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Dangote Cement Group on Thursday said its chief finance officer, Guillaume Moyen, has resigned.

The company in a disclosure to the Nigerian Exchange said Mr Moyen’s resignation is based on personal reasons and takes effect from June 30,2022.

It added that Gbenga Fapohunda has been appointed as the company’s acting CFO.

“This to inform Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and other stakeholders of the resignation of Mr Guillaume Moyen as Group Chief Finance Officer of Dangote Cement Plc (DCP) for personal reasons”, the company said.

“The Board would like to thank Mr Guillaume Moyen for his commitment and contributions to DCP and wishes him well in his future endeavours”.

Mr Fapohunda, who replaces Mr Moyen as the Acting Group Chief Finance Officer of the company, is a multi-skilled finance professional with over twenty years of experience.

He joined Dangote Cement Group as the Regional Chief Finance Officer (CFO) in Nigeria, effective March 1, 2021.

He served as the executive finance director for West Africa at Japan Tobacco International (JTI), where he was on the board. He joined JTI from United Parcel Service (UPS), where he was Nigeria’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO).

Roles held before joining the DCP are CFO and a board member at British American Tobacco (BAT) Ghana, where he oversaw 12 countries in Africa, a manager within the financial advisory team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). He also worked as a consultant at KPMG Professional Services.

Mr Fapohunda is a graduate of Delta State University. He also holds an MBA in Finance from London Business School U.K.

He is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria; an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation; as well as associate member of the Institute of Cost Management Accountants.

He is also an associate member of the Institute of Treasury and Financial Administration; an associate member of the Institute of Credit & Risk Management; and an associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
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Sterling fell on Friday against the dollar and Swiss franc as renewed fears of a global recession knocked the risk sensitive British currency.

After its biggest six-month decline since 2008 against the US dollar, risk sensitive sterling fell 0.5 per cent against the greenback to $1.21140 and 0.3 per cent versus the Swiss franc to 1.1600, in close proximity to a more than two-year low against the Swiss franc touched earlier this week.

Sterling also fell against a weakening euro, down 0.2 per cent against the single currency to 86.29 pence. It recorded its biggest half-year decline against the single currency since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

“The pound is suffering on a fresh risk averse backdrop on day one of the second half of this year, not just against the US dollar but largely across the board,” said Neil Jones, Head of FX Sales Financial Institutions at Mizuho Bank.

“Demand destruction is kicking into the UK economy, expectations for further rate hikes are cooling whilst the Northern Ireland protocol continues to weigh,” he said.

Higher prices forcing people to cut back on purchases, resulted in weaker-than-expected US consumer spending data and stoked fears for a slowdown in the world largest economy.

Legislation allowing Britain to scrap some of the rules on post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland is next due to be debated in the British parliament on July 13.

The legislation, which would unilaterally replace parts of the bilateral deal – known as the Northern Ireland protocol – would set up further clashes with the European Union and potentially harm sterling, analysts said.

In the meantime, traders have scaled back some of their Bank of England rate hike expectations for the year amid rising fears higher cost of borrowing will hurt further the UK economy.

The central bank began raising borrowing costs in December last year, increasing Bank Rate to 1.25 per cent from a record low of 0.1 per cent in an attempt to tackle inflation, which rose to a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent in May. IRPR

Mizuho and ING analysts said, all things considered, they would not be surprised to see sterling dipping below $1.20. “It should be just a matter of time,” Jones said.

REUTERS
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Heineken (HEIN.AS) will build a 1.8 billion peso, or $90 million, can manufacturing plant in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua near its brewery in the town of Mequoi, the company said on Monday.

The plant, Heineken’s seventh in the country, will bring around 120 direct jobs after opening and around 150 during the construction phase, it said in a press release.

The beermaker said it had seen increased demand for cans in the country, as other national alcoholic drink producers like Becle (CUERVO.MX), Jose Cuervo’s parent company, say they are struggling to obtain glass to bottle their spirits.

Around 40 per cent of beer in Mexico is currently made in cans, while the rest is made in glass bottles, according to the National Chamber of Beer and Malted Drinks.
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Japan’s Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) on Tuesday rejected a shareholder proposal at its annual general meeting (AGM) that would have led to the disclosure of a decades-old agreement with 43 per cent stakeholder Renault SA (RENA.PA).

Ahead of the AGM, one investor proposed deeming Renault as Nissan’s parent company for disclosure purposes which by law would force the publication of the agreement which stipulates the automakers’ capital and business alliance.

Lack of publication prevents shareholders discussing the alliance which consequently remains “unequal”, the investor said. Nissan owns only a 15 per cent non-voting stake in Renault.

