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First Bank To Buy Back $300m Eurobond Debt Notes

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, is to exercise its option to call the $300 million 8.25 per cent subordinated notes (Eurobond) raised from the international debt markets before the due date of August 2020.

In its filing to the effect at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) signed by the Company Secretary of FBN Holdings, Mr. Seye Kosoko, the bank confirmed that it would call and pre-pay holders of the note at the next callable date of August 7, 2018.

The bank stated: “the liquidity management exercise demonstrates the strength of the bank’s foreign currency liquidity and robust capital base while further enhancing the efficiency of the balance sheet.”

Based on the bank’s 2017 full year’s financial statement, the Eurobond (notes I) bear interest rates at 8.25 per cent per annum up until the bank’s call date of 7 August 2018.

According to data on the deal, from the call date up to the maturity date, the notes will bear interest at a fixed rate of 6.875 per cent per annum plus the prevailing two-year mid swap rate for the United States dollar swap transactions reported at 2.812 per cent. This implies higher interest rate on the bond for the bank post the callable date.

Commenting on the development, analysts at CSL Stockbrokers noted that calling back the bond two years before maturity reflected the strength of the bank’s foreign currency liquidity position.

The analysts said: “We also expect the redemption to lower the bank’s funding cost reported at 3.3 per cent as at first quarter (Q1) 2018. This should also reduce the bank’s foreign-currency lending reported at 49 per cent of total loans in Q1 2018.

“On the flip side however, it suggests there is little room for profitable opportunities for USD lending and may mean loss of the spread, however marginal, that may be gained if availed for lending,” they added.


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