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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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Business

Investment Expert Urges FG To Partner Zuga To Grow E-Naira

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An investment expert in Port Harcourt, Revelation Ohio, has called on the Federal Government to partner with Sam Zuga to grow e—naira to become the Nigeria’s digital currency in the cripto market space.

He said this became necessary in line with what is going on in the global digital currency market, where many countries, including the developed Western nations, are keying into the cripto market.

Ohio, the Chief Executive Officer of the Leverage Hub Consulting Limited, who made this known while speaking in an investment forum in Port Harcourt on Sunday, said that Sam Zuga, a Benue State-born Reverend Father, was the first African to develop a digital coin, the Zuga coin.

He described the Reverend Father as a philanthropist who has made remarkable mark in investment all over the world, especially in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

“Sam Zuga is the only African who has stretched himself to compete with those in developed countries in the cripto market, where all the digital coins are all non Africans.

“This man has stepped into the space and developed this coin named after him, and has strictly specified that the coin is African, and as we speak, this coin is strongly growing faster in the digital currency market.

“So it will be an advantage to the Federal Government, through the Central Bank that is considering to develop digital naira, to partner Zuga who is already in the space, as it used to be for those entering the market newly.

“This will have a multiplier effect on our people, as many unemployed persons will be engaged in the business, while the fortunes of many of the youths will be turned around”, he said.

The investment expert also urged the Nigerian public to take advantage of the space available in the cripto world to equip themselves financially, and get knowledge of the cripto market, since that is the way the world is currently going.

By: Corlins Walter

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Business

Brass Fertilizer Company To Create 15,000 Jobs

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Jobs – As Bayelsa Set For More Housing Estates

The Bayelsa State Government has allocated 595 hectares of land for the proposed Brass fertilizer company in Odioma Kingdom in Brass Local Government Area of the state.

This was as the government has also hinted that the bush clearing of the site of the said project has commenced in earnest.

The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Lands,Housing and Urban Development, Barr.Esau Andrew, disclosed this in Yenagoa, the state capital at the weekend.

He said that the Federal Government proposed project, when completed, was expected to create employment for not only qualified Bayelsans, but  has the capacity to engage no fewer than 15,000 workforce, with professional and un-professional qualifications.

Andrew who called for unity amongst the people of the host community, reiterated that the Governor Douye Diri’s led administration was willing to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

He averred that the government was also desirous of fast tracking the development of all communities and sectors of the state’s economy through impactful projects and programmes.

“The Brass fertilizer company is situated on a 595 hectares of land in Odioma kingdom of Brass council area.

“There are no problems with respect to the take-off and completion of this gigantic project, but what we currently have there are basically issues on intra-communal arguments as to who becomes the chairman, Odioma Council of Chiefs”, he said.

He added: “As a community member and commissioner in the state executive council, I can assure you that that can’t stall the project.

“Governor Diri has directed the community to toe the path of unity and peace so that they can benefit maximally from this enormous project, and the youths, chiefs and elders of the community are ready to do as directed by the governor”.

In the same vein, the government has reiterated its commitment to building additional housing estates in the state.

To this end, Andrew said that the Governor Diri administration in partnership with the Federal Government’s Ruhi 774 Housing Scheme and Shelter Afrique were set to build new 800 and 100 units housing estates, respectively in the state.

According to him, while the Ruhi 774 Housing Scheme being handled by Real Estate Development Association  of Nigeria (REDAN) is to build 100 housing units in each of the eight council areas of the state, Shelter Afrique on the other hand is expected to carry out the construction of another 100 housing units in Yenagoa.

He said further that the state government has also concluded plans to build additional 260 housing units in the yet to be developed hectares of land acquired by the previous administration for the Ayama-Ijaw Housing Estate in the Southern Ijaw council area of the state.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Oil & Energy

Global Geopolitics, Neo-Colonialism Fuelling Apathy Against Crude Oil, DPR Hints

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The Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), yesterday, allayed concerns over the future of crude oil globally, stating that the resource would continue to remain relevant for decades to come due to a number of emerging factors.

In his goodwill address at the ongoing 45th edition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council(SPENC), Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition(NAICE), Director and Chief Executive of the DPR, Engr Sarki Auwalu, argued that the current apathy towards crude oil is not driven by technical and economic considerations alone.

According to him, the ongoing narratives of the relative significance of each energy type and the clamour of ‘end of oil era’ is not informed by technical and economic considerations alone but by global geopolitics and the vagaries of neo-colonialism as well.

Auwalu maintained that crude oil’s continued relevance in decades to come is because of some of its features as an energy resource, which includes availability, accessibility, affordability, reliability, and efficiency.

This character of petroleum, he explained, gives it a degree of comparative advantage over emerging energy alternatives for secured and stable energy supply.

He said, “I would like to sum up the future of energy in these words: ‘for the foreseeable future, we would continue to see a mix of all energy sources – coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables – in the supply equation. Whereas renewable sources will make steady in-roads in the global mix, oil and gas will be relevant in decades to come’.

“This conclusion is informed by the outcomes of market analysis and forecasts based on demand-supply equilibrium, socio-economic fundamentals, climate change and environmental considerations as well as technology and innovation that is shaping the dynamics of global outlook.

“However, we would not delude ourselves that change is not happening; we must continually re-invent the industry and find ways to improve the environmental credentials of oil and gas by deploying technologies for carbon reduction and management to maintain its acceptability as fuel.”

He insisted that Africa, other oil-producing countries and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), must be key stakeholders in global energy discourse and ensure their voices and views are well articulated in discussions about the future of oil and gas.

“Indeed, as Africans, it must take its destiny in its hand and rewrite history, by leveraging abundant human and natural resources which nature has bequeathed on this great continent to create wealth for its people, eliminate poverty, and improve social-economic conditions while driving value for the globe. Only Africa can grow Africa,” he noted.

On its part, Auwalu disclosed that Nigeria had risen to the occasion, and had started using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development in the face of challenges posed by energy transition and global dynamics.

Specifically, he explained that the DPR was fostering innovative ideas and creating opportunities for investments and sustainability in the petroleum industry, especially most recently, through the establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre(NOGEC).

NOGEC, the DPR chief executive noted, was designed as a one-stop shop to drive safety, cost efficiency and value for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

In addition, he said the DPR identified the need to formulate the Maximum Economic Recovery(MER) Strategy for Nigeria to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimization and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

The framework of the MER, he explained, was hinged on six pillars, namely: reserves maturation and production optimization; exploration and resources maturation; improved oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) implementation; asset stewardship; performance evaluation and rewards; and risk management.

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