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Sterling Bank Launches Indirect Bid to Raise N8b Capital

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Sterling Bank - Investors King
  • Sterling Bank Launches Indirect Bid to Raise N8b Capital

Sterling Bank Plc has secured regulatory approval to raise about N8 billion in new capital as a first step in a large new capital issuance through which the bank seeks to raise a total of N65 billion.

A regulatory document obtained yesterday showed that Sterling Bank would be raising the new capital through an indirect special purpose vehicle known as Sterling Investment Management SPV Plc.

According to the document, Sterling Investment Management SPV will be offering for subscription N7.965 billion in its series 1: seven-year 16.50 per cent fixed rate unsecured bonds due 2023. The maiden issuance is part of the bank’s N65 billion debt issuance programme.

Sources in the know confirmed that the SPV is a tier-11 capital raising programme for Sterling Bank, describing it as a creative way to shield the bank from unnecessary regulatory and market issues while having access to the much-needed capital.

The document indicated that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has already approved the debt issuance, paving the way for the bank to conclude the pre-offer opening processes.

Global Credit Ratings (GCR) has accorded a final, public national scale long term rating of BBB (NG) to the N7.97 billion bond; with the outlook accorded as stable. The rating is valid until 31 August 2017.

Managing Director, Sterling Bank Plc, Yemi Adeola, recently said the bank was concluding arrangements to raise tier 2 capital in the second half of this year as improved assets quality and lower cost of fund steadied the performance of the bank in the first half of this year.

He said the bank would in the second half of the year continue to prioritise operating efficiency and ensure moderate loan growth; while continuing to diversify funding sources as our retail banking strategy gains traction.

He added that the bank also remained committed to its plan to conclude its N35 billion tier 2 capital raising.

“As we look to the second half of the year, we remain committed to our plan to conclude our N35 billion tier 2 capital raise, prioritise operating efficiency and ensure moderate loan growth; while continuing to diversify funding sources as our retail banking strategy gains traction. Although, some of the macroeconomic challenges witnessed during the first half of the year will persist, we expect improvements in the Nigerian economy, driven by the implementation of the budget and other fiscal palliatives introduced by the Federal Government,” Adeola assured.

As the Nigerian economy and the banking industry struggled with fiscal and monetary challenges that saw inflation and foreign exchange at their worst in many years, Adeola pointed out that the bank has remained irrepressible as demonstrated by the strength of its core business.

According to him, the bank prioritised improvement in asset quality which was reflected by a 70 basis point decline in the non-performing loans and a 100 basis point reduction in cost of risk. Cost of funds also declined by 120 basis points to 4.7%. This was in spite of the foreign exchange liberalisation policy, the attendant liquidity squeeze and the rising inflation rate which peaked at 16.5 per cent in June 2016.

He pointed out that the bank showed deeper pliability through the re-affirmation of its investment grade ratings at a time when corporate and sovereign ratings were under downward ratings pressure, adding that Sterling Bank has successfully migrated to a world-class CORE banking application, which will enable it to better manage a significant uptick in customer base and ensure the required flexibility to deliver unique services across business segments.

He said the bank has also taken steps to improve staff productivity by introducing a flexible work environment to achieve its goal of building a great workplace and reduce operating expenses.

 

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.

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Crude Oil

Oil Rises as Threat of Immediate Iran Supply Recedes

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Oil prices rose on Tuesday, with Brent gaining for a fourth consecutive session, as the prospect of extra supply coming to the market soon from Iran faded with talks dragging on over the United States rejoining a nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Brent crude was up by 82 cents, or 1.13%, to $73.68 per barrel, having risen 0.2% on Monday. U.S. oil gained 91 cents, or 1.3%, to $71.79 a barrel, having slipped 3 cents in the previous session.

Indirect discussions between the United States and Iran, along with other parties to the 2015 deal on Tehran’s nuclear program, resumed on Saturday in Vienna and were described as “intense” by the European Union.

A U.S. return to the deal would pave the way for the lifting of sanctions on Iran that would allow the OPEC member to resume exports of crude.

