Business News in Brief

Nigeria Plans ₦310B Treasury Bills Auction

Nigeria plans to sell 310.22 billion naira ($984.83 million) of short-dated treasury bills at an auction on March 1, the central bank said on Tuesday.

It plans to raise 26.14 billion naira in three-month debt, 62 billion in six-month bills and 222.08 billion in one-year notes, using a Dutch auction system. Payment will be due the day after the auction.

Nigeria's central bank issues treasury bills twice a month to finance the budget deficit, help manage commercial lenders' liquidity and curb rising inflation.

Shoprite to open less stores in Nigeria than planned

South Africa's Shoprite will open two stores in Nigeria over the next 15 months, down from as many as 13, the retailer's chief executive said, citing lack of retail space in the west African country.

"With the new legislation (in Nigeria) where clothing retailers had to withdraw; now you don't have enough tenants for (shopping) centres and therefore not as many centres are being built; (hence) growth slows," Pieter Engelbrecht told Reuters in an interview.

Kraft Heinz Abandons Bid for Unilever

U.S. food company Kraft Heinz Co withdrew its proposal for a $143-billion merger with larger rival Unilever Plc, the companies said raising questions about whether Kraft will turn its focus to another target.

According to Reuters report, Kraft had made a surprise offer for Unilever to build a global consumer goods behemoth that was flatly rejected on Friday by Unilever, the maker of Lipton tea and Dove soap.

Med-View Airline Expands, Raises Capital

Med-View Airline would expand its operations to three of the  French speaking countries of West Africa in April, its CEO Muneer Bankole, the Managing Director said on Friday.

Bankole, speaking with journalists in Lagos, said that the airline would expand its operations to Dakar Senegal, Guinea (Conakry) and Abidjan in Ivory Coast.

He added that the company would be floating an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the next three months to give investors the opportunity to buy into the airline to make it raise additional funds.

‘Arik owes ₦352.5b in debt’

Arik Air was taken over by Assets Management Company of Nigeria AMCON because the airline was owing it N146 billion, out of a total N352.5 billion owed global creditors, AMCON’s CEO Ahmed Kuru has said.

He made this known at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions in Abuja.

AMCON took over the management of Arik on Feb. 9.

Fitch Rates Nigeria's USD Notes 'B+'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Nigeria's USD1 billion 15-year 7.875% senior unsecured notes a final rating of 'B+'. The final rating replaces the expected rating that Fitch assigned on 6 February 2017.

The rating is in line with Nigeria's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'B+', which has a Negative Outlook. The rating is sensitive to changes in Nigeria's Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR.

On 25 January 2017, Fitch affirmed Nigeria's Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR at 'B+' and revised the Outlook to Negative from Stable.

Afreximbank and Ecobank agree on African Trade and Investment Promotion

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Ecobank Transnational Inc have signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote joint corporate objectives, Reuters reports.

The MOU shows that Afreximbank and Ecobank will design joint innovative and tailor-made financial instruments and solutions

The initiatives envisaged include creation of $500 million programme dedicated to financing trade among afreximbank member countries where Ecobank conducts business

Aero to resume flights, gets new CEO

Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest private airline will soon be back in operation. Its new owners, the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has appointed the Deputy Managing Director, Arik Air, Capt. Ado Sanusi as the new Chief Executive Officer.

AMCON spokesperson, Mr Jude Nwauzor made this known in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos on Friday.

Aero suspended flights on 1 September 2016. AMCON owns 60 per cent of the shares.

AMCON takes over Arik Airline

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Thursday said it has taken over the operation of Nigeria’s largest domestic carrier, Arik Air.

Mr Jude Nwauzor, AMCON spokesperson, confirmed the development to newsmen in Lagos.

Nwauzor said the airline would now be managed by Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, an aviation expert under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).

He said the government decided to intervene because Arik Air is immersed in heavy debt burden that is threatening to ground its operations.