Caverton to Diversify Operations as Oil Sector Faces Challenges

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Goddy Egene
Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc is diversifying its services into other sectors and new markets following the challenges in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.

Caverton is one of Nigeria’s leading oil services companies providing solutions for a range of multinational companies across aviation and marine services.

However, the company’s fortunes is being affected by the challenges facing its clients in the oil and gas sector due to the decline price of crude oil at the international market.

Speaking against background of the foregoing, Group Chief Executive Officer of  Caverton, Mr. Bode Makanjuola, said: “We are working tirelessly to broaden our service offerings through diversification into other sectors, as well as geographically into newer markets in a bid to boost our non-oil and gas revenues.”

He disclosed that in the first quarter, the company successfully signed a new  five-year contract in its  helicopter operations to manage and operate a fleet of aircraft for the Lagos State Government.

Makanjuola said  the company is  also making steady progress with the construction of  their  new Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul facility (MRO) at  their  Ikeja  base, adding  that the   timeline for delivery of the MRO is still on track for end of 2017.

“We are also in the process of concluding terms of a new contract in our helicopter operations which we expect to have a significant impact on the scale of our business. Overall, our strategy is to remain diligent in our operations by offering cost effective offshore support logistics services to a broad range of clients without compromising on our safety standards,” he said.

The company’s revenue went down by 26 per cent to N4.4 billion for Q1 of 2016. Total   operating costs also  went down by 25 per cent, while operating profit  fell by 14 per cent to N538 million.

Commenting on the results,   the CEO said: “Whilst 2015 was a tough year in the O&G space, we are cautiously optimistic that the persisting oversupply in the industry is not sustainable, our view is that oil prices will stabilise by the second half of the year based on recent trends which will be positive for our operations within that space.”

Stakeholders to Discuss Fertilizer Usage at  W’African Forum
The second annual West Africa Fertilizer Stakeholder’s Forum (WAFSF) will   hold in Abuja from May 18 to 20, 2016  under the theme “Scaling up Quality and Adapted Fertilizer Supply in West Africa.

The forum to be hosted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) of Nigeria, follows  the successful organisation of the inaugural one in Accra, Ghana, in 2013.

It is facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the West Africa Fertilizer Programme (USAID WAFP), and implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the Africa Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnerships (AFAP).

About 30 per cent of the recent global increases in cereal production in West Africa are due to increased use of quality fertilizers, and the need to enhance fertilizer use has been highlighted since the Abuja summit in 2006. Increased fertilizer use has become a cornerstone of Africa’s agricultural productivity agenda. Fertilizer consumption levels in West Africa are generally below 10 kg/ha compared with a world average of 107 kg/ha. This is also far below the target of 50 kg/ha set by African governments to be achieved by 2015.

Obstacles to achieving the target of 50 kg/ha include limited access to credit and finance, inefficient and high-cost port operations, sub-optimal lot sizes and weak distributor and agro-dealer networks. Other barriers are inadequate fertilizer recommendations, output markets and packaging for smallholder farmers. Policy-side barriers include non-supportive fertilizer policies (such as subsidies and taxes) and a lack of harmonization of trade and quality control procedures, resulting in low levels of intrastate trade.

In response to the above situation, the WAFSF is organised as a platform for public-private dialogue on key topics such as ECOWAS regulations and harmonisation, professionalisation of the fertilizer value chain, logistics and infrastructure constraining the commercial supply of fertilizer and improvement of subsidy policies and programs in the region. WAFSF further seeks to establish valuable business linkages and public-private partnership opportunities throughout the supply chain in the region for commercial, investment and developmental purposes.