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Mali president, Assimi Goita escapes assassination in Bamako

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Mali’s interim President, Assimi Goita, on Tuesday, survived an assassination attempt while offering Eid al-Adha prayers at the Grand Mosque in the capital, Bamako.

Religious Affairs Minister, Mamadou Kone told AFP news agency that the attacker had “tried to kill the president with a knife” but his plans failed.

Kone said the unfortunate incident happened as an imam was directing worshippers outside the mosque for a ritual animal sacrifice.

READ ALSO: Defense team of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab questions cape verde’s decision on united nations human rights committee’s decision

He, however, noted that Goita was successfully whisked away while the attacker has been arrested.

Following the development, Goita during a broadcast on state television channel ORTM, announced that he was doing “very well” following the attack.

He said that what happened to him was part of being a leader.

Quote
“There are people who at any time may want to try things to cause instability.

“Right now we’re not clear whether the attacker is a member of the armed groups that have been operating in Mali, a military officer or even a civilian who is not happy with the government,”
he said.










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Nigeria loses N851bn to oil theft, sabotage

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Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that the country lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019. This was contained in NEITI’s latest oil and gas industry audit report. NEITI said that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange […]

The post Nigeria loses N851bn to oil theft, sabotage appeared first on Daily Times Nigeria. Nigeria News from Nigeria Newspapers



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Mortgage defaults hit Sh70bn, auctions jump

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Mortgage defaults hit Sh70bn, auctions jump


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The Central bank of Kenya, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that mortgages recorded the highest growth in non-performing loans (NPLs) f.om Sh47.5 billion in March last year.
  • Unpaid mortgages increased by Sh9.1 billion or 14.8 percent in the three months to March, a rise that outpaced other segments like manufacturing (three percent), agriculture (10.7 per cent) and personal loans (three percent).

Defaults on mortgages jumped 48 percent to Sh70.5 billion in the year to March, pointing to widespread distress in real estate in the wake of Covid-19 economic hardships as property auctions pick up.

Latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that mortgages recorded the highest growth in non-performing loans (NPLs) from Sh47.5 billion in March last year, reflecting the struggle by investors to find buyers for their houses amid dwindling returns.

Unpaid mortgages increased by Sh9.1 billion or 14.8 percent in the three months to March, a rise that outpaced other segments like manufacturing (three percent), agriculture (10.7 per cent) and personal loans (three percent) in growth of default on loans, the CBK said.

The mounting defaults in the property market are a reflection of the struggles that mortgage holders are undergoing in an economy that has witnessed a string of job losses across nearly all sectors since the onset of Covid-19 in Kenya in March last year as corporates intensify austerity measures to protect profits.

This has seen workers who took mortgages on the strength of their pay slips default. The slowdown in real estate is hurting property developers who are finding it difficult to sell units that were built on loans.

Banks that had gone slow on property seizures last year following the pandemic

have stepped up debt recovery efforts to clean up their loan books, leading to a spike in auctions.

Thousands of defaulters have since January been appearing in the books of Kenya’s three CRBs — Metropol, TransUnion and Creditinfo International—after the CBK lifted the suspension of listing for loans that were defaulted after April 1 last year.

The CBK has linked the sharp rise in mortgage defaults — credit that goes unpaid for 90 days — to skipped repayments on covid-19 disruptions.

“The real estate sector registered the highest increase in non-performing loans by 14.9 percent (Sh9.1 billion) as a result of disruptions by Covid-19 pandemic,” said the CBK in the banking sector review of first quarter of the year.

Real estate has been one of the country’s fastest growing sectors in the last 15 years, with returns from property outpacing equities and government securities.

The sector has, however, suffered slow growth in sales and rental prices recently due to a huge stock of unsold units, which has seen developers who tapped loans to build and sell houses default.

Low occupancy rates have meant that developers who were dependent on rent collections to repay loans are also struggling.

Industries and other businesses have since cut down their activities in response to the infectious disease, leading to job cuts and unpaid leave for retained staff as profitable firms move into losses.

Businesses that tapped loans based on their projected cash flows are also struggling to meet the loan obligations.

CBK data to April shows that net domestic credit to the real estate sector grew by 5.8 percent to Sh409 billion, the slowest in nine months.

Auctioneers reckon they are holding more forced sales in 2021 linked to mortgage defaults compared to previous years, with banks moving much faster to seize properties from defaulters since the cap was put in place.

But the auctioneers are not selling as fast as they are repossessing due to the minimum bid price, leaving a glut of repossessed vehicles, land, houses and office equipment as cash-strapped buyers seek to buy the properties cheaply and at outsized discounts.

