How we acquired the Obajana cement plant – Dangote Group
The management of Dangote Industries Ltd. (DIL) claims to own 100% of the Obajana Cement plant and its acquisition in 2002 took place in accordance with established procedure.
The company said this in a statement released by DIL Group Head of Brand and Communications Anthony Chiejina titled “Obajana Cement Plant: Separating Fact from Fiction”.
The Kogi state government closed the Obajana plant last week, questioning Dangote Cement’s ownership of the plant. The government has also raised tax payment issues.
Dagote Group said the Kogi government has no stake in Obajana Cement Plc and the company has paid relevant state taxes, levies and charges to the Kogi government since production began in 2007.
“This is a statement issued with the sole purpose of addressing the concerns and apprehensions of Dangote Cement Plc (DCP) stakeholders, in particular the more than 22,000 people it employs directly and more indirectly, as well than thousands of entrepreneurs, wholesalers, users of our products, our financiers and our shareholders.
“At a time of significant economic challenges facing us as a nation, we believe that everything must be done to keep our economy running smoothly, our employees employed, the businesses that depend on us thriving, and not not discourage those who take the necessary risks, legitimate and significant investments in our economy.
“The closure of our factory has materially jeopardized the economic well-being of our country without any consideration for its significant consequences,” the statement said.
The group said that, while reserving its rights to arbitrate under the existing agreement, it had reported the illegal invasion and the resulting adverse effects to all relevant authorities, including the federal government of Nigeria who had intervened in the case.
“We hope that the dispute resolution process we have initiated will quickly resolve disputes and allow us to focus on our business without distraction and continue our important contribution to our national economy,” the company said.
According to the group, the Obajana cement factory is one of the most critical components of the country’s economic activities, being one of the highest taxpayers and the vehicle of one of the largest companies in which thousands of Nigerian and foreign investors have invested.
“Its most important assets are (1) its land, the plant and machinery therein, and (2) the vast limestone deposit covered by mining leases issued under license by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN )”, he added.
The company said: “The land on which the Obajana Cement Plant is built was acquired solely by Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) in 2003, well after it acquired the shares of Obajana Cement Company in 2002, at the following the legally binding agreement that he concluded. with KSG to invest in Kogi State.
“DIL received three certificates of occupancy in its name after payment of necessary fees and compensation to landowners.
“The plant and machinery was designed, designed, purchased, built and paid for solely by DIL, again long after the acquisition of the shares of Obajana Cement Company.
“The limestone and other minerals used by the Obajana cement factory, as per the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, belonged to the Federation, with authority only in the FGN and not in the state in which the minerals are located, to grant resource extraction and exploitation licenses.
“After the agreement with KSG, DIL applied for and obtained mining leases on said limestone from FGN, at its expense and has complied with the terms of the leases since their inception.”
The company said the Kogi government had no minerals to donate, had no assets to donate, and only invited DIL, as most responsible governments do, to enter the state and to invest in such a way as to create jobs, to develop the State and to earn it. taxes.
The company noted that in 1992, the Kogi government incorporated Obajana Cement PLC (OCP) as a limited company.
“In early 2002, some 10 years after the incorporation of OCP (which still had no assets or operations at that time), KSG invited DIL to seize the opportunity of the large limestone deposit of the state by establishing a cement plant.
“After several engagements and an assessment of the viability of the proposed opportunity, DIL has agreed to establish a cement plant in Kogi and provide all of the substantial capital required for the investment.
“DIL has also agreed, following a specific request from KSG, to use the name OCP (although existing only on paper at this time, and without any assets or operations) for the time being, as the vehicle for this investment .
“On July 30, 2002, KSG and DIL entered into a binding agreement to document their understanding. The agreement was amended in 2003 and remains binding and legally binding on the parties,” the statement read.
agreement with the government
On the issue of an agreement between Dangote and the Kogi government, the statement noted: “It was agreed, among other things, that: DIL would establish a cement plant with a capacity of 3,500,000 metric tons per year.
“That DIL will hold 100 percent of OCP’s shareholding and will provide all the funds necessary for the development of the cement plant.
