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British International Investment partners with Access Bank Plc to extend US$60 million trade finance facility across five African countries

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(L-R): Seyi Kumapayi, Executive Director, African Subsidiaries, Access Bank PLC, and Admir Imami, Director & Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance, British International Investment (BII)

British International Investment partners with Access Bank Plc to extend US$60 million trade finance facility across five African countries

British International Investment partners with Access Bank Plc to extend US$60 million trade finance facility across five African countries

(L-R): Seyi Kumapayi, Executive Director, African Subsidiaries, Access Bank PLC, and Admir Imami, Director & Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance, British International Investment (BII)

 

Back Row (L-R): Kehinde Adeoti, Team Lead, Strategic Investments, Access Bank PLC; Benson Adenuga, Head of Office & Coverage Director, Nigeria, BII; Adeola Ukoha, Coverage Manager, Nigeria, BII; David Banson, Investment Manager, Trade and Supply Chain Finance, BII, and Rowly Isioro, Head, Trade and Global Transaction Banking (Africa), Access Bank PLC, at the official signing of the $60 million trade finance facility for Access Bank Plc in Nigeria and five of its pan-African subsidiaries in Lagos, recently.

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Loan facility will help to ensure availability of key commodities across import-dependent economies and critical inputs for manufacturing goods, medicine, commodities, construction, food and agriculture.

Programme aims to stimulate African trade volumes by US$90 million and will contribute to SDGs 8 and 9.

BII’s second commitment to one of Nigeria’s leading multinational banks.

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) and impact investor, has announced a $60 million trade finance facility for Access Bank Plc in Nigeria and five of its pan-African subsidiaries. This will strengthen import and export capabilities amongst local businesses and plug the foreign currency supply gap. The programme supports Access Bank’s strategy to enable continental trade and deepens BII’s commitment to bolstering financing environments in fragile economies. BII estimates the loan programme will stimulate African trade volumes by US$90 million.

The agreement reinforces BII’s ongoing relationship with Nigeria’s largest commercial bank by assets and facilitates the provision of systemic liquidity during a period characterised by a challenging macroeconomic environment. Higher inflation and rising cost of capital have placed downward pressure on currency performance, both domestically and in the programme’s target markets of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Zambia. Intervention at this critical juncture underlines the key role of BII, and development finance institutions in general, in extending countercyclical support to build economic resilience.

Between 80% and 90% of world trade is estimated to rely on the availability of trade credit, according to the World Trade Organization. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, that financing gap stood at US$82 billion in Africa, and it is increasing. Recognising the positive ripple effects of robust trade flows on economies and livelihoods, Access Bank is aiming to provide 15% of trade finance across Africa, by growing the trade books of its subsidiaries.

Currency instability in Nigeria can hinder the wider proliferation of dollar denominated trade loans across African markets, constraining countries’ ability to capitalise on opportunities opening up under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. By specifically targeting import dependent economies – many of which will mark the first engagement with BII’s Trade programme – the improved availability of US dollar denominated trade loans will ensure availability of key commodities and manufacturing inputs for the production and export of goods. The key outcome will be improving livelihoods and preserving jobs for the employees of importers and exporters with limited access to foreign exchange trade loans.

With the loans channelled into companies in construction, manufacturing and FMCG, the programme will directly contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure).

Simultaneously, the facility will improve inclusion. Qualifying under the 2X Challenge, aimed at strengthening female participation and leadership in business, Access Bank will ensure the allocation of loans is designed deliberately to advance its gender commitments. In addition, the facility will contribute to BII’s BOLD programme, dedicated to enhancing the availability of finance at more affordable rates to Black, African-owned businesses.

Seyi Kumapayi, Executive Director, African Subsidiaries at Access Bank, remarked: “Access Bank is on a purposeful mission to scale intra-African trade and position the continent as a viable market for global trade. Hence, we are thrilled about the tremendous potential that this trade finance facility with the BII affords us across our pan-African subsidiaries. This strategic collaboration not only strengthens our import and export capabilities but also expands our resources to support local industries – especially women-owned businesses – and ultimately drive economic growth. By stimulating trade volumes, we will be playing a key role in fostering long-term economic resilience for the continent, while increasing its attractiveness for increased foreign investments.”

Admir Imami, Director and Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance at BII, noted: “Access Bank is a long-standing partner of BII’s and our new partnership is a significant step closer to narrowing the trade finance gap in Africa, particularly in countries such as the DRC and Rwanda.

