Fitch Rates Access Bank’s GMTN Programme ‘B (EXP)’

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Fitch Ratings has assigned Access Bank Plc long- and short-term ratings of ‘B(EXP)’ respectively to the bank’s updated $1 billion Global Medium-term Note Programme (GMTN).

The final ratings are contingent on the receipt of final documentation conforming to information already received, Fitch stated in a report wednesday.

Access Bank Plc is set to issue the first Eurobond from Nigeria in almost two years after choosing banks to arrange a new deal. The bank is currently meeting with investors on the proposed issue.

“The expected ratings of the programme apply only to the issuance of senior unsecured notes by Access Bank. There is no assurance that notes issued under the programme will be assigned a rating, or that the rating assigned to a specific issue under the programme will have the same rating as the programme.

“The programme’s expected ratings are in line with Access Bank’s Long- and Short-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of ‘B’ respectively. In Fitch’s view, the likelihood of default on senior unsecured notes under the programme reflects the likelihood of default of the bank.

“Access Bank’s IDRs are driven by both potential support from the sovereign, if required, and standalone creditworthiness as defined by a Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b’. While Nigeria’s willingness to support domestic banks remains high, its ability to do so is weaker, particularly in foreign currency, due to challenging economic conditions,” Fitch stated yesterday.