Observers expected opposition from the French automaker to scupper the proposal. Still, Nissan last month said it would disclose the agreement’s content in its annual securities report to the extent it does not violate a confidentiality obligation.

Full disclosure of the Restated Alliance Master Agreement would reveal the scope of the 23-year-old tie-up, formed when Renault rescued Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy. The deal has long been the source of tension as it allows Renault to increase its involvement in Nissan’s management.

The alliance, which in 2016 added Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T), was rocked by the 2018 ouster of alliance founder Carlos Ghosn amid a financial scandal. The automakers have since pledged to pool more resources and work closer to make electric vehicles (EVs).

Still, Renault in April said all options were on the table – including a possible public listing of its EV unit – when it comes to overhauling its business in response to the swift electrification of the auto industry.

For Nissan – an EV pioneer with its 2010 Leaf – it is too early to consider spinning off its EV division, its chief operating officer said last month.

REUTERS
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Kazakh billionaire businessman Timur Kulibayev has handed to the state energy company his stake of 49 per cent in Petrosun, a large oil and oil products trader controlled by China’s CNPC, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar said on Tuesday.

Petrosun buys and refines the lion’s share of Kazakh crude that is not produced and marketed by Western oil majors, before selling it on the local market.

Sklyar did not give a reason for the decision by Kulibayev, a son-in-law of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kulibayev could not be immediately reached for comment.

In April, another Nazarbayev relative, his nephew Kairat Satybaldy, handed to the government a stake of 29 per cent in telecoms firm Kazakhtelecom after being arrested on charges of embezzlement and abuse of office.

Nazarbayev, who resigned in 2019 but had retained sweeping powers as the head of security council, lost that position during violent unrest in January.

His successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has since set up a panel to tackle monopolies and seize assets seen to have been privatised improperly.
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China’s commerce ministry said on Tuesday it would extend anti-dumping tariffs on certain steel fasteners imported from the European Union and United Kingdom for five years.

The anti-dumping tariffs will be imposed from June 29, the ministry said in a statement.
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Even for a veteran meme stock trader like Mike Minutelli, Revlon Inc (REV.N) is a wild bet.

The 30-year-old plumber from Oxford, North Carolina, scored a 350 per cent profit last week by selling half the shares in the US cosmetics maker he bought after it filed for bankruptcy protection on June 16. He thinks he can make even more by holding on to the rest of his shares through the bankruptcy.

Minutelli dabbles in shares such as GameStop Corp (GME.N) and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (AMC.N) – dubbed meme stocks because of their popularity with retail investors. He was emboldened by the success that individual investors enjoyed with another bankrupt company, Hertz Global Holdings Inc , that defied Wall Street’s conventional wisdom.

Retail investors who bought Hertz shares after it filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 ended up with handsome profits when a group of investment firms offered $6 billion a year later to take over the car rental firm.

Minutelli said he hoped the same would happen with Revlon. “If there is a buyout at a higher price, then all of the people shorting the stock have to cover their position,” he said, noting he had spent “a few hundred dollars” to bet on Revlon.

A Revlon spokesperson declined to comment.

Retail investors’ fascination with Revlon has pushed its shares up by more than 300 per cent since it filed for bankruptcy 11 days ago. It is unusual for a bankrupt company’s shares to trade in such a way, because investors usually worry that its assets will be insufficient to settle the claims of creditors and suppliers to leave equity holders with any value.

But retail investors, who often exchange ideas and organize on social media platform Reddit, were emboldened when those who invested in Hertz got lucky.

Hertz suffered a major blow at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when travel shut down and demand for its cars plummeted. But by the time the company exited bankruptcy a year later, vaccines had become available and travel was re-opening.

Private equity firms and hedge funds got into a bidding war for Hertz which resulted in a deal that delivered about $8 per share for meme stock investors, most of whom had paid $2 to $5 per share.

Revlon has said it was forced to file for bankruptcy not because its products are unpopular, but because of supply chain issues, labor shortages and raging inflation.

The investors hope these problems will go away by the time its bankruptcy protection ends in April 2023, and that someone will swoop in to buy Revlon and deliver them a windfall.

“My rationale was that Hertz got bought out of bankruptcy, and I think investors will do the same thing with Revlon,” said Justin Benchtold, a 41 year-old retail sector worker in Asheville, North Carolina, who bought Revlon shares following its bankruptcy filing.

Revlon’s bankruptcyfiling, however, said its focus was on restructuring debt rather than pursuing a sale.

USC Gould School of Law professor Robert Rasmussen, a bankruptcy expert, said he was skeptical that Revlon’s fortunes could turn substantially to put the meme stock investors in the black.

