AP Share Price Manipulation: NSE, SEC, House of Reps side Dangote

“He should be in prison,” Otedola said.

Not a few investors in the shares of Africa Petroleum Plc and other mainstream investors were scandalised with the sanctions considered appropriate by the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in chastising the individuals and organisations that were involved in Nigeria’s most publicly denounced case of share price manipulations.

Continues here.

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OTEDOLA, DANGOTE’S RELATIONSHIP GETTING MESSIER: AP N40BILLION PUBLIC OFFER MONEY TRAPPED IN BANKS

When a very top official of the National Accounting Standard Board told a gathering that a total N40billion being part of the money raised during the public offer of African Petroleum is trapped in some Nigerian banks, then there must be a cause for concern.
The offer which had closed since September last year has […]

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Dangote telecoms outfit eyes 2009

Businessman extraordinaire, Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s telecommunication outfit, Alheri, may eventually take off in 2009.

Heard from the grapevine that Dangote is already dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to ensure a successful operation when eventually it takes off next year.

Industry pundits are, however, pointing out that he may be facing challenges in accesing loan from banks who are skeptical on the success of such a venture in view of the existing competition in the industry.

Considering the huge capital demand of the venture, it may not be a worthy risk that will be profitable.

The not too successful outing of a telecom outfit, under a popular bank, is a ready case-study.

As published in Issue 48 and uploaded on http://www.fnc0486.wordpress.com

Heavy Debt Burden: Banks suspend funding for Dangote’s cement project

A heavy debt burden and the anticipation of high profile competition for the share of the Nigerian cement supply side from Femi Otedola may have compelled Alhaji Aliko Dangote to call off investments with intent to expand production lines in his many cement manufacturing plants and to build new ones. Sources in the banking industry indicated that some bank’s exposure to Dangote have become quite high and more discomfiting for the banks in consideration of hurdles they would have to contend with in the effort to get the debt repaid.

Though Forbes Magazine had listed Dangote as the richest man in Nigeria in 2007, financial sector source said his total debt folio drawn from various Nigerian banks may add up to N622billion. According to the source, about N300billion was secured from a bank by Dangote to play in the stock market between February and March 2008 when prices of stocks were at their peak.

“Prices of stocks started falling soon after the investment in the stock market and the fall in prices have become protracted which has resulted in stock prices sliding to historic lows. This, apparently, has affected the repayment traction of Dangote and this had added to the depressing situation of the banks that gave out the fund,” the source explained.

According to the source, Dangote also secured a N75billion loan for Obajana Cement and N240billion for his cement production plant in Ibeshe while also funding his Alheri Engineering, the company that won the 3-G GSM licence and will manage the GSM telephony service provider in the Dangote group.

Dangote’s decision to beat a retreat from cement manufacturing besides Nigerian banks refusing to make their money available for his use, is the wholesale opening up of the supply side of cement through the cement importation scheme of the Federal Government.

Dangote had enjoyed near monopoly status on the supply side of cement in Nigeria, and not a few aspiring builders had protested persistent increase in the price of cement which got to a high of N1,800 mid 2008. The Federal Government under Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua removed the protectionist policy of the Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency which banned the importation of cement into the country and closed down some other Nigerian cement producing companies ostensibly to protect the manufacturing essence of Dangote Cement production subsidiaries and the other players in the sector.

“This did not help price at all, because just a few producers can come together to determine the price of a bag of cement,” an industry player told FORTUNE&CLASS Weekly.

The Federal Government’s bid to beat down the price of cement by flooding the market with imported brands may have started impacting the market as the price of a bag of cement has come down to about N1,500 even as the imported brands are yet to fully land in the country.

Industry buzz, however, suggests that Dangote may also be worried with the licence granted Femi Otedola by the Federal Government to import two million tonnes of cement into the country as part of the effort to crash cement prices.

“The Federal Government had to consciously look out for a Nigerian business that has enough cash to back up the importation. It would not make sense to allow for importation of cement when you don’t have high profile business people that can mobilize enough funds to flood the market in the shortest possible time. That is why I think the Federal Government gave Otedola the licence to be involved in the importation of cement and I think he has a commitment to the Federal Government to sell at very cheap rate to Nigerians,” a source in the Presidency said.

DANGOTE, YAR’ADUA FALL APART OVER ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT…MOVES TO ATIKU’s CAMP

The chummy relationship between Nigeria’s President, Umar Musa Yar’Adua and businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote may have hit the rocks, a source has said.

