Fly Modern Ark and Cerberus Capital Management – a consortium of local and international investors – have made an unsolicited loan offer to SAA to the tune of R21 billion in return for a 51% stake in the bankrupt airline.
In September, media reported that SAA would need R21 billion between then and 2021, when the airline is expected to return to profitability.
In his mid-term budget speech in October, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had announced a R5 billion bailout for SAA.
Last month, SAA’s acting chief financial officer (CFO), Deon Fredericks, told Parliament that the airline would need a further R3.5 billion between then and end-March 2019.
On Saturday SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said lenders had agreed to advance a facility that would see the national carrier through to March next year.
In an email sent last week by Fly Modern Ark’s co-founder, Theunis Crous, to various stakeholders – including SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan – Crous confirms that talks regarding the funding were held between his team and airline officials.
“As indicated, our company – in partnership with local and international financiers – has engaged with Vuyani Jarana, [former interim CFO] Robert Head and [SAA treasury boss] Lucky Ncobela with regard to funding SAA in the short, medium and long term, which included the potential equity transaction related thereto.”
The department of public enterprises has said that SAA needs an equity partner, but has not revealed the size of the stake that it is willing to sell.
Crous’ email reads further: “The above discussions culminated in a teleconference with ourselves, our international partners ... These discussions were constructive and fruitful, and we were to engage after the minister of finance’s mid-term budget vote in October 2018.”
However, the email shows that following Head’s departure from SAA, the meeting did not happen.
Added Crous: “We are firmly of the view that we, as a consortium, would add intrinsic value to the turnaround strategy of SAA over and above the funding requirements.”
Gordhan acknowledged Crous’ correspondence via an email written by a person named Selatswa Masenya: “On behalf of Mr Pravin Gordhan ... I hereby acknowledge receipt of your correspondence ... the contents thereof have been noted and will be brought to the minister’s attention at the earliest opportunity.”
Crous told Press last week that SAA needed an equity partner.
“We are offering them R21 billion as a loan and we are prepared to take 51% and then plough in more money to recapitalise the business. SAA initially expressed an interest in the idea but later went quiet. Cerberus knows how to turn around companies.”
Tlali confirmed that a meeting with Fly Modern Ark had taken place in May at the airline’s head office in Kempton Park.
“Fly Modern Ark wanted an opportunity to present their capability, which they suggested could be beneficial to SAA’s turnaround strategy, including addressing our liquidity challenges. The discussion with Fly Modern Ark did not include any discussion regarding a strategic equity partner.”
He said the troubled airline was not involved in any bid to to find an equity party, adding that if that process did happen, it would be led by the government.
Tlali stressed that the discussions with Fly Modern Ark centred on funding, not the acquisition of a stake by the company. He denied that a teleconference took place.
Adrian Lackay, spokesperson for the public enterprises ministry, said government was currently not involved in talks to acquire potential partners.
“Acquiring an equity partner for SAA would require a significant capital injection from government upfront. For a commitment of this nature to take effect, it is essential that the company is first stabilised operationally in order for government as the shareholder to realise optimal value from a strategic equity partnership.”
The ministry, Lackay said, had received various unsolicited bids from companies wanting to acquire a stake in the airline.
“In terms of the Public Finance Management Act and the Constitution, such bids cannot arbitrarily be considered, entered into or accepted. It would have to follow due process.”
Lackay said that SAA, with government’s support, was working to raise sufficient funding to meet its immediate and medium-term liquidity requirements
Daily production of crude oil by Nigeria increased by 9 percent in 2018 to 2.09 million barrels compared to the 1.86 million barrels daily production in 2017.
This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, adding that Nigeria maintained a line of consistent year-on-year improvement in its daily crude oil production.
Baru, according to a statement by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu on Tuesday, stated this in an end-of-year message to members of staff of the corporation, adding that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Nigerian Gas Company, Petroleum Products Marketing Company, Duke Oil, NIDAS and Integrated Data Services Limited, were among the companies that boosted the corporation’s performance in 2018.
Baru however singled out NPDC, the corporation’s upstream company, as the major contributor to the industry’s success story in 2018.
Baru said he was enthusiastic on the 52 per cent daily crude oil production growth by the company when compared with its 2017 performance, explaining that the average crude production from NPDC’s operated assets alone grew from an average of 108,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017 to 165,000bod in 2018.
According to him, NPDC’s equity production share of 172,000bpd, representing about eight per cent of national daily production, was no less impressive, while the 200,000bpd addition which the Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel completed and sailed away to a location in August last year added to the nation’s daily production.
Baru revealed that the project achieved first oil at 11.20pm on December 29, 2018.
The NNPC GMD also informed staff members the corporation firm made a save of $1.7bn with the corporation’s Joint Venture partners over a five-year tenor repayment plan, adding that already the corporation had defrayed $1.5bn of thearrearss, promising that the NNPC would stick to the repayment agreement with the JV partners while transiting to self-funding IJV modes with the corporation’s partners.
Beginning Tuesday, customers of Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc will have free access to 3,100 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for seamless banking services.
This revelation is contained in a statement issued by the banks on Monday.
The move follows the planned merger of the banks which is expected to be concluded in the first half of the year.
The banks, in the statement, said the merger will give customers access to the largest ATM network in the country.
Diamond Bank Plc in a follow-up message on Tuesday said all its customers across the world can now use their bank cards on Access Bank Automated Teller Machines without paying the customary N65 per transaction.
“Wishing everyone a happy new year. Now with over 3100 ATMs free to use for all our customers,” the bank said via its official Twitter handle.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had in 2014 announced that cash withdrawal at another bank other than an account holder’s bank would cost N65, although withdrawal at the ATMs of a customer’s bank is free.
According to the apex bank’s directive, the first three transactions in a month by the customer of another bank are free for the card holder but paid for by the issuing bank.
But, by this development, customers who have accounts with both banks would be exempted from the interbank charges.
This implies that customers using the ATM can presume that the banks are one, even as their merger negotiations still remain ongoing.
“Access Bank and Diamond Bank Customers now have access to over 3,100 ATMs free of charge,” the statement said Monday.