AELP Link to Boost Trading Between NGX and Other African Exchanges
Cross-border trading from one African securities exchange to another comes a step closer today after the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) signed a contract to procure an order-routing system. Seven of Africa’s leading securities Exchanges are working together in the African Exchanges Linkage Project (AELP) to boost pan-African investment flows and bring more liquidity to African markets.
The contract is for the design and rollout of the AELP Link technology platform for routing orders and trade confirmations between stockbrokers on the seven Exchanges participating in the pilot phase of the AELP. The Supplier is DirectFN, a global IT firm experienced in capital markets solutions across the Middle East and many emerging and frontier markets, which was awarded the contract after a competitive bidding process that attracted applications from top international suppliers in 18 countries.
The AELP is a joint initiative by ASEA and the African Development Bank (AfDB) aimed at unlocking Pan-African investment flows, promoting innovations that support diversification for investors, and addressing depth and liquidity in the markets. It is funded by a grant from the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Trust Fund managed by the African Development Bank.
Speaking on the development, Mr. Temi Popoola, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, said: “At NGX, we are optimistic that today’s milestone will further hasten efforts at capital market integration across Africa. The work of the AELP is significant, as it will serve to ultimately boost Pan-African investment flows, promote innovations that support the diversification needs of investors in Africa, and help address the lack of depth and liquidity in Africa’s financial markets. We, therefore, take this opportunity to commend the efforts of ASEA and AfDB, and reiterate our continuing support of the AELP.”
With the AELP Link, investor orders in one market will be channeled by a domestic stockbroker to a stockbroker on the foreign market where the security is listed, to enter into that market for execution in the foreign market. African Listed Securities to be accessed through the AELP Link include all securities that are available for cross-border investors.
Equity investments available include Africa’s most promising and profitable businesses as well as some global leaders among more than 1,050 companies listed. Investors will also buy or sell corporate and government bonds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and derivatives where these are listed on the participating exchanges and the sponsoring stockbroker provides access.
Commenting, Dr. Felix Edoh Kossi Amenounvé, President of ASEA and CEO of the BRVM, said: “We are excited with this big step towards free movement of investments across Africa and free flow of capital. Our aim is to open new opportunities for individual and institutional investors to invest productively into Africa’s growth story. The Exchanges continue to support African enterprises and governments to raise long-term capital for African jobs, business growth, infrastructure, and development.”
Dr. Walid Al Ballaa, the Managing Director, of DirectFN, said: “With innovative technology and focus to bring digital maturity in building digital relationships through the AELP-Link technology platform establishment, DirectFN feels equally excited to assist practically in realizing the goals across the participating African Exchanges and to enable the African capital market ecosystem digitally to create a positive impact on the overall economy.”
The AELP exchanges are Nigerian Exchange (NGX), Casablanca Stock Exchange, The Egyptian Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Nairobi Securities Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius and Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (stock exchange for the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s eight West African countries).
Commercial Paper Quotations Surge on FMDQ Exchange, Reaching N669.36bn in Q1 2023
The FMDQ Exchange, Nigeria’s foremost debt capital market, has reported a remarkable increase in the value of quoted commercial papers (CPs) during the first quarter of 2023.
The total outstanding value of CPs rose to an impressive N669.36bn at the end of the same period, indicating a significant boost to the country’s financial market.
The monthly reports from the FMDQ Exchange reveal a sustained upward trend in the quotations of commercial papers since the beginning of the year. These quoted CPs were issued by institutions across diverse sectors, including real estate, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture, and health.
In February 2023, the total value of CPs quoted on the FMDQ Exchange stood at N101.84bn, representing a month-on-month increase of 22.40% (N18.64bn) compared to January 2023. The sectors contributing to these quoted CPs included financial services, real estate, manufacturing, construction, and more.
The upward trajectory continued in March 2023, with the total value of CPs quoted on the FMDQ Exchange reaching a staggering N354.18bn. This figure reflected a substantial month-on-month increase of 247.80% (N252.34bn) from the previous month. Manufacturing, agriculture, financial services, real estate, telecommunications, commodities trading, and general commerce were the sectors responsible for issuing quoted CPs.
