By Obinna Chima
Fitch Ratings has assigned Nigeria’s upcoming $300 million senior unsecured bonds a ‘B+(Exp)’ rating.
The agency explained in a statement yesterday that the assignment of the final rating was contingent on the receipt of final documents materially conforming to information already reviewed.
“The expected rating is in line with Nigeria’s long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of B+. The outlook on the IDR is negative. The rating is sensitive to changes in Nigeria’s long-term foreign currency IDR at ‘B+’ and revised outlook to zero,” the agency explained.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) recently announced the commencement of a global offering of Nigeriaâ€™s first Diaspora Bond. DMO said the nation had filed a registration statement for the bonds with the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It said that application would be made for the bonds to be admitted to the official list of the UK Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange Plc.
The debt office had also said this was to ensure that the bonds were admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchangeâ€™s regulated market.
â€œThe bonds will be direct general obligations of Nigeria and will be denominated in U.S. dollars.”
The international Joint Lead Managers are Bank of America Merrill Lynch and The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited. The Nigerian Joint Lead Managers are First Bank of Nigeria Limited and United Bank for Africa Plc.