Diamond Bank, FCMB To Raise New Capital

Diamond Bank, FCMBDiamond Bank is considering raising fresh capital and selling some assets in order to maintain its capital ratios.

The bank’s management says the capital plan will ensure it meets all regulatory requirements both in the short term and in the future.

Diamond Bank’s capital adequacy ratio had fallen to 15.6 percent of assets by mid-year from 18.6 percent a year ago.

According to Reuters, the bank’s chief executive, Uzoma Dozie, told an analysts’ conference call, “We are doing a capital management plan and that will determine how much capital we want to raise, tenor and size.

“We don’t have any need to grow our branch network any more. We are also looking at some assets that we can dispose of and we are a long way into that.”

Meanwhile, mid-tier bank FCMB plans to raise 10 to 15 billion naira of Tier II capital to boost its balance sheet and will target its retail investors for the offering.

FCMB’s capital adequacy ratio was close to the regulatory limit of 15 percent of assets at mid-year, and the bank’s management say the capital raising is to provide an additional cushion.

FCMB CEO, Mr Ladi Balogun, said, “For the Tier II we would be looking at anywhere in the range of 10 to 15 billion naira. It’s really going to be targeted at retail because we feel that the rates from institutions will be high.”

Three Missing, Eighty-Seven Rescued After South Africa Mine Collapse

south african2Almost 90 miners were rescued and three were still missing after a cave-in at a gold mine in northeastern South Africa on Friday, the firm that owns the mine said.

The collapse at the mine’s main entrance trapped 87 workers underground, all of whom were rescued, Vantage Goldfields (VTGFF.PK) said in a statement. However, three others who had been working on the surface at the time of the collapse could not be accounted for.

No fatalities were reported. However, there was confusion regarding the number of workers involved.

“As we speak they might already all be out. Most have been evacuated,” Mike McChesney, chief executive of the small gold producer told Reuters by telephone from the mine in Barbeton town in Mpumalanga province about 360 kilometers (225 miles) east of Johannesburg.

McChesney and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union initially said 115 workers had been trapped.

South Africa’s mines are the deepest and among the most dangerous in the world. Fatalities in the industry have been falling due to both improved safety practices and a reduction in the labor force as production declines.

Vantage Goldfields is an Australia-based company mining gold at Barberton, a town that traces its origin in the country’s 19th century gold rush. Vantage was delisted from the Australian bourse in January 2015.

The mine workers union later said 78 workers had been rescued and three workers were missing. The reason for the discrepancy between the union’s figures and the company’s was not immediately clear.

“At this point, it’s unclear what caused the disaster,” Manzini Zungu, a spokesman for the union said.

Last year, 77 workers were killed in mining accidents, the lowest number on record, compared with 84 in 2014.

Facebook Activates Safety Checks For Nigeria

facebookPopular social media platform, Facebook Inc, has activated its “safety check” feature after deadly blasts in Nigeria on Tuesday, following criticism from users that the social media network was being selective about deploying it.

Facebook usually activates the feature, which allows users to mark themselves as safe, after natural disasters, but not bombings or attacks.

The social network, however, activated it after Friday’s gun and bomb attacks in Paris, drawing criticism from some users, because the feature was not activated for suicide bombings in Beirut, a day earlier.

In a post on his Facebook page, Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the feature would now be used more frequently.

Court Bars FRCN From Interfering In Stanbic IBTC Operations

court-gavelThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has barred the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) from interfering in the operations of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc pending the final determination of a suit challenging the actions of the regulatory agency.

Presiding Justice Ibrahim Buba in a ruling on the motion for interlocutory injunction filed by Stanbic IBTC Holdings also restrained FRCN from inviting the company’s entire Board of Directors to any meeting in connection with any statutory investigation of its financial statements until the final determination of the pending suit.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings had dragged the FRCN and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) to court over allegations of material mis-statements in its financial accounts which culminated in a one-billion Naira fine.

The court’s proceedings have been adjourned till Friday, November 6, for the hearing of the motion for joinder by an interested party.

The Main Suit

In the main suit, the bank is asking the court to determine whether FRCN has the power to impose a fine of one billion Naira on it.

The bank also wants the court to determine whether or not the FRCN has the power to license Directors and other office holders of public interest entities and if it also has the power to suspend the said licence by suspending a Director or other office holder of a public interest entity.

It also wants the court to determine if the council has the power to bar any Director or other office holder from signing the entity’s financial statements without informing the affected Director or other office holder what he/she has done wrong and giving him/her the opportunity to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him?

It further asked the court to answer the question whether “the true construction of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) Act 1979 is non-registration of an agreement registrable under the NOTAP Act a criminal offence”?

Other reliefs sought by the bank include: “A declaration that failure to register a registrable agreement under the NOTAP Act is not a criminal offence.

“A declaration that failure to register a registrable agreement under the NOTAP Act does not render the agreement illegal and unenforceable or render the agreement null and void.

“A declaration that the effect of non-registration of a registrable agreement under the NOTAP Act is as stated in section 7 of the NOTAP Act, namely to prevent payment or remittance of money to any person outside Nigeria in respect of the unregistered agreement.