The surge in commercial paper quotations resulted in a remarkable 82.76% month-on-month increase (N303.11bn) in the total outstanding value of CPs, reaching N669.36bn. It is worth noting that CPs worth N113.10bn matured and were redeemed in January 2023.
Comparing the data with previous months, the figures for the first three months of 2023 far exceeded the preceding seven months, which saw quoted CPs below N80bn.
Commenting on this trend, Johnson Chukwu, the Chief Executive Officer at Cowry Asset Management Limited, emphasized that the high interest rates and the ease of issuing commercial papers were driving companies to seek funding in the money market. Chukwu explained that during periods of high-interest rates, borrowers prefer short-term debts to avoid being locked into long-term obligations.
Furthermore, Chukwu highlighted that commercial papers offer companies a cost-effective alternative to borrowing from banks. By accessing the commercial paper market directly, borrowers can tap into lower borrowing costs compared to the fees associated with bank loans.
Okiki Oladipo, an analyst at Parthian Partners, pointed out that the current low yield in the money market is attracting businesses to engage in this segment. However, there are expectations of a rise in yields, which could impact the sustainability of this funding strategy. Oladipo emphasized that a borrower’s financial health and the trajectory of market yields play pivotal roles in determining the long-term viability of the strategy.
The surge in commercial paper quotations on the FMDQ Exchange underscores the growing significance of this financial instrument in Nigeria’s capital market. As more companies turn to commercial papers for funding, it is expected to stimulate economic growth and provide additional opportunities for investors in the country.
FMDQ Exchange Lists N300bn Dangote Industries Funding Plc Senior Unsecured Bonds
FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited (FMDQ Exchange) announced yesterday that it has approved the listing of Dangote Industries Funding Plc’s N187.58 billion Series 1 (Tranche A & B) and N112.42 billion Series 2 Senior Unsecured Bonds under its N300 billion Debt Issuance Programme on its platform.
The Series 1 and 2 bonds were listed on FMDQ Exchange in November 2022 and March 2023, respectively.
To commemorate the occasion, FMDQ Exchange held a listing ceremony at its offices. Managing Director, Ms. Tumi Sekoni, represented by Ms. Jumoke Olaniyan, Senior Vice President, Business Development Division, FMDQ Exchange, congratulated the issuer and sponsors on achieving this milestone, noting that their decision to raise funds from the debt markets via the Exchange’s platform was a testament to the highly efficient time-to-market and unrivalled listing and quotation service offered by FMDQ Exchange.
In a special address, Mr. Olakunle Alake thanked the investor community, Securities and Exchange Commission, FMDQ Exchange, and their team of professional advisers led by Standard Chartered Capital and Advisory Nigeria Limited and Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited for ensuring successful outings on both their debut and subsequent bond issuances.
Delivering the sponsor’s remarks, Mrs. Yemisi Deji-Bejide, CEO of Standard Chartered Capital and Advisory Nigeria Limited, stated that “the phenomenal success of this transaction reflects the strong credit quality of the issuer as well as the depth and resilience of the Nigerian domestic markets, despite the global market volatility.”
FMDQ Exchange’s commitment to innovation and efficient services will continue to support issuers and investors towards achieving an operationally excellent and globally competitive debt market.
Nigeria’s Debt Capital Markets: Robust Corporate Debt Issuance Will be Sustained Over 2023 and Beyond
Corporate Debt Capital Issuance Recovered Over 2022
Following the sharp decline in corporate debt capital issuance over 2021 of 38%, a record NGN1.5 Trillion (USD 3.2 Billion) of debt was issued in Nigeria in 2022, representing a 133% increase year-on-year. Using FMDQ data, there is currently approximately NGN 2.1 Trillion (USD 4.6 Billion) of publicly issued nonfederal local currency debt capital outstanding; the majority being corporate bonds at 71% of total (NGN 1.5 Trillion, USD 3.3 Billion).
