As part of efforts to reduce reliance on debt and loans, Oando Plc is to raise its authorised share capital from N5 billion to N7.5 billion so as to make room for future capital raising opportunities. Oando Plc , which is consolidating its leadership in the oil and gas industry has been raising funds in both debt and loans. However, going forward the company wants to rely more on equity financing, hence the proposal to raise its share capital to N7.5 billion. The Board of the company will be seeking the approval of other shareholders for the capital increase at an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting scheduled to hold in February 18, 2014 . Commenting on the development, the Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc , Mr. Wale Tinubu said: "As we contemplate our world post the acquisition of Conoco Phillips (COP) Nigerian business unit, which will undoubtedly provide significant growth in size and scale in our upstream business, our mature mid-stream and downstream units continue to retain dominant positions in their market space whilst not requiring material equity infusion. In our bid to maximize long term shareholder value, it is necessary to optimise our balance sheet by funding our operations where necessary through equity as opposed to expensive sources of debt." According to Tinubu, the first phase of the this long term plan will seek to raise further capital by way of rights of N50 billion expected to be concluded by end of second quarter of 2014. He explained that the proceeds of the planned Rights exercise will be utilised towards debt reduction and meet Oando's immediate working capital needs. Tinubu emphasised that none of the proceeds raised will be allocated to the closure of the COP acquisition, adding that the company does not contemplate any additional equity issuance in 2014. He re-emphasised the company's three pronged approach of transformation, debt reduction, and substantially increasing shareholder value. "We are working arduously to provide the ideal platform to ensure our readiness for further transformation, as we undoubtedly will generate stronger cash flow, but we also realize the need to minimize our cost of capital to increase our returns to our shareholders. We implore all shareholders to continue to offer their full support as we continue to build sub-Saharan Africa's leading energy company together," Tinubu said. NSE Plans 'Premier Board' to Promote Corporate Governance The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will this year launch a 'Premier Board' where companies with high corporate governance compliance standards would be listed. This will be followed by the introduction of a corporate governance tradable index, which will be a basket of companies with high corporate governance compliance standards. Currently, the NSE has the Main and Alternative Securities Market (ASem) boards. Speaking yesterday in Lagos , the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema , said these initiatives are being done in conjunction with the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), adding that they are meant to promote high level of corporate governance among companies listed on the Nigerian bourse. According to him, the NSE and CBi decided to develop a Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) for companies listed on the Exchange. Onyema said the collaborative effort of the NSE and CBi with the CGRS will have several positive impacts on listed companies and the Nigerian economy generally. "Listed companies will be better managed and governed in general. Their boards will be fully aware of their fiduciary responsibilities and operate by the highest standards of corporate governance ethics and processes. Listed companies will become more attractive to investors. This is because investors want to be sure that their investments are safe. There is awareness within the board about appropriate oversight, and that their interests are fully protected," he said. The NSE boss added that a company with high corporate governance rating will attract foreign and local investors for long term investments as better managed companies are more sustainable. "The companies will be attractive prospects for cross-border listings as they are more likely to meet the listing requirements of target markets. The companies will become more competitive in their industry and across geographies, as corporate governance is a strong competitive tool," Onyema said. Meanwhile, trading at the stock market remained bearish for the third day as the NSE All-Share Index fell by 0.96 per cent to close at 40,792.07. Similarly, the market capitalisation shed N127 billion to close at N13.076 trillion. Winners Emerge in HASAL MFB Anniversary Promo HASAL Microfinance Bank Limited customers smiled home with fantastic prizes won in the bank's 5th Year Anniversary Award Promo raffle draw, with one of them, Isiaka Lekan Lukmon , going home with the Kia Picanto, which was star prize. The Awards Promo draw, which attracted hundreds of customers to the Garki, Abuja corporate headquarters of the MFB, was witnessed by the bank's management led by its managing director, Mr. Rogers Nwoke and other independent professional observers. Nwoke said promo was in furtherance of the bank's business philosophy of touching lives for good for its loyal customers with a view to rewarding customers who have supported its business in the last five years. He therefore urged the old customers to keep doing business with the bank in view of its demonstrated sense of corporate responsibility to impact their lives even as he asked potential ones to key into the bank's 'win-win' business strategy which it has adopted over the years in order to add value to customers through products and services and contribute to the economic growth of the country. Expressing his joy for emerging the star prize winner, Lukmon, who opened his first bank account with the HASAL during the savings promo, thanked the bank for changing his life. He also hailed the bank for its generosity to give out prizes to their customers even though he has been banking with the bank for less than two months, describing his win as an experience he will live to cherish forever. "For me, to own my first car from a bank through this type of promo which some people believe is never real is a privilege and a demonstration that HASAL Bank is out to change people's life. HASAL Bank is a great bank, and the interesting thing is that it is through this award promo I started saving with the bank. I am more than grateful to the management. God bless HASAL MFB people for their generosity," Lukmon said. Egbo Ikechukwu, another customer who won one of the five sewing machines, expressed his joy because this is the first time he has ever won anything in his life, saying 'I cannot believe this"
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