Nigeria’s Access Bank has rolled over a syndicated trade finance facility signed last year, attracting new lenders and more than doubling the amount raised.
The heavily oversubscribed facility was closed at US$358mn with a syndicate of 20 banks from around the world, including Europe, the Gulf and South Africa.
The one-year loan is the rollover from a US$158mn syndicated trade finance facility with 13 lenders that was signed in May 2018 and reimbursed last month. The new facility was disbursed in early June.
The bookrunners and co-ordinators were Africa Trade Finance and Mashreq, which was also the agent on the deal. The margin was 225 basis points over Libor – down from last year’s 300 basis points.
“We went out to the market with US$150mn and we ended up at US$358mn, so it was significantly oversubscribed. It is the largest syndicated loan ever granted to a Nigerian commercial bank, which shows there is a strong return from international lenders, given you are with the right borrower,” Christian Karam, director of Africa Trade Finance, tells GTR. “We had created a track record with the first year, so it gives comfort.”
Africa Trade Finance has not released the names of the lenders this time around, but says that most of last year’s banks were part of this year’s syndicate, which also saw a number of new lenders join.
The signing comes just a few months after Access Bank acquired fellow Nigerian bank Diamond Bank in what is said to have created the largest bank in Nigeria by asset size.
“The increase of the balance sheet of the combined entity following the merger, which makes Access Bank the largest bank in Nigeria, has contributed to gathering more appetite from the market,” Karam says.
Clifford Chance and Aluko and Oyebode acted as legal counsel.
It is the third major deal that Africa Trade Finance has arranged for a Nigerian tier-one bank over the past two years. Apart from the two Access Bank transactions, the company also co-ordinated a US$160mn syndicated trade finance facility for Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa (UBA), which was disbursed in December 2017.