In a development that shows faith in the huge potential of the Nigerian economy despite the global economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) has received the infusion of $221,047, 248 (N83.997 billion) equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), one of the shareholders of the Lekki Deep Sea Port Project, currently under construction at the Lagos Free Trade Zone, Ibeju Lekki.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Mr. Biodun Dabiri, in Lagos at the end of the board meeting held via teleconferencing.
According to him, "I am pleased to confirm that the Lekki Port has received the $221,047,248 equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company. The payment was received on March 30, 2020."
Dabiri said the equity injection was coming at this time when the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, which shows the deep commitment of CHEC to the success of the project, which will greatly contribute to fast-tracking the timely delivery of the project and bring about economic prosperity to Nigeria as a whole.
Speaking further, the chairman also announced that the Board of Directors had approved the appointment of Du Ruogang as the new Chief Executive Officer for Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) with immediate effect.
Ruogang, while accepting the appointment, noted that he would collaborate with all key stakeholders, including the lenders, insurers, EPC contractor and government regulators, to ensure the smooth and successful development of Lekki Port.
In his new role as the Chief Executive Officer, Ruogang is expected to oversee the overall business planning, development and management of the company.
Ruogang, the chairman added, has robust experience in port investment, financing and operation, and holds double bachelor degrees in engineering management and industrial design from Tianjin University, China, adding: "He has been with CHEC since 2007.
"In addition to the appointment of Du Ruogang to the board of Lekki Port, other directors appointed are Sajen Aswani, Wu Di, Lu Yunpeng and Xu Huajiang while Mohan Vaswani and Joseph Sanusi resigned from their positions on the board.
"Other executives appointed by the company are Cai Pingzhen, who assumes the position of Chief Financial Officer; Steven Heukelom as Chief Technical Officer and Binay Saraf as Deputy Chief Financial Officer."
Lekki Port had recently signed a $629 million facility agreement for debt financing with the China Development Bank for the construction of the port, which will be sub-Saharan Africa's deepest port and Nigeria's first deep sea port.
A multi-purpose Deep Sea Port at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone in Lekki Port will be one of the most modern ports supporting the burgeoning trade across Nigeria and the entire West African region.
The shareholders of the project are the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Lagos State Government, China Harbour Engineering Company and Tolaram Group.