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Citibank works on Eurobonds with Nigerian banks

20 April 2012, 10:34

Lagos - Citibank is working on a number of mandates to issue Eurobonds for Nigerian banks as the banking sector recovers from financial turmoil, its country officer told Reuters on Thursday.

Speaking to the Reuters Africa Investment Summit, Emeka Emuwa said banks in Africa's second-biggest economy had stabilised after a financial crisis that led to a $4 billion bailout of nine lenders in 2009 and several mergers in 2011.

He said that some of the banks were looking to tap international debt markets to issue bonds in order to support their businesses and continue to grow.

"Over the last year or two, we've seen a number of mergers, we have seen the banking sector stabilise, and post this stabilisation, I expect to see a number of banks to go out to raise capital," Emuwa told Reuters in an interview.

"We will be working with a number of banks raising capital in international markets ... primarily Eurobonds" he said, declining to name a specific deal.

Nigerian lender First Bank on Wednesday said it had appointed Citi and Goldman Sachs to manage the sale of its $500 million Eurobond. Emuwa confirmed the appointment but declined to give any further details.

United Bank for Africa has also announced plans to issue a $500 million Eurobond in the third quarter of 2012 while another mid-tier lender Diamond Bank has said it will seek approval to raise $200 million in bond issues.

Emuwa said he expected the power and electricity companies to follow the banks to tap foreign debt markets to raise capital with ongoing reforms aimed at opening up the sector and the huge amounts of capital needed.

Nigeria is reforming its ailing power sector but has missed its deadline to sell government-owned assets several times.

He said Citi, which already had operations in 16 countries across Africa, was looking to deepen its presence across the continent and expand into a number of key countries to tap into a growing consumer market in the region.

Citi is in the process of obtaining a mobile banking licence in Nigeria to roll out electronic platforms to be able to reach a wider consumer segment, Emuwa said.

First Bank, United Bank for Africa and Stanbic currently have such licenses.

"We are researching into that space ... I believe it's where the future opportunities lie," he said.

- Reuters


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