“KSG will have the option to acquire a 5% stake in OCP within five years; and KSG will provide tax relief and exemption from levies and other charges by KSG for a period of seven years from the date of commencement of production. »
Under the terms of the agreement, DIL secured 100% of the funds used to develop the plant without any contribution from KSG.
He said that in line with his rights, ensuring alignment with the Dangote brand, as part of an internal restructuring and for better market recognition, OCP’s name was changed to Dangote Cement Plc in 2010.
He added that a number of other important cement companies (such as the Benue Cement Company) owned by DIL merged with OCP to become the enlarged Dangote Cement Plc.
On matters of performance of the agreement: “Plant, taxes, shares and dividends, DIL has diligently and at significant cost fulfilled all of the terms of the agreement between itself and KSG regarding the OCP. He built the cement plant, much bigger and better than expected.
“KSG could not fulfill its financial obligations to contribute to the financing of the factory in any form; KSG was also unable to fund the acquisition of five percent of OCP’s shares despite being repeatedly asked to exercise the purchase option.
“KSG has also failed to meet its obligations to grant exemption from taxes, charges and levies it may impose on OCP’s operations, affairs and activities.
“Instead, although entitled (under the terms of the agreement with KSG) to tax relief and exemption from charges and levies by KSG for a period of seven years from the date of commencement of production, OCP (and now DCP) has paid all taxes, levies and sub-sovereign charges owed to KSG since it began production in 2007.
“KSG does not hold any form of investment or stake in OCP, such that no dividends or other economic and/or shareholding rights could have accrued to it from the operations of the company.”
On the question of the acquisition of the factory site, he said: “After the agreement between DIL and KSG in 2002, DIL in 2003, asked KSG for the acquisition of land for the site of the factory. plant, and this request was granted with the issuance of three Occupancy Certificates to DIL.
“DIL, to the knowledge of KSG, has paid substantial compensation to owners of Obajana farmland located within two (2) square kilometers of the plant site.
“Subsequently, in September 2004, DIL, in good faith, sought legal permission from the State Governor for DIL to assign the plant site to OCP as an investment vehicle for DIL.
“This request for consent has been granted by the Governor of the State and the appropriate consent fee has been paid by DIL.”
Shedding light on the company’s engagement with the Government of Kogi, the statement states that “DIL’s investment in Kogi through OCP was made at the request of the duly constituted Government of Kogi, in accordance to state law and all enabling statutes. in this regard.
“And the transaction documents were actually, legally and duly signed by the Governor and the State Attorney General (at the time), after obtaining internal approvals within the government.
“Since the establishment of the administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello in 2016, and regardless of the fact that the government is a continuum, we have had a series of inquiries about the ownership structure of Dangote Cement PLC with respect to the presumed interest of KSG; and had several engagements with state government officers, including Governor Yahaya Bello.
“During all of these engagements, we have provided all details and information supported by relevant documentation, required by the government and the State House of Assembly to confirm our legal investment,” the statement continued.
He further said that in 2017, the company was invited by the judicial inquiry commission and submitted its submission to the commission with relevant documents to support its position.
“We have not yet received any comments from the Judicial Inquiry Committee. While we are still awaiting to hear the report of the inquiry, we were asked by the State House of Assembly on the same matter earlier this year.
“And again, we have provided evidence to support our position that KSG has no equity or other interest in OCP or DCP.
“On Wednesday, October 5, hundreds of dangerously armed men, other than law enforcement officers, attacked our cement plant in Obajana, Kogi, destroyed our property, inflicted serious injuries on several of our employees and arrested the factory operations.
“Curiously, on October 6, a day after our facility at Obajana was closed by order of KSG, Governor Bello addressed the public and announced that a specialized technical committee, which was set up as part of recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry had just presented its recommendations, which were accepted by KSG. This statement makes it abundantly clear that the DCP plant closure occurred regardless of the Governor’s own confirmation that implementation of the Specialized Technical Committee’s recommendations was still pending,” the statement read.
The company said the shutdown of operations at the plant resulted in lost revenue not only for the company and its customers, but also negatively impacted revenue due to federal and state governments. (NOPE)
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