It is “looking increasingly unlikely that we will see the U.S. rejoin the Iranian nuclear deal before the Iranian Presidential Elections later this week,” ING Economics said in a note.

Other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) along with major producers including Russia — a group known as OPEC+ — have been withholding output to support prices amid the pandemic.

“Additional supply from OPEC+ will be needed over the second half of this year, with demand expected to continue its recovery,” ING said.

To meet rising demand, U.S. drillers are also increasing output.

U.S. crude production from seven major shale formations is forecast to rise by about 38,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July to around 7.8 million bpd, the highest since November, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its monthly outlook.

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Oil Prices Rise as Demand Improves, Supplies Tighten

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Oil prices rose on Monday, hitting their highest levels in more than two years supported by economic recovery and the prospect of fuel demand growth as vaccination campaigns in developed countries accelerate.

Brent was up 53 cents, or 0.7%, at $73.22 a barrel by 1050 GMT, its highest since May 2019.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained 44 cents, or 0.6%, to $71.35 a barrel, its highest since October 2018.

“The two leading crude markers are trading at (almost) two-and-a-half-year highs amid a potent bullish cocktail of demand optimism and OPEC+ supply cuts,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

“This backdrop of strengthening oil fundamentals have helped underpin heightened levels of trading activity.”

Motor vehicle traffic is returning to pre-pandemic levels in North America and much of Europe, and more planes are in the air as anti-coronavirus lockdowns and other restrictions are being eased, driving three weeks of increases for the oil benchmarks.

The mood was also buoyed by the G7 summit where the world’s wealthiest Western countries sought to project an image of cooperation on key issues such as recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the donation of 1 billion vaccine doses to poor nations.

“If the inoculation of the global population accelerates further, that could mean an even faster return of the demand that is still missing to meet pre-Covid levels,” said Rystad Energy analyst Louise Dickson.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday that it expected global demand to return to pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2022, more quickly than previously anticipated.

IEA urged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, known as OPEC+, to increase output to meet the rising demand.

The OPEC+ group has been restraining production to support prices after the pandemic wiped out demand in 2020, maintaining strong compliance with agreed targets in May.

On the supply side, heavy maintenance seasons in Canada and the North Sea also helped prices stay high, Dickson said.

U.S. oil rigs in operation rose by six to 365, the highest since April 2020, energy services company Baker Hughes Co said in its weekly report.

It was the biggest weekly increase of oil rigs in a month, as drilling companies sought to benefit from rising demand.

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Crude Oil

FG Spends N197.74 Billion on Subsidy in Q1 2021

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The Federal Government has spent a total sum of N197.74 billion on fuel subsidy in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, according to the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) report for May.

The report noted that the value of shortfall, the amount the NNPC paid as subsidy, in the March receipts stood at N111.97 billion while N60.40 billion was paid in February.

In the three months ended March, the Federal Government spent N197.74 billion on subsidy.

The increase in subsidy was a result of rising oil prices, Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $73.13 per barrel on Monday.

The difference in landing price and selling price of a single litre is the subsidy paid by the government.

On May 19, the Nigerian Governors Forum suggested that the Federal Government removed the subsidy completely and pegged the pump price of PMS at N380 per litre.

The governors’ suggestion followed the non-remittance of the NNPC into the April FAAC payments, the money required by most states to meet their expenditure such as salaries and building of infrastructure.

However, experts have said Nigeria is not gaining from the present surge in global oil prices given the huge money spent on subsidy.

Kalu Aja, Abuja-based financial planner and economic expert, said “If Nigeria is importing Premium Motor Spirit and still paying subsidy, then there is no seismic shift.”

“Nigeria needs oil at $130 to meet the deficit. In the short term, however, more dollar cash flow is expected and with depreciated Naira, it will reduce short term deficit.”

Adedayo Bakare, a research analyst, said that the current prices do not really mean much for the country economically.

He said, “The ongoing transition away from fossil fuels and weak oil production from the output cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will not make the country benefit much from the rising oil prices.

“Oil production used to be over two million barrels but now around 1.5 million barrels. We need OPEC to relax the output cuts for the naira to gain.”

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