The source confided that though the President appreciates the support Dangote provided him while running for the office of the nation’s presidency but differences in matters relating to economic empowerment of Nigerians may have turned the president against the businessman profiled by American based Forbes Magazine to be the richest man in Nigeria in 2007.

“You know the president is a socialist by orientation, and I can tell you that despite the complains of some people that the president is not moving at a fast pace to provide the dividends of democracy to Nigerians, the president, in fact, has been doing battle with some of his friends in industry and business circle to make the provision of basic needs of existence affordable for Nigerians.” The source revealed.

“I think it is on this point that the president and Dangote departed. The President wants Dangote to use his influence to do things that will impact the lives of Nigerians but I think Dangote’s business considerations did not conform to the president’s vision.”

Other sources in the political circuit confided that as a result of this fall out with the president, Dangote might have moved camp to the side of former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

“It’s like taking a strategic position for 2011 which for politicians is around the corner. Since Dangote lost favour with the President he has moved his support to Atiku, the thinking in political circle is that Atiku is going to run again in 2011 and since for top level business people influential links and connection to government is an important factor in their business survival, Dangote may have opted to back Atiku for 2011, at least, to be able to find his way back into the corridor of power.”

All efforts made to speak with Dangote’s spoke person were not successful.

BETRAYAL! WHY OTEDOLA, DANGOTE FALL APART

The prospect of Mr. Femi Otedola and Alhaji Aliko Dangote engaging in direct business competition is already exciting Nigerians across the economic strata.

Until about two months ago, Otedola and Dangote have been known to be buddies in both the social and business senses. A source that had trailed the relationship between the two observed that though Dangote had had preeminence in the nation’s economic sphere before Otedola, but as soon as Otedola emerged in the big league of business owners about six years ago, he and Dangote became a pair both in public places and business alliances.

 In the early days of Transcorp, Otedola and Dangote were on board of the company, positioned back then as Nigeria’s answer to the dominance of the multinationals. Perhaps the most high profile business alliance between the two was the Blue Star Consortium, a special acquisition vehicle the two had used to acquire controlling stakes in the Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries. The acquisitions, were, however, revoked soon after Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua assumed the office of the nation’s president.

Beside, though Dangote is known to be the face of Obajana Cement Company, a cement manufacturing concern propositioned to be the biggest in production capacity in Africa, Otedola, his friend has also been mentioned to be part of Obajana in terms of stake holdings.

But now, it would seem that the business collaboration between the two may have been put under pressure arising from what sources close to the very moneyed men describe as betrayal of trust.

 “I think it all has to do with the battle to acquire Chevron Plc, the downstream arm of Chevron Oil and Gas in Nigeria.” A source close to the two said. “Of course, you know by now that Femi had an intense interest in the acquisition of the company. The benefits to him were obvious, if he had acquired Chevron, he would have become the indisputable dominant operator in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry. He would have merged Africa Petroleum, (a downstream behemoth in its own right after it was merged with Zenon) with Chevron Plc. With the two you can only imagine Femi’s competitive edge in the market place” The source revealed.

“Before the divestment of Chevron Oil and Gas from Chevron Plc was made public, Femi had apparently got information on the move and had shared his desire to buy Chevron with his friend, Dangote. I know that initially, Dangote was all in support of the scheme by Femi to acquire. But that was until Sayyu Dantata came into the picture.” The source said.

Sayyu Dantata, aside being a former business protégé of Dangote, is also related to Dangote, so it would seem natural that the balance of emotions by Dangote would tilt in favour of Sayyu.

“As it turned out, I am not too sure if Femi thought along that line. At least, he and Dangote had been at the Chevron thing for a while so there would have been no suspicion of Dangote’s shift of loyalty. So as the negotiation and bidding for Chevron proceeded, Femi constantly updated on his next moves and strategies. As issues evolved, he got to know that Sayyu’s MRS Group, the company that eventually won the bid was always outflanking him. The long and short of it is that there is the suspicion that Dangote might have availed his cousin, Sayyu of information Femi had shared with him.”

The same source said there had been a confrontation between the two where Dangote explained that Otedola could not have expected him to go the whole hog with him in consideration of his (Dangote) relationship with Sayyu.

“You know these people are matured men, you don’t expect them to bring their small fights to the public place, what I know is that Femi has decided to review and locate any opportunity in the economic space that enable him contribute to the economic advancement of the country. So all these talks about Femi taking on Dangote in competition by deciding to go into establishment of cement manufacturing plant is principally about expanding his business horizon. It has no direct bearing on the role Dangote played in the bid for Chevron.” The source explained.