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Fitch Affirms 8 Nigerian Banks’ Ratings

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Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings Friday affirmed the national ratings of eight Nigerian banks. The banks are First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Union Bank , Stanbic IBTC Bank, the Bank of Industry (BOI) as well as Stanbic IBTC Holdings (SIBTCH).

A statement from the international agency explained that the rating actions followed Fitch’s downgrade of Nigeria’s Long-Term Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘, as a result of which it now equalised with the long-term foreign currency IDR.

It further explained that its latest action was driven by the change in Fitch’s sovereign rating criteria.

“Following the sovereign criteria change and rating action, Fitch has recalibrated the National Rating scale for Nigeria. As a result the national ratings for the aforementioned banks were affirmed as there is no change in their relative creditworthiness,” it stated.

According to the agency, the national rating of UBA was based its standalone creditworthiness and was also underpinned by potential sovereign support.

Also, the national ratings of FBN, Fidelity, Diamond, FCMB and UBN were based on potential sovereign support given their systemic importance, just as the national ratings of Stanbic and SIBTCH were based on the probability of support from their parent, Standard Bank Group Limited (SBG; BBB-/Stable).

SBG has a majority 53.2 per cent stake in SIBTCH, which in turn owns 100% of Stanbic IBTC.

“Fitch believes that SBG’s support would extend equally to both the bank and the holding company. The national ratings of BOI are driven by potential sovereign support reflecting its 99.9 per cent state ownership, its policy role and the bank’s strategic importance to Nigeria’s economic and industrial development.

“The banks’ (apart from UBA, SIBTC and SIBTCH) national ratings are sensitive to a weakening ability of the Nigerian sovereign to provide support. UBA’s National Ratings are sensitive to both a weakening in sovereign support as well as any change in its standalone credit worthiness”, it said.

“The national ratings of SIBTC and SIBTCH are sensitive to a change in potential support (relating to both ability and propensity) from their ultimate parent, SBG. The national ratings of SIBTCH and SIBTC could withstand a three-notch downgrade of SBG’s long-term IDR,” it added.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

Nirsal: CBN Reopens Application for N50 Billion COVID-19 Loan for Households and Small Businesses

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has started receiving fresh applications for N50 billion COVID-19 loan for small businesses and households affected by the pandemic.

The CBN through Nirsal Microfinance Bank announced it has reopened its portal for households and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) affected by COVID-19 to access up to N25 million.

Bashir Ahmad, the Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, disclosed this on March 10, 2021 via his Twitter handle.

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Finance

Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 6.1 Billion in Q1 2021

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Refinitiv today released the investment banking analysis for the Sub-Saharan African for the first quarter of 2021. According to the report, an estimated US$99.3 million worth of investment banking fees were generated in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first quarter of 2021, down 39% from the same period in 2020 and the lowest first quarter total since 2014. 

While debt capital markets underwriting fees doubled to US$47.1 million, the highest first quarter total since our records began in 1980, fees from equity capital markets underwriting, M&A advisory and syndicated lending all declined from the first quarter of 2020.  Equity fees declined 42% to US$21.8 million, while syndicated lending fees declined 74% to US$15.0 million. 

Advisory fees earned in the region from completed M&A transactions reached US$15.5 million, down 65% from last year to the lowest first quarter total since 2005. Seventy-two percent of all Sub-Saharan African fees were generated in South Africa during the first quarter of 2021, and 39% were earned from deals in the financial sector. B Riley Financial Inc. earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first quarter of 2021, a total of US$19.8 million or a 20% share of the total fee pool.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

The value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$6.1 billion during the first three months of 2021, almost level with the value recorded during the same period in 2020, and a five-year low.  The number of deals declined 14% over the same period to the lowest first quarter tally since 2014.

M&A involving a Sub-Saharan African target increased 73% year-on-year to US$4.3 billion during the first quarter of 2021.  Domestic deals increased 67% from last year to US$2.5 billion, while inbound deals, involving an acquiror outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, increased 83% to US$1.8 billion.  Meanwhile, Sub-Saharan African outbound M&A totalled US$721.4 million during the first quarter of 2021, down 66% year-on-year to the lowest first quarter level in six years.

The Zambian Government, through its mining investment arm ZCCM Investment Holdings, acquired the Mopani Copper Mines for US$1.5 billion in January.  The acquisition is the largest deal in the region to be announced so far during 2021.

With advisory work on deals worth a combined U$668.5 million, BofA Securities held the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during Q1 2021.

EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance reached just US$18.4 million during the first quarter of 2021, the lowest first quarter total since 1999.  Only Nigeria payments processing firm eTranzact raised new equity funds from its follow-on offering.  There were no initial public offerings. PAC Capital, Meristem Securities and Standard Bank Group share first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during the first quarter of 2021.

DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$12.1 billion during the first quarter of 2021, up 36% from the value recorded during the same period in 2020 and the highest first quarter total since 2018.  The number of issues declined 6% over the same period.  With Ghana’s government’s Eurobond raising US$2.9 billion and The African Development Bank’s $2.5 billion 5-year Benchmark bond, March 2021 saw more proceeds raised from bond issuance in Sub-Saharan Africa than any other month since May 2018, a total of US$7.4 billion.  Government & Agency issuance accounted for 64% of proceeds raised during the first quarter of 2021. Standard Chartered took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond book runner ranking during the first quarter of 2021, with US$1.4 billion of related proceeds, or an 11.5% market share.

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Banking Sector

Wema Bank‘s Financial Fundamentals Remain Strong, Says CEO

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The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise, has reassured customers and shareholders that the bank has strong financial fundamentals and reliable performance metrics, riding on the back of seasoned and astute leadership.

Adebise stated this against the insinuations of weak liquidity. Wema Bank Plc posted gross earnings of about N81 billion and profit after tax of N5.1 billion for year ended December 31, 2020. The CEO explained that the strength and viability of financial institutions were not measured on the isolated performance of one outlier year, stating that, “Wema Bank has continually exhibited not just resilience, but admirable viability over the years with a 30.95 per cent increase in earnings recorded in just 2019.

“Then came 2020, and in spite of the difficulties, we succeeded in achieving impressive results in key areas such as net earnings from fees and commissions, while growing the bank’s asset base significantly.

That’s not all, customer credibility in the bank was also accentuated with a massive increase in customer deposits over the previous year. This is an audacious show of confidence from our customers at Wema Bank. These performance metrics amongst others, are testament to our smart balance sheet optimisation approach which will be affirmed by the time the audited and official 2020 Financial Report is released in the coming weeks,” he said.

According to him, the bank’s performance in the 2020 made it one of the best performing financial institutions in the land given the challenging operating environment.

“We won the BusinessDay award for the Best SME Bank of the Year for 2020. A recognition of our unrivalled support for small and medium scale businesses through loans, business advisory, and ease of payments and transactions. Also, the recently published 2020 KPMG Customer Experience Survey, showed Wema Bank making significant growth in the retail category, climbing up ten (10) places from the previous year to 2nd position, with an above industry average of 74.6 per cent Customer Experience score. This achievement is a mark of dedication to excellent customer service and refreshing support for all our customer categories.

The KPMG Customer Experience Survey grades banks over six universal pillars of Personalization, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time & Effort and Empathy, and Wema Bank has showed a mastery of these pillars and have been outstanding at all of them,” he said.

Adebise added that in line with the bank’s sustainability goal of developing digital solutions for societal impact, it successfully organised the second edition of Hackaholics, a radical gathering of developers, web designers and creative thinkers to develop solutions around key themes of education, health, agriculture, fintech, gaming & betting.

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