Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa (UBA) has raised a US$160mn syndicated trade finance facility, which experts say is a sign that appetite is returning for the financially beleaguered country.

GTR understands that only US$100mn was sought, but that the transaction was heavily oversubscribed.

Nine lenders participated in the one-year deal, which was disbursed on December 19.

Bookrunners and co-ordinators on the deal were Africa Trade Finance and Mashreqbank. Joining as mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) and bookrunners were: Absa Bank, British Arab Commercial Bank and Commerzbank. FirstRand Bank, acting through its Rand Merchant Bank division, joined as MLA. Lead arrangers were Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, BMCE Bank, Ghana International Bank and the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah.

Sullivan & Worcester and Jackson, Etti & Edu acted as legal counsel.

Over the last couple of years, Nigeria has suffered a dollar shortage, driven by the oil price crash. This has resulted in some local banks being unable to promptly repay their outstanding debt with international lenders, which, in turn, has affected their ability to borrow.

But Africa Trade Finance director Christian Karam tells GTR that international lenders are beginning to “turn the page”.

“This financing has come together involving the right borrower, the right parties, the right pricing and at the right time in a Sub-Saharan market continuously seeking new money,” he says.