allegedly illicit conduct.
A Nigerian court ordered the asset temporarily seized in January at the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, but the move was overturned.
But a Federal High Court in Abuja in March discharged its interim forfeiture order on the controversial OPL 245.
The OPL 245, believed to be the largest in Africa, was said to have been fraudulently acquired from the Federal Government by Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998.
The oil block, which was awarded by Etete to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company in which he was a shareholder, was sold to Shell and Eni in what has been described as a shady transaction.
Global oil benchmark, Brent crude, rose above $61 per barrels on Tuesday after a week of gains as the prospect of increasing United States exports dampened bullish sentiment that has driven Brent crude to more than two-year highs above $60 per barrel.
Brent, against which half of the world’s oil is priced, increased to $61.32 a barrel by 8:00pm, up around 37 per cent from its 2017 lows hit in June.
The United States West Texas Intermediate crude was seven cents or 0.1 per cent higher at $54.21, still near its highest since February and close to its highest for more than two years.
Traders and brokers said investors were adjusting positions after price rises of around five per cent in October.
The US crude exports have jumped close to two million bpd and production has risen almost 13 per cent since mid-2016 to 9.5 million bpd.
“The problem is as soon as prices move up it’s too easy for the US producers to add another rig or another completion crew,” said Stewart Glickman, energy equity analyst at CFRA Research in New York, “Then they increase production and you’re back where you started.”
Six analysts polled by Reuters ahead of inventory reports estimated, on average, that crude stocks were forecast to have fallen by 2.6 million barrels in the week ended October 27.
Iraq’s move to increase oil exports from its southern ports by 220,000 bpd to 3.45 million bpd to make up for supply disruptions from its northern Kirkuk fields also weighed on prices, traders said.
The Disciplinary Committee of the National Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange has summoned Mr. Victor Ogiemwonyi, Mr. Mathew Ojo, Mr. Alex Adeusi, Mr. Fisayo Jassey-Jabarr and Partnership Securities Limited, a dealing member of the NSE, to appear before it to answer for allegations of fraud.
The appearance of the aforementioned persons is scheduled for November 14 at the NSE building in Lagos, according to a document obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday.
The Exchange said the summons was for the purpose of hearing a complaint by Mr. Arnold Ekpe against Partnership Securities Limited and Ogiemwonyi for misappropriation of proceeds of shares; and complaint against Ojo, Adeusi and Jassey-Jabarr regarding their actions, which allegedly assisted/facilitated Partnership Securities and Ogiemwonyi to misappropriate the proceeds of the sale of Ekpe’s shares.
According to the NSE, there will be a hearing on the life ban of Ogiemwonyi and the cancellation of the certificate of registration of Partnership Securities Limited by the Securities and Exchange Commission; and the suspension of Adeusi for a period of five years from engaging in any capital market activities in the Nigerian capital market by SEC.
The document signed by the council’s secretary, Mojisola Adeola, read in part, “At the hearing, Mr. Victor Ogiemwonyi, Mr. Mathew Sunday Ojo, Mr. Alex Adeusi, and Mr. Fisayo Ibrahim Jassey-Jabarr, and Partnership Securities Limited will be required to give reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.
“Any documents they wish to rely upon during the hearing should be provided to the Nigerian Stock Exchange by noon on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
“Kindly note that the chief executive officer or any director and/or official of Partnership Securities Limited may attend this hearing. Note further that in the event of a failure to honour this invitation, the committee shall proceed with the hearing and make such decisions and issue such directives as it deems fit.”