28 Sep

Daily Watch – US rekindles love affair with Nigerian crude, Access Bank flirts with Eurobonds

  • The United States has overtaken India to become the biggest importer of Nigerian crude oil according to the latest NNPC monthly report, the first time in more than two years. The US bought 10.79 million barrels of Nigerian crude in June, up from 4.76 million barrels in the previous month, while India’s imports stood at 9.62 million barrels, down from 16.29 million barrels in January. US import of Nigerian crude rose by 577.8 percent in Q1 compared to the same period in 2015, according to the NNPC data. India emerged as the single largest importer of crude oil from Nigeria in 2013 after a significant drop in US imports amid a shale oil boom that has now dissipated in the face of falling crude prices. The corporation also announced in its report that it paid $3.163 billion to its JV partners for as part of liquidating its cash call obligation.
  • The Senate agreed on Tuesday to investigate an allegation that MTN, Africa’s biggest telecoms company, illegally transferred $13.92 billion out of Nigeria. MTN declined to comment on the decision of the Senate in Nigeria which, with 62 million subscribers, is its biggest market. The allegation was made in a motion submitted to the upper house by Senator Dino Melaye which said $13.92 billion had been repatriated “illegally” out of Nigeria by MTN through its bankers between 2006 and 2016. The investigation threatens to raise tensions between Nigeria and the South African firm just three months after MTN agreed to pay a reduced fine of ₦330 billion ($1.05 billion) in a settlement with the federal government over unregistered SIM cards.
  • The International Finance Corporation has approved a $25 million (₦8 billion) loan to Promasidor Nigeria Limited, a leading dairy and seasoning products company, according to a statement. The IFC’s financing will support purchases of new machinery that will enable PNL to increase efficiency, expand production and develop new products, leading to greater availability of food products in Nigeria at competitive prices, according to the company. Founded in 1993, Promasidor is the custodian of such well-known brands as Cowbell Milk, Loya Milk, Onga food seasoning and Top Tea. The company is a subsidiary of Promasidor Holdings Limited, a leading pan-African consumer goods company operating in 25 countries across the continent.
  • Access Bank has announced plans to issue the first Eurobond from Nigeria in almost two years. Nigeria’s fourth-largest lender by assets will meet investors in the U.S. and Europe through October 3 and wants to sell five-year debt, according to CEO Herbert Wigwe. According to him, Barclays, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will arrange the deal. “It will be for working capital, for lending to investment-grade names,” including Nigerian companies seeking to expand their exports, Wigwe told Bloomberg in a telephone interview on Monday. It would be the first Eurobond out of Nigeria since October 2014, when oil company Seven Energy Finance issued $300 million of securities. The FG also plans to raise $1 billion in Eurobonds this year, its first since 2013.
  • Wema Bank has transferred its majority equity stake in the 56-year-old Great Nigeria Insurance (GNI) to Insurance Resourcery and Consultancy Services Limited in a deal worth ₦3.24 billion. According to a transaction document, the divestiture was concluded last week with the transfer of Wema Bank’s shares to Insurance Resourcery through an NSE special purpose window. Following the CBN’s new banking regulatory regime that requires banks to either divest from non-core banking subsidiaries or form a holding company to hold those subsidiaries, Wema Bank opted to divest from its non-core banking businesses including GNI. In its latest report on public shareholding status in quoted companies, the NSE indicated that GNI and 10 other companies were in violation of listing requirements which compel companies quoted on the main board to ensure that a minimum of 20 percent of its issued shares is in the hand of the general investing public. GNI began operations in 1960 and its businesses include general and life insurance.