RECAP: Let’s look back at the controversy involving Seplat’s CEO and other top corporate stories from last week

RECAP: Let’s look back at the controversy involving Seplat’s CEO and other top corporate stories from last week

A lot of drama unfolded at Seplat Energy Plc last week, mainly centring around the company’s Chief Executive Officer Roger Brown. This plentiful drama ultimately culminated in the embattled CEO stepping down from his position. We will soon bring you up to speed with that. 

But first, welcome to Corporate News Roundup. This newsletter by Nairametrics focuses on the major company news stories that dominated the headlines during the past week. It is brought to you courtesy of Quidax.

Let’s begin…

Embattled Seplat CEO:  The controversy surrounding Seplat Energy’s CEO Roger Brown began on Wednesday after a letter was sent to him by Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior. The letter informed him about the revocation of his visa, residency and work permits. 

The ministry said it decided to revoke the CEO’s permits after allegations of racism, discrimination against Nigerian workers and favouritism for expatriate workers were made against him. In the meantime, the company was also dragged to court by some disgruntled stakeholders over the matter. 

Seplat’s Board supports Brown:  Still on the matter, Seplat sent a statement to Nairametrics on Thursday specifically refuting the racism allegation against Roger Brown. The statement described the allegations as “orchestrated misinformation” and said the company would work with the Ministry of Interior to set the records straight.

From the statement, it was clear that Seplat’s board of directors were behind Roger Brown. They described him as a good leader with unblemished records. They also asserted that the allegations against him were a “spurious and vindictive reaction” to Mr Brown’s efforts to enforce corporate governance standards at the company. 

Brown forced down by court:  Later in the week, a Federal High Court in Lagos restrained Roger Brown from continuing to function as Seplat Energy’s CEO, at least for a week. The company acknowledged that it received an exparte court order temporarily banning Mr Brown from performing his duties.

Consequently, he stepped down. Seplat Energy’s board reiterated their confidence in Roger Brown but said his functions have in the meantime, been delegated to Mr Samson Ezugworie, the Chief Operating Officer. 

MTN Nigeria’s incentive shares:  In other news, MTN Nigeria announced that it completed the allotment of its incentive shares to qualifying shareholders. The telco had promised the incentive shares during its December 2021 public offer of 575 million units of shares which was oversubscribed by 139.47%.

A corporate disclosure by MTN said 120,359 investors qualified to receive the incentive shares. This totalled 3,977,418 ordinary shares of MTN Nigeria. 

MTN Nigeria’s commercial papers:  MTN Nigeria also announced that it raised N125 billion through its Series 4 & 5 Commercial Paper issuance programme which was a success with a recorded 125% oversubscription. 

The proceeds of the CP issuance, which was finalised on the first of March, would be used by MTN Nigeria to meet its short-term working capital requirements.

Share buyback at Dangote Cement: The cement maker’s share buyback programme was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The share buyback will expire in December, meaning that interested Dangote Cement investors have between now and then to partake in it.

Note that in December last year, Dangote Cement’s shareholders reached a resolution authorising the company’s management to undertake a share buyback of up to 10% of its issued shares.

High operating cost at Dangote Sugar:  The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ravindra Singh Singhvi, complained about the negative impacts of high energy costs, currency crisis and import dependence. Speaking to Arise TV, the CEO said these challenges contributed to driving up its cost of sales to N311.2 million.

He specifically explained that the cost of raw materials in the international market has skyrocketed. In the same vein, energy costs rose, even as the value of the naira has reduced drastically over the past months, amid the forex challenges Nigeria has been facing lately.

Companies’ Q2 financial projections: Some NGX-listed companies disclosed their financial projections for Q2 2023. Geregu Power Plc said it expects to rake in N8.79 billion in gross profits and N6.94 billion and N4.84 billion in profit before and after tax, respectively.

TotalEnergies also said it projects to generate N84.86 billion worth of revenue in Q2 2023. The company also projected profits (before and after tax) of N5.29 billion and N3.58 billion, respectively. 

Fresh tech layoffs: Alerzo, a Nigerian startup specialising in B2B eCommerce, said it has laid off 15% of its workforce, representing 400 employees. That’s a lot of employees to be laid off at once. Sadly, it is happening only seven months after an earlier batch of layoffs.

The startup said the decision on who got laid off and who didn’t was based mainly on performance. Also, some roles got digitised, thus removing the need for some employees.

Andela’s latest expansion effort: Finally on this week’s roundup, Andela acquired Qualified, a leading technical skills assessment platform which identifies, qualifies and certifies top engineers. 

A statement seen by Nairametrics said the acquisition will help Andela’s 

global talent community to expand with the addition of more than 3.6M engineering users via Codewars, an online community powered by Qualified.

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