“You need a story that, all of a sudden, demand for Revlon is going to increase to such an extent that the company is now worth more than its outstanding debt. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’m certainly not betting on the stock,” said Rasmussen.

SQUEEZING SHORTS

Retail investors are also exploiting the strong short interest in Revlon. By snapping up shares, the investors drive up their value, forcing those who have shorted them to buy stock to close their positions, leading to further gains in the price.

Revlon is one of the most heavily shorted stocks. About 46 per cent of its free float is sold short, up from 38 per cent at the start of the month, according to S3 data.

Aaron Jackson, a 40-year-old former chef in Prince Edward Island, Canada, who is now a full-time trader, said he had seen retail investors successfully squeezing short sellers and was looking to score such a win with Revlon.

“When I saw that was a winning formula, I started looking for these stocks that could rally a community behind them, like Revlon,” Jackson said.

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Russia looked set for its first sovereign default in decades as some bondholders said they had not received overdue interest on Monday following the expiry of a key payment deadline a day earlier.

Russia has struggled to keep up payments on $40 billion of outstanding bonds since its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, as sweeping sanctions have effectively cut the country off from the global financial system and rendered its assets untouchable to many investors.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said there are no grounds for Russia to default but it is unable to send money to bondholders because of sanctions, accusing the West of trying to drive it into an artificial default.

Russia’s efforts to avoid what would be its first major default on international bonds since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago hit a insurmountable roadblock in late May when the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) effectively blocked Moscow from making payments.

“Since March we thought that a Russian default is probably inevitable, and the question was just when,” Dennis Hranitzky, head of sovereign litigation at law firm Quinn Emanuel, told Reuters. “OFAC has intervened to answer that question for us, and the default is now upon us.”

While a formal default would be largely symbolic given Russia cannot borrow internationally at the moment and doesn’t need to thanks to plentiful oil and gas export revenues, the stigma would probably raise its borrowing costs in future.

The payments in question are $100 million in interest on two bonds, one denominated in US dollars and another in euros , Russia was due to pay on May 27. The payments had a grace period of 30 days, which expired on Sunday.

Russia’s finance ministry said it made the payments to its onshore National Settlement Depository (NSD) in euros and dollars, adding it has fulfilled obligations.

Some Taiwanese holders of the bonds had not received payments on Monday, sources told Reuters.

For many bondholders, not receiving the money owed in time into their accounts constitutes a default.

With no exact deadline specified in the prospectus, lawyers say Russia might have until the end of the following business day to pay the bondholders.

SMALL PRINT

The legal situation surrounding the bonds looks complex.

Russia’s bonds have been issued with an unusual variety of terms, and an increasing level of ambiguities for those sold more recently, when Moscow was already facing sanctions over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a poisoning incident in Britain in 2018.

Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, chair in banking and finance law at Queen Mary University in London, said clarity was needed on what constituted a discharge for Russia on its obligation, or the difference between receiving and recovering payments.

“All these issues are subject to interpretation by a court of law, but Russia has not waived any of its sovereign immunity and has not submitted to the jurisdiction of any court in any of the two prospectuses,” Olivares-Caminal told Reuters.

In some ways, Russia is in default already.

A committee on derivatives has ruled a “credit event” had occurred on some of its securities, which triggered a payout on some of Russia’s credit default swaps – instruments used by investors to insure exposure to debt against default. This was triggered by Russia failing to make a $1.9 million payment in accrued interest on a payment that had been due in early April.

Until the Ukraine invasion, a sovereign default had seemed unthinkable, with Russia being rated investment grade up to shortly before that point. A default would also be unusual as Moscow has the funds to service its debt.

The OFAC had issued a temporary waiver, known as a general licence 9A, in early March to allow Moscow to keep paying investors. It let it expire on May 25 as Washington tightened sanctions on Russia, effectively cutting off payments to US investors and entities.

The lapsed OFAC licence is not the only obstacle Russia faces as in early June the European Union imposed sanctions on the NSD, Russia’s appointed agent for its Eurobonds.

Moscow has scrambled in recent days to find ways of dealing with upcoming payments and avoid a default.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last Wednesday to launch temporary procedures and give the government 10 days to choose banks to handle payments under a new scheme, suggesting Russia will consider its debt obligations fulfilled when it pays bondholders in roubles.

“Russia saying it’s complying with obligations under the terms of the bond is not the whole story,” Zia Ullah, partner and head of corporate crime and investigations at law firm Eversheds Sutherland told Reuters.

“If you as an investor are not satisfied, for instance, if you know the money is stuck in an escrow account, which effectively would be the practical impact of what Russia is saying, the answer would be, until you discharge the obligation, you have not satisfied the conditions of the bond.”