“A declaration that the first defendant has no power to dictate to a public interest entity the types of commercial agreements that it may enter into in the conduct of its business.

“A declaration that the first defendant has no power to license Directors or other office holders of a public interest entity who may sign financial statements of such entities, for example by giving the directors or other office holders FRC numbers and insisting that the FRC numbers must be quoted on all financial statements signed by them.

“A declaration that Regulation 18 of the Inspection and Monitoring Regulations is invalid, null and void”.

FRCN had last week sanctioned Stanbic IBTC over its audited accounts for 2013 and 2014 and suspended the bank’s chairman, Mr Atedo Peterside, and its Chief Executive, Mrs Sola David-Borha.

The FRCN also suspended two other Directors; Mr Arthur Oginga and Dr. Daru Owei, for attesting to what it termed the “misleading” 2013 and 2014 financial accounts of the bank, as well as Ayodele Othihiwa of KPMG Professional Services for his firm’s alleged complicity in the infractions highlighted in the financial reports for the two-year period.

The sanctions were based on issues raised by the bank’s minority shareholders led by the Mahtani brothers who own the Churchgate conglomerate, to some other regulatory agencies such as NOTAP, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.

El-Rufai Assures Judiciary Of Independence

el-rufaiThe Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has an assurance of his administration’s total support for the independence of the Judiciary and Rule of Law which he affirmed as a necessary requirement for the sustenance of democratic governance, peace and development of the state.

Addressing principal staff of the Ministry of Justice, led by the Chief Judge, Justice Tanimu Zailani, during his visit to the ministry on Thursday, Governor El-Rufai said that his administration will not interfere in the affairs of the judiciary as regards the dispensation of justice, funding and rule of law.

He expressed worry over the poor state of prisons across the state due to congestion of prisoners, and appealed to the Chief Judge to ensure the speedy trial of inmates especially those awaiting trial.

The Governor also said that he would liaise with the Chief Judge to review the cases of some of the inmates, particularly those on death row to see how he can grant some of them amnesty if the need arises.

On his part, the Kaduna State Chief Judge thanked the Governor for the unscheduled visit to the ministry, and also used the opportunity to highlight some of the challenges confronting the ministry which includes; lack of Judges for the three arms of the state judiciary, High Court, Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Court of Appeal.

He asked for an assessment of the need for the appointment of Sharia and Customary Court judges.

The Governor, while describing the judiciary as a very important arm of government, assured them of his readiness to work closely with the ministry.

El-Rufai’s visit to the ministry excited the workers who came out in large numbers to welcome him. They said that it was the first time a Chief Executive of the state would be visiting the ministry since the inception of the state.

UK Election: Millions Cast Votes

UK Election
Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, leaves the polling station at Sutton Village Hall in Sutton after casting his vote in the UK general election on May 7, 2015 in Doncaster, England. Lindsey Parnaby / Anadolu Agency

Britons went to vote on Thursday in the tightest election for decades; one that could cause government gridlock, push the world’s fifth-largest economy closer to leaving the European Union and stoke a second attempt by Scotland to break away. 

Final opinion polls showed Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and Ed Miliband’s opposition Labour Party almost in a dead heat, indicating neither will win enough seats for an outright majority in the 650-seat parliament.

“This race is going to be the closest we have ever seen,” Miliband told supporters in Pendle, northern England, on the eve of the vote. “It is going to go down to the wire.”

Cameron said only his Conservatives could deliver strong, stable government; “All other options will end in chaos.”

The Conservatives portray themselves as the party of jobs and economic recovery, promising to reduce income tax for 30 million people while forcing through further spending cuts to eliminate a budget deficit still running at 5 percent of GDP.

Labour says it would cut the deficit each year, raise income tax for the highest 1 percent of earners and defend the interests of hard-pressed working families and Britain’s treasured but financially stretched National Health Service.

“I think Labour is best for the good of the whole country. The Conservatives have cut spending too much,” said student Abi Samuel at a polling station in Edinburgh’s well-heeled New Town.

Retiree Robert McCairley said it had been a messy campaign.

“What disappoints me is that there was too much on the National Health Service, hospitals and schools but not enough on the deficit – no one showed us the figures,” he said.

If neither party wins an overall majority, talks will begin on Friday with smaller parties in a race to strike deals.

That could lead to a formal coalition, like the one Cameron has led for the past five years with the centrist Liberal Democrats, or it could produce a fragile minority government making trade-offs to guarantee support on key votes.

British top share index fell to a near one-month low although election jitters failed to translate into any significant sell-off. The two main parties have been neck-and-neck in opinion polls for months.

The British Pound Sterling was slightly weaker but the short-term cost of protection against swings in the Pound jumped to multi-year highs.

“What is important to us is clarity as soon as possible,” Andrew Witty, Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s sixth-largest company by market value, told reporters.

2022 Qatar World Cup : FIFA Rules Out Compensation For Clubs

fifaFIFA says it will not compensate clubs and leagues unhappy about plans to play the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November and December.

The football governing body, FIFA said it would not issue an apology for the inconvenience caused for the need for leagues to be rescheduled.

