BEVERLY HILLS, March 02, (THEWILL) – Ecobank Nigeria has listed its $300 unsecured bond on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as part of moves to increase liquidity and attract more international shareholders and reports indicate it has been oversubscribed.
Last Thursday, the bank opened the market at the LSE via a virtual ceremony to mark the listing of the bond.
According to reports from the bank, the bond had been three times oversubscribed and is the lowest coupon/yield by a Nigerian financial institution for a benchmark bond transaction since 2013.
Floated in 1985 by bankers and the governments of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) member states, Ecobank was created to offer low interest loans across the sub-region as part of a programme to spur economic growth.
Today, Ecobank has banking operations in 36 African countries and representative offices in Angola, China, Dubai, France, South Africa and the UK.
With more than 1,500 branches in 35 countries, the Ecobank-Nedbank Alliance is the largest banking network in Africa after it was formed in 2008 following a pact between the Ecobank Group and the Nedbank Group, one of South Africa’s four largest financial services providers.
At the moment, Ecobank shares are traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange, the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the BRVM stock exchange in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Among the bank’s major shareholders are: The Qatar National Bank, which has a stake of 17.4% and JP Morgan Bank Luxemburg, which owns a 2% stake.
In a bid to extend this ownership, Ecobank has floated its bond on the LSE as part of a major European expansion drive.
Ecobank issued a formal statement saying: “The bond carries a coupon rate of 7.125%, significantly below its initial price thoughts of 7.75%. It has an issuer rating of B- from Fitch Rating Agency and S&P Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers and bookrunners.
“The proceeds will provide medium term funding and help to enhance the capacity of the bank to support international trade and service across Africa.”
Patrick Akinwuntan, the Managing Director, of Ecobank Nigeria, added: “The strong demand for our bond shows the international appetite for the Ecobank franchise in Nigeria, its unique positioning for facilitating pan-Africa trade and the attractive opportunity for the many investors seeking to back world-class Nigerian corporates.”