As of year-end 2022, GCR rated approximately 80% of outstanding publicly issued non-federal local currency debt in Nigeria. Debt capital issuance, specifically CP issuance, in Nigeria decreased significantly over 2021. As shown in figure 2, below, Nigerian corporates issued just NGN379 Billion (USD 824 Million) of CP over 2021 compared to a record NGN762 Billion (USD 1.66 Billion) of CP in 2020. The reduction in CP issuance reflected rising yields, and thus rising cost of funding, over 2021 from a very low base.
Treasury bill yields continued to rise in 2022; increasing from 2.48% (91 day), 3.3% (182 Day) and 5.4% (364 Day) in January 2022 to a peak of 6.5% (91 day), 8.05% (182 Day) and 14.5% (364 Day) in October 2022. However, unlike 2021, the rising interest rate environment in 2022 did not curtail debt capital issuance.
2022 saw a deepening of challenges for Nigerian corporates on account of weak economic growth, a high headline inflation rate, spiralling fuel costs and supply-chain disruptions. As a result of this challenging environment, Nigerian corporates increasingly sought short-term funds through CP issuances in order to meet their working capital requirements i.e., to fund their day-to-day operations.
Working capital funding is common for businesses facing near-to-medium term uncertainty and/or businesses with inconsistent cash flow. 2022 saw 140 CP transactions totalling NGN762 Billion (USD 1.66 Billion) versus 61 transactions totalling NGN379 Billion (USD 824 Million) in 2021.
Bond issuance also grew significantly over 2022 at 189%. Nigerian corporates are choosing to issue local currency debt capital over borrowing in foreign currency. The challenging foreign exchange environment in Nigeria manifests itself in foreign currency shortages within the financial system and weakened relationships between Nigerian banks and foreign correspondent banks which ultimately led to unfavourable terms for Nigerian corporates looking to borrow in foreign currency.
We do not expect the unfavourable terms of foreign currency borrowing to change in the near-term. Growth in bond issuance was predominantly down to big ticket transactions to fund large capital expenditure projects, or acquisitions, such as:
• Dangote Industries Limited’s (AA+(NG), Stable) NGN300 Billion (USD 652 Million) bond to fund the construction of the Dangote refinery,
• Dangote Cement Plc’s (AA+(NG), Stable) NGN116 Billion (USD 252 Million) bond to fund expansion projects within the Nigerian market,
• MTN Nigeria Communications Plc’s (AAA(NG), Stable) NGN115 Billion (USD 250 Million) bond to fund the expansion of its 5G network,
• Geregu Power Plc’s (A(NG), Stable) NGN40.1 Billion (USD 87 Million) bond to fund the acquisition of a power plant,
• Presco Plc’s (A-(NG), Stable) NGN34.5 Billion (USD 75 Million) bond to fund the acquisition of a palm oil business and
• LFZC Funding SPV Plc’s (Lagos Free Zone Company) (AAA(NG), Stable) NGN25 Billion (USD 54 Million) Guaranteed Bond to fund the construction of various assets within the free zone.
The aforementioned Presco transaction is the first local bond from an entity operating in Nigeria’s palm oil industry.
Recent Crash in Money Market Yields Will Drive Corporate Debt Issuance in the Near-term
As shown in figure 5, over 2022, the CBN increased its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 5 percentage points in order to curb rampant inflation. The CBN’s hawkish stance ultimately led to rising yields in money markets with 364 day rates rising from a 2022 low of 4.35% in February to a peak of 14.5% in October.
However, in recent months we have witnessed a dislocation in money market and MPR rates. Despite a 150 basis point increase in MPR this year, money market yields fell significantly; approaching levels close to fourth quarter 2020.
The dislocation is on account of the significant influx of liquidity into the financial system in recent months. Nigeria witnessed the highest Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) pay-out of 2022 in December of NGN990 Billion (USD 2.2 Billion). Secondly, the CBN’s currency redesign meant that a significant quantum of cash has been redeposited at banks since its commencement, in fact, on 29 January 2023, the CBN reported that NGN1.9 Trillion (USD 4.1 Billion) of cash was redeposited in the prior two months.