The Land Act, 2012 bars banks from auctioning seized assets at below 75 percent of the prevailing market value.

This has led banks to eye private settlements.

Under private treaties, distressed borrowers agree with banks to look for the best available price for their properties and sell to repay loans as opposed to relying on the auctioneer’s hammer.



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Moi allies seek end of InterCon hotel business

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Moi allies seek end of InterCon hotel business


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InterContinental Hotel. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Hotel Properties (KHP) is seeking a consultant to advise on change of business model for the hotel, which closed permanently in August last year.
  • It is also open to selling or leasing the InterContinental hotel building to the government, which owns several buildings in the vicinity including Parliament, KICC and Sheria House.
  • The permanent closure and the decision of global chain InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to stop running the Nairobi hotel has downgraded its value.

The owners of InterContinental Hotel, including allies of former president Daniel arap Moi, are considering leasing out the building or converting it into a mixed-used property, complicating the State’s efforts to sell its 33.8 percent stake in the five-star hotel.

Kenya Hotel Properties (KHP) is seeking a consultant to advise on change of business model for the hotel, which closed permanently in August last year, to include a mixed-use approach —signalling the hotel building could be converted to office blocks, shops and mini-hotels.

It is also open to selling or leasing the InterContinental hotel building to the government, which owns several buildings in the vicinity including Parliament, KICC and Sheria House.

The permanent closure and the decision of global chain InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to stop running the Nairobi hotel has downgraded its value.

“Define the various strategic options available for the company premises and adjacent parking silo to repurpose the property to ensure maximum returns on investment,” said KHP in a notice seeking consultants.

“To envision and evaluate a mixed-use approach to the premises together with the pros and cons associated therewith.”

This signals that KHP is keen on earning leasing fees from the 389-room InterContinental Hotel, whose sale of the government stake has dragged for more than a decade.

An investment banker close to the Moi-linked Sovereign Group told the Business Daily earlier that the firm had little interest in purchasing the government stake amid the slump in the travel sector and the exit of the anchor partner — the IHG.

“There is little value for Sovereign to run the hotel. The land where the hotel sits is more important compared to the hotel,” said the investment banker who requested not to be identified.

The Privatisation Commission was expected to start talks with Sovereign Group to buy the stake that the government holds in the hotel.

But the commission, which is in charge of sale of government firms, sad it had yet to receive offers from local or foreign buyers willing to acquire the stake in the hotel, which closed in August at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

Sovereign Group is the largest individual local investor in the hotel with a 19.2 percent stake while Development Bank of Kenya has a 12.99 percent stake.

Joshua Kulei, former President Moi’s former private secretary, Rodger Kacou and Ahmed Jibril own a combined stake of less than one percent in the firm.

The Intercontinental Hotels Corporation Group, which is listed in both the UK and the USA, has a 33.8 percent stake in the hotel group.

InterContinental Hotel in August announced plans to end its lease agreements with KHP, the holding company for the five-star hotel, and shut down the facility amid the coronavirus economic fallout.

This had made Sovereign Group the likely candidate to acquire the 33.8 percent stake ahead of sale to outsiders.

The InterContinental Hotels Corporation has been running and managing the 389-room InterContinental Hotel Nairobi under a 99-year lease since April 1967.

Kenya lost over Sh100 billion in tourism revenue last year, when the number of foreign visitors fell by two thirds due to Covid-19.

The sector brought in the equivalent of Sh163.5 billion in 2018, and the government had initially expected that figure to grow one percent in 2020.

Analysts forecast that global travel will take more than three years to recover, cutting investors’ appetite for expansion in the sector.

Besides the effects of Covid-19 on the hotel industry, KHP is fretful of the impact of real estate developments near the InterContinental building, including the Nairobi Expressway and the soon to be opened bus park.

It wants the consultant to review if the building could be used by the government, signalling its open to sale or lease of the hotel building to the State.

“The analysis should review and advise on the potential strategic re-evaluations for hospitality and commercial real estate for utilisation by the government and private sector,” said the KHP notice.

The exit of InterContinental Hotels Group came amid financial struggles at the Nairobi facility.

InterContinental Hotel was already struggling before the pandemic and was last year declared technically insolvent since it could not service its debts that stood at Sh717 million. The debt was owed to Stanbic Bank.

Talk of an ownership shift at the hotel began in August 2011 when the then President Mwai Kibaki’s Cabinet gave the green light to the sale of the Tourism Finance Corporation’s (TFC’s) stake with pre-emptive rights to existing shareholders.

TFC, formerly known as Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, was offloading the shares in an exercise meant to transfer government-owned businesses, including underperforming sugar mills, to the private sector.



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