A Fifa task force has recommended that the 2022 World Cup take place in winter, to avoid Qatar’s hot summer temperatures.

FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke said, “There are seven years to reorganise.”

FIFA’s executive committee will meet in Zurich next month to ratify the task force’s recommendation.

A FIFA task force made a provisional recommendation for the tournament to start on November 26, ensuring an enforced break on the domestic European leagues.

Valcke also suggested that a 2022 World Cup final on 23 December looks favorable. Despite this, the Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore complained that the timing would cause havoc with England’s traditional festive club programme, while Fifa vice-president, Jim Boyce, wants it played a week earlier.

Valcke admitted the scheduled date was “not perfect,” but added: “Why are we talking about compensation? It’s happening once, we’re not destroying football.

FIFA’s Secretary General added, “Why should we apologise to the clubs? We have had an agreement with the clubs that they are part of the beneficiaries. It was $40m (£26m) in 2010 and $70m (£45m) in 2014. We are bringing all our people to enjoy the sporting and financial results of the World Cup.”

Facebook Founder Zuckerberg To Donate $25Million To Combat Ebola

FacebookFacebook Inc. Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced on Tuesday that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, would donate $25 million to the Centres for Disease Control Foundation to fight Ebola.

The money will go to the CDC Foundation, the charitable organization that raises and distributes funds on behalf the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to public health organizations.

“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio,” he said in a post on Facebook.

“We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.”

The death toll in the outbreak, first reported in Guinea in March, has reached 4,447 from a total of 8,914 cases, World Health Organization Assistant Director-General, Bruce Aylward said on Tuesday.

The United States had its first fatality from the current Ebola outbreak when Thomas Eric Duncan died in a Dallas hospital last week.

One of the nurses who treated him has also been diagnosed with the disease.

Nigeria is the only country to have successfully contained the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

According to the CDC, Nigeria reported their first case on July 20 when Patrick Sawyer travelled from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria.

He exposed 72 other passengers with the virus. Nigerian health officials found everyone who had been in contact with Sawyer and developed a mobilization plan.

They reached more than 26,000 households in this process. Nigeria also established the Ebola Management Centre in the process.

Nigeria has not reported new cases since August 31.

Arsenal Announce £4.7million Annual Profit, £173million Cash Reserves

ArsenalArsenal have posted a £4.7million profit and reported increased turnover in their latest financial figures released on Friday.

The results, which covered the year ended May 31, 2014, also revealed the club had cash reserves of £173million.

The profit was down £2million from the corresponding 2013 results with turnover up to £301.9million from £280.4million, driven by improved broadcasting income, new commercial deals and their FA Cup success.

Wages were up by £12million to £166.4million, representing 55.7 per cent of football revenue, with key players such as Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere having all signed new, improved contracts.

For the first time in several seasons, Arsenal did not sell any star players last season – and indeed went on to sign Chile forward Alexis Sanchez after the World Cup as well as France defender, Mathieu Debuchy and England forward, Danny Welbeck from Manchester United on transfer deadline day.

Profit on sale of player registrations up to May 31 was reduced to £6.9million from £47million in the same period for 2013.

With Arsenal’s £390million switch to a new 60,000-seater home at Ashburton Grove in 2006 being funded by a long-term fixed-rate bond repayment, the group reported cash balances up to £173.3million, from £119.6million last year.

Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, vowed the board would continue to support manager Arsene Wenger in aiming to keep Arsenal challenging for honours.

The club is in excellent shape, both on and off the pitch. We are proud of our 11th FA Cup success and the reward this represents to our fans in the Arsenal community around the world.

“There is always more to do and, whether investing in the team or in training facilities which will provide long-term benefit to the club, our guiding principles are the same and our focus is clear, on delivering more on field success.

“This remains the shared ambition of our majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, the board and everyone connected with the club. We are well placed to deliver against those ambitions.”

The directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the company’s website. Legislation in the United Kingdom governing the preparation and dissemination of financial information differs from legislation in other jurisdictions.

Commenting on the results for the year the club’s Chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, said, “Our revenues have exceeded £300 million, underpinned by TV and the significant progress made on our commercial agenda, and our improved financial position has allowed us to supplement the squad with important new signings. Our ambition is to put Arsenal Football Club at the pinnacle of the game here and in Europe. We all want to savour a repeat of the joys of last May.”

Facebook Launching Project To Make Internet More Affordable

Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who can’t afford it, mirroring efforts by Google Inc (GOOG.O) and others.

The project is called Internet.org and will be launched Wednesday. It focuses on enabling the next 5 billion people without access to come online, Zuckerberg said.

“The goal of Internet.org is to make Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today,” said Zuckerberg.

Other players in the project include Ericsson (ERICb.ST), MediaTek Inc (2454.TW), Nokia (NOK1V.HE), and Opera Software ASA (OPERA.OL).

The partnership will develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and deploy Internet access in underserved communities, Facebook said. (link.reuters.com/zen52v)

Google said in June that it had launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes could bring reliable Internet access to the world’s most remote regions.

That pilot program, Project Loon, took off in June from New Zealand’s South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles, or twice as high as airplanes, above the ground, Google said.