We expect the aforementioned factors to moderate over the medium term and for money market yields, and thus corporate yields, to normalise as FAAC placements are expended and naira notes redistributed. Notwithstanding, according to FMDQ Securities Exchange, the average valuation yields for listed bonds as of 28 February 2023 was 12.5% versus the average prime lending rate of banks of 13.67%, as of February 2023 (the prime lending rate at some Nigerian banks was as high as 28.5%). GCR believes Nigerian corporates will continue to look to debt capital markets as a cheaper source of funding to bank borrowing.
Robust Corporate Debt Issuance to be Sustained Over 2023 and Beyond
Over the next 12 to 18 months, we expect robust debt issuance to be sustained as the political direction of new leadership becomes more certain; allowing Nigerian corporates to make better informed funding decisions. In the nearer term, issuance will be supported by the aforementioned fall in yields. At present, we are witnessing a strong pipeline of new transactions over the next 12 months; partly in new asset classes such asset back securities.
Additionally, the advent of Basel III regulations will mean that Nigerian banks will have an increased need to issue Additional Tier 1 and Tier 2 debt capital. Furthermore, Basel III’s liquidity coverage requirements mean that banks will have a greater need for High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA) in the form of corporate bonds.
Overall, Basel III will be supportive of deepening Nigeria’s capital markets.
Lastly, issuing debt instruments continues to be an increasingly viable funding source for Nigerian entities. Companies will continue to diversify their funding base through the issuance of CP and/or bonds for the foreseeable future.
Nigeria’s Institutional Investors will Continue to Invest Heavily in Local Currency Corporate Debt
Domestic institutional investors, such as pension funds administrators and asset/fund managers remain willing and able subscribers of Nigeria’s corporate debt capital. Corporate debt instruments continue to offer institutional investors reasonable return premiums above sovereign benchmarks.
Primary market bond transactions in recent years have been mostly oversubscribed. According to the National Pension Commission (Pencom), as of December-end 2022, Nigeria’s pension funds had NGN15 Trillion (USD 33 Billion) of Assets Under Management (AUM), this is an increase of 12% from December-end 2021’s total of NGN13.4 Trillion (USD 29 Billion).
In particular, corporate bonds under management grew from NGN920 Billion (USD 2 Billion) to NGN1.4 Trillion (USD 3 Billion), an increase of 52%. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as of March 2023, the net asset value (NAV) of Nigerian mutual funds had risen to NGN1.574 trillion (USD 3.4 Billion), representing an increase of 11% from March 2022 levels.
GCR estimates Nigeria’s total pension and mutual fund assets under management as a percentage of Nigerian GDP to be less than 10% versus 67% for OECD countries as of year-end 2021. Given the small size of both pension and mutual fund AUM as a percentage of GDP, there is significant capacity for AUM growth. GCR expects institutional investors to meet the funding needs of local debt issuers for the foreseeable future.
African Development Bank Approves $20 Million Investment in Private Equity Fund Targeting the Infrastructure Sector in Africa
EFCC Summons Former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi for Questioning on N4 Billion Scandal
Wema Bank Plc. Appoints Dr. (Mrs.) Oluwayemisi Olorunshola as Board Chairman
Cryptocurrency3 weeks ago
Binance Resumes Bitcoin Withdrawals After Pause, Cites Congestion of Network
Blockchain4 weeks ago
Nigeria’s Government Embraces Blockchain Technology with New National Policy
Dividends4 weeks ago
Zenith Bank Fetes Shareholders With Unprecedented Dividend Payout of N100.47 Billion
Naira4 weeks ago
Nigerian Naira Appreciates Amidst Decline in Foreign Exchange Market Turnover
Technology3 weeks ago
Apple And Google Collaborate to Stop Unwanted Tracking of People by Bluetooth Devices
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Fedi Raises $17 Million to Launch Alpha Version of Federated Operating System
Naira4 weeks ago
Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Today May 3rd, 2023
eNaira4 weeks ago
IMF Managing Director Cautions About Unforeseeable Consequences of Retail CBDCs