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Q2: Starcomms Projects N752m Loss After Tax

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Starcomms Plc has projected a turnover of N8.5 billion and loss after tax of N752 million for the half-year ended June 30, 2009.

The board of the company had reported a revenue of N8.522 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009 as against N7.403 billion in 2008, representing a growth of 15 per cent, earnings before interest exchange differences taxes and depreciation (EBITA) increased by 106 per cent to N2.349 billion as against N1.139 billion in 2008 while operating profit was N409 million as against a loss of N683,00 in the first quarter of 2008.

Starcomms posted a turnvover of N345 bill in for the financial year-ended December 31, 2009 as against N19.1 billion in 2007, representing an increase of 80.3 per cent.

The company’s loss after tax stood at N8.08 billion compared with a profit after tax of N1.016 billion in 2007.

Chief Maan Lababidi, chairman of the company told the 11th annual general meeting of the company last week that the profitability in 2008 was impacted by the decline in the value of the naira versus the dollar, as the company at the end of 2008 had $247 million in the dollar denominated debt, adding that the board is monitoring closely foreign exchange exposure and will implement appropriate strategies to reduces this exposure.

He said that the company’s strategy for 2009 is designed to emphasise profitability after the rapid growth experienced in 2008, adding that network expansion and capital expenditure will be reduced considerably from N29.94 billion in 2008 to N11.47 billion in 2009.

The chairman said operating expenditure is also being tightly controlled, while subsidy levels are being reduced as a result of continuing decreases in CDMA handset prices.

He said entry level handsets are now well below the $30 mark and that the dramatic growth in CDMA subscribers in India and China, along with new multiband chipsets, are expected to continue to put downward pressure on handset prices.

Lababidi noted that the impact of the new strategy had already been seen in the first quarter of 2009 level of profitability.

Mr. Maher Qubain managing director and chief executive of Starcomms said the company has been focused to provide a high standard of service and therefore it would not sign-up subscribers unless it has the capacity to deliver a premium service. He said the present strategy of the company is to defend and grow revenues profitably and that this would be done via three drivers.

Moving into high value-added data and content services, targeting geographic expansion into fast growing locations and growing fixed and mobile services.

He said the company’s focus is on moving its business from basic voice and data connectivity to fully converged solutions that integrate voice data, content and Internet Services.

He said the company is embedding a culture of excellence in customer service as well as innovation, which is crucial in an increasingly competition environment.

The managing director of Starcomms Mission is to be a leading Nigerian telecommunications Services company, focused on long-term profitability through growth in fixed-wireless, mobile and broadband segments.

Starcomms strategy is designed to deliver sustainable, profitable growth going forward, noting that the creation of shareholder value is the underlying driver of every decision made.

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Eco Currency: Finance Ministers, C’Bank Govs Oppose Buhari, Others

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Nigeria and some other West African countries have kicked against the adoption of Eco as regional currency by President Muhammadu Buhari and others.
This is contained in a communiqué read by the Minister for Economy and Finance of the Republic of Guinea, Mr Mamadi Camara, in Abuja, yesterday.
The communiqué was issued after an Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Central Banks of the Member States of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
Camara said the meeting noted with concern, the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Alasane Outtarra on December 21, 2019 to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as “Eco” by 2020.
He said: “WAMZ Convergence Council wishes to emphasise that this action is not in line with the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the “Eco” as the name of an independent ECOWAS Single Currency.
“WAMZ Convergence Council re-iterates the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government toward the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.
“The WAMZ Convergence Council recommends that an Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ Member States be convened soon to discuss this matter and other related issues.”
According to him, those at the meeting are, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Gambia, Mambury Njie and Minister of Finance of Ghana, Ken Ofori Atta.
Others were Minister of Finance and Development Planning Liberia, Samuel Tweah Jr, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed and the Minister of Finance, Sierra Leone, Jacob Shaffa.
Also in attendance were Central Bank governors of Gambia, Mr Buah Saidy, Gambia; Ernest Addison of Ghana; Louncenry Nabe of Guinea; Aloysius Tarlue of Liberia; Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria and Kelfala Kallon of Sierra Leone.
The Tide reports that eight West African countries had agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco, thereby effectively severing the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler, France.
The countries include Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

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RSG Dispels Rumours Of Unapproved Structures Demolitions

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The Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Engr Austin Ben-Chioma, has dispelled rumours making the rounds that the state government demolished structures that were not originally marked by the construction company handling the Rumuogba flyover project for demolition.
Ben-Chioma, who cleared the air on the rumours, on Tuesday in a chat with newsmen while supervising the demolition exercise, noted that the ministry only demolished structures that the construction company, Julius Berger had marked as being in the Right of Way (RoW) of the flyover, and for which compensation was paid.
He said that there was enough evidence to show that the ministry had not exceeded the demolition instruction given by Julius Berger Plc.
According to him, “I am on site and evidences are shown as you can see that we did not exceed the red line marked by Berger” adding that the property owners, “are not telling the truth because the evidences are visible and verifiable”.
The commissioner pointed out that, of the three flyovers under construction, the Rumuogba flyover was the longest with about 517.5 metres length.
He, however, noted that there was the challenge of high-rise buildings along the path, which must be cut to maintain the RoW of the flyover, having given the property owners till Thursday, January, 16 (yesterday) to do the reduction themselves to avoid using the ministry’s tractors which could negatively impact the buildings.
On the payment of compensations to those affected by the demolition, the works commissioner said 95 per cent of the compensation had been paid already to affected landlords.
“Government has paid 95 per cent of compensation to property owners and they are complying with the process,” he said.
Corroborating the claims, the consultant in charge of compensation for demolished structures, Mr Emma Wike, said all affected landlords would be paid what is due them by the end of the week.
According to him, most of the claimants, we sent them letters and those that gave power of attorney to consultants, estate surveyors and valuers or lawyers, we also wrote to them and informed them this is where the payment is being held. They’ve been coming to collect their money; within the week, we are going to pay more and if we do that, it will be remaining less than 10 percent of those that have not collected their money.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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CBN Gets New Deputy Gov

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President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Dr. Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Obiora will replace Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the President has already forwarded a letter nominating Dr. Obiora to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the name of Dr. Kingsley Isitua Obiora to the Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“In a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.
“Dr. Obiora, upon confirmation by the Senate, replaces Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.
“Dr. Obiora holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, a Masters in Economics from the University of Ibadan, and a Doctorate in Monetary and International Economics, also from the University of Ibadan.
“He is currently an Alternate Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, United States of America”, the statement said.
Since joining IMF as an Economist in 2007, Dr. Obiora has worked in various countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
While on leave from the IMF, he worked with the Nigerian government as Special Assistant to the President’s Chief Economic Adviser and Technical Adviser to the National Economic Management Team.

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