THISDAY SPECIAL RELEASE
By Obinna Chima
Access Bank Plc has successfully raised US$300 million via a Eurobond from the international bond market.
The bank recently accessed the international market to raise the bond, with a maturity date of October 2021 and at a coupon of 10.5 per cent.
This makes Access Bank the first Nigerian bank to raise a bond from the international market this year despite the country’s macroeconomic headwinds.
The bank’s management, in a statement yesterday, said the successful outcome of the bond demonstrated the strength, resilience and international endorsement of Access Bank Plc.
Market analysts also saw the Eurobond issue as a show of support for the federal government’s efforts to attract foreign exchange into the country.
Access Bank currently has two series of Eurobonds in issue – the $350 million maturing in July 2017, at a coupon of 7.25 per cent, and the $400 million (9.25%) maturing in June 2021 – as part of a US$1 billion global medium-term note programme.
Commenting on the development, Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank, said: “The bond will be for working capital, for lending to investment-grade names, including Nigerian companies seeking to expand their exports.”
He emphasised that the process signified a significant moment in the bank’s journey to entrench itself as one of Nigeria’s top three banks by 2017.
“It also ensures that we keep our promise of speed, service and security to our customers as we target Africa’s fastest-growing industrial sectors,” he added.
Access Bank is now one of the top three banks in Nigeria and ranked among the top 500 global banks, according to a 2015 report by The Banker magazine and is aiming to be Africa’s top bank.
The bank recently won the Best Branch Automation Project in the 2016 Asian Banker Awards; the 2016 Karlsruhe Outstanding Business Sustainability Award; 2016 Euromoney Africa’s Best Bank Transformation Award; and the EMEA Finance ‘Best Bank of the Year’ and CEO of the Year.
Access Bank currently serves over 7 million individual and corporate account holders, through 370 branches and with more than 1,500 ATMs in major centres across Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, UK, and representative offices in Asia.