REUTERS
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Russia edged closer to default on Sunday amid little sign that investors holding its international bonds had received payment, heralding what would be the nation’s first default in decades.

Russia has struggled to keep up payments on $40 billion of outstanding bonds since its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, which provoked sweeping sanctions that have effectively cut the country out of the global financial system and rendered its assets untouchable to many investors.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said there are no grounds for Russia to default but is unable to send money to bondholders because of sanctions, accusing the West of trying to drive it into an artificial default.

The country’s efforts to swerve what would be its first major default on international bonds since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago hit an insurmountable roadblock when the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) effectively blocked Moscow from making payments in late May.

“Since March we thought that a Russian default is probably inevitable, and the question was just when,” Dennis Hranitzky, head of sovereign litigation at law firm Quinn Emanuel, told Reuters. “OFAC has intervened to answer that question for us, and the default is now upon us.”

Whiel a formal default would be largely symbolic given Russia cannot borrow internationally at the moment and doesn’t need to thanks to rich oil and gas revenue, the stigma would probably raise its borrowing costs in future.

The payments in question are $100 million in interest on two bonds, one denominated in U.S. dollars RU000A0JWHA4= and another in euros RU234748670=, Russia was due to pay on May 27. The payments had a grace period of 30 days, which will expire on Sunday.

Russia’s finance ministry said it made the payments to its onshore National Settlement Depository (NSD) in euros and dollars, adding it has fulfilled obligations.

However, it is unlikely that funds will find their way to many international holders. For many bondholders, not receiving the money owed in time into their accounts constitutes a default.

With no exact deadline specified in the prospectus, lawyers say Russia might have until the end of the following business day to pay the bondholders.

SMALL PRINT

The legal situation surrounding the bonds looks complex.

Russia’s bonds have been issued with an unusual variety of terms, and an increasing level of ambiguities for those sold more recently, when Moscow was already facing sanctions over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a poisoning incident in Britain in 2018.

Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, chair in banking and finance law at Queen Mary University in London, said clarity was needed on what constituted a discharge for Russia on its obligation, or the difference between receiving and recovering payments.

“All these issues are subject to interpretation by a court of law, but Russia has not waived any of its sovereign immunity and has not submitted to the jurisdiction of any court in any of the two prospectuses,” Olivares-Caminal told Reuters.

In some ways, Russia is in default already.

A committee on derivatives has ruled a “credit event” had occurred on some of its securities, which triggered a payout on some of Russia’s credit default swaps – instruments used by investors to insure exposure to debt against default. This was triggered by Russia failing to make a $1.9 million payment in accrued interest on a payment that had been due in early April.

Until the Ukraine invasion, a sovereign default had seemed unthinkable, with Russia being rated investment grade up to shortly before that point. A default would also be unusual as Moscow has the funds to service its debt.

The OFAC had issued a temporary waiver, known as a general licence 9A, in early March to allow Moscow to keep paying investors. It let it expire on May 25 as Washington tightened sanctions on Russia, effectively cutting off payments to U.S. investors and entities.

The lapsed OFAC licence is not the only obstacle Russia faces as in early June the European Union imposed sanctions on the NSD, Russia’s appointed agent for its Eurobonds. Read full story

Moscow has scrambled in recent days to find ways of dealing with upcoming payments and avoid a default.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last Wednesday to launch temporary procedures and give the government 10 days to choose banks to handle payments under a new scheme, suggesting Russia will consider its debt obligations fulfilled when it pays bondholders in roubles.

“Russia saying it’s complying with obligations under the terms of the bond is not the whole story,” Zia Ullah, partner and head of corporate crime and investigations at law firm Eversheds Sutherland told Reuters.

“If you as an investor are not satisfied, for instance, if you know the money is stuck in an escrow account, which effectively would be the practical impact of what Russia is saying, the answer would be, until you discharge the obligation, you have not satisfied the conditions of the bond.”


REUTERS
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Saudi Arabia’s industry and Mineral Resources minister said on Friday the country would invest $3.4 billion in the vaccine and biomedical drugs sector, according to state news agency SPA.

The Minister Bandar Alkhorayef, who heads the newly-established vaccines and biopharmaceutical industry committee, said the move is part of the kingdom’s push towards achieving pharmaceutical security and making Saudi Arabia a more prominent hub for the sector.

The investments will be implemented in two phases. The first includes techniques for manufacturing basic child vaccines and insulin, while the second aims to localize immunological and cancer drugs industry.

Saudi Arabia is currently importing all its needs of vaccines and biopharmaceutical drugs, the minister said.