Five things to know to start your Wednesday

Local pharmaceutical firms receive N100bn from FG -Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed on Tuesday that local pharmaceutical firms have received N100 billion in loan facilities from the Federal Government as a move to drive local production of medicines and consumables. Qualified healthcare investors with genuine intentions to expand medical supply production capacity in the country are also included in the loan facility package.

The President said that this loan was disbursed through the Central Bank of Nigeria to private pharmaceutical firms.

The President made this revelation in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, when he received the new executive members of the Nigerian Medical Association at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He stated that the funds will assist in reversing the “brain drain” problem in the health sector and driving growth by engaging top Nigerian medical experts in the Diaspora in knowledge and skill repatriation.

Ardova debunks wind-up claims of PESL

Ardova Plc has issued a statement dissociating itself from a misleading claim making the rounds on several conventional and social media outlets of a “charge” to wind-up Prudent Energy & Services Limited (PESL) over an alleged inability to pay a $6 million debt presented to the Federal High Court by Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited (Zenon).

Reacting on behalf of Ardova, Oladeinde Nelson-Cole, the Company Secretary, said that the story published on Monday, August 8 was not only misleading but capable of damaging the reputation of the company.

He presented the facts, stating that the issues of “wind-up” were related to claims and warranties under the Share Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) between Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited (“Ignite”) and Zenon, together with its affiliates, for the acquisition of shares in Forte Oil Plc (now Ardova Plc). Thereby distancing the company from any claims as wrongly presented. He said that the company has no “wind-up” petition against it in any court of law in the country.

He, however, expressed faith in the dispute resolution process and believes that it will culminate in a just resolution of the issues.

He pleaded with all interested in the matter to avoid dragging the company into any media spectacle and “consider it important to clarify that this report relates to a dispute between former shareholders and a current shareholder and has nothing to do with Ardova Plc as a separate entity”.

Read also: Ardova may see ‘Sell’ as Zenon battles Prudent Energy over N2.6bn debt

Dhabi’s Chimera buys majority stake in Egypt’s Beltone Financial

Chimera Investment LLC, an Abu Dhabi investment firm worth more than $2 billion, said on Tuesday that it has acquired a controlling stake in Egypt’s Beltone Financial Holding. This is a strategic move that the company claims is part of its plan to expand into the rapidly growing markets of the Middle East and North Africa.

The company’s management said that it bought 55.9 percent of Beltone at 1.485 Egyptian pounds a share, valuing the company at 661.8 million pounds ($34.6 million). This is according to Reuters.

Following this move, Beltone announced on Tuesday that Dalia Khorshid, Egypt’s former investment minister, would be its new chief executive officer.

Chimera, which was established in 2007 by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is the United Arab Emirates’ national security adviser and a half-brother of the country’s president, Mohammed bin Zayed, sees this move as an economic and financial strategy to expand the portfolio investment of the company.

Brent crude under pressure amid US crude inventory report

Apparently, falling demand pressure from increased US crude inventories made Brent crude dance around $96 per barrel on Wednesday morning.

The US oil inventory data report showed that the crude stockpiles of the largest crude-consuming nation rose by 2.156 million barrels in the week ended August 5. a situation that defied expectations of a small 400,000-barrel drop and comes on the heels of another surprise build of 2.165 million barrels the previous week. This is according to Trading Economics.

On Tuesday, the market also responded slightly to news of additional supplies from Iran after the EU submitted a “final text” to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal late on Monday, which is currently awaiting approval from Washington and Tehran.

Large explosions rock Russian military air base in Crimea

According to the Associated Press (AP), a Russian air base in annexed Crimea witnessed large explosions, sending huge bellows of smoke clouds on Tuesday.

At least one person was killed and several others wounded, authorities claimed. A source monitoring the situation told AP that this attack may worsen the tension between both countries as peace becomes a distant reality.

However, the Defence Ministry in Russia has denied the attack on Saki base on the Black Sea, saying that some reserves of weapons had blown up there instead. But Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that it was hit by Ukrainian-fired long-range missiles.

Graphic pictures and virtual evidence posted on social media showed sunbathers on nearby beaches fleeing as huge flames and pillars of smoke rose over the horizon from multiple points, accompanied by loud booms.

A presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, said cryptically in his regular online interview that the blasts were caused either by a Ukrainian-made long-range weapon or were the work of partisans operating in Crimea.

If confirmed to be the work of the Ukrainian army, this would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula.

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