Access to finance in fragile states is hugely constrained, often these countries are buffeted by macroeconomic events far beyond their control. BII and Access Bank share a conviction that building the resilience of these businesses by ensuring affordable access to foreign exchange is vital to keep intra-African trade moving and support the growth of inclusive economies.”

Benson Adenuga, Head of Office & Coverage Director for Nigeria, BII said: “Our latest commitment to Access Bank reiterates our assurance to this leading multinational institution and to Nigeria. It comes at a time when Nigeria’s fragile economic situation needs additional funding, particularly from counter cyclical investors like development finance institutions. Our funding will help bolster the economy and ensure the availability of staple goods, medicines and food across Africa.”

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Media contacts

British International Investment: Clare Murray | press@bii.co.uk

Access Bank Plc: Abdul Imoyo | mediarelations@accessbankplc.com

Notes to editors

About Access Bank

● Access Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Access Holdings Plc, is a leading full-service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 700 branches and service outlets, spanning 3 continents, 20 countries and serving over 60 million customers.

● The Bank operates in Nigeria and has subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, branches in Dubai, Paris, and representative offices in China, Lebanon, and India.

● Access Bank encourages and delivers sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.

● Over the past 17 years, Access Bank has consistently demonstrated its commitment to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, expending over ₦246.46 billion in financing for 3,145,319 women.

● In honour of its defining roles across the African continent, the Bank has been accorded recognition by reputable domestic and global organisations. Some of these recognitions include: 2023 Karlsruhe Award “Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement”; 2023 IFC Gender Leadership Award “Recognition for Women Empowerment and Leadership”; 2023 World Finance “Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria”; 2023 Global Finance “Best Bank for Sustainable Finance in Nigeria”; 2022 International Investors Award “Best Environmental and Social Performance Award”; 2022 Finance Derivative Award “Best Sustainable Bank Africa”; 2022 Euromoney Awards “Best Bank in Nigeria”; 2022 Global Sustainable Finance Awards “Outstanding Leadership in ESG-Related Loans, Africa”, and “Financial Leadership in Sustaining Communities, Africa”.

● For more information, visit: www.accessbankplc.com.

About British International Investment

● British International Investment is the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.

● British International Investment is a trusted investment partner to businesses in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

● It invests to support the UK Government’s Clean Green Initiative and to create productive, sustainable and inclusive economies in our markets.

● Over the next five years, at least 30 per cent of BII’s total new commitments by value will be in climate finance.

● In 2022, 46% of our commitments were in climate finance. We invested £591 million to help emerging economies reduce emissions, protect the environment and adapt to the changing climate.

● BII is also a founding member of the 2X Challenge which raised over $16 billion to empower women’s economic development from 2021-2022. BII invested $813 million in 2X qualified businesses in 2022.

● The company has investments in over 1,470 businesses in emerging economies across 65 countries and total assets of £8.1 billion.

● In 2019, BII helped to fund a $162.5 million syndicated loan package to Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc.

● For more information, visit: www.bii.co.uk | watch here.

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Guaranty Trust HoldCo Proposes N500bn Share Offering

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Guaranty Trust HoldCo Proposes N500bn Share Offering

Guaranty Trust HoldCo Proposes N500bn Share Offering

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Plc, said it has filed a preliminary ‘red herring’ prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise N500 billion.

The Company in a notice said the number of ordinary shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
The notice said “this is issued in reliance on Rule 283 of the Rules & Regulations of SEC, Nigeria. The notice read in part, this does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

“Any offer, solicitation or offer to buy, or any sale of securities will be made only by a prospectus duly registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (SEC) in accordance with the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act, No. 29, 2007 (the Act) and the rules and regulations of the SEC made pursuant to the Act (the SEC Rules).”

Stating the purpose of the proposed offering, the notice further said that, “the net proceeds of the proposed offering will be used for the growth and expansion of the GTCO Group’s businesses. Such planned growth and expansion will be effected through investments in technology infrastructure to fortify existing operations, the establishment of new subsidiaries and selective acquisitions of non-banking businesses; and the recapitalisation of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited.”

It added that “the proposed offering is structured as an institutional offering targeted at eligible investors and a retail offering within Nigeria and a private placing to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers outside Nigeria (the international tranche).”

It noted that the proposed offering is anticipated to open by July, 2024, adding that the filing of the red herring prospectus was undertaken with a concurrent filing of a preliminary universal shelf registration statement.

“The universal shelf registration will permit GTCO to establish a multi-currency securities issuance programme (the Programme) to issue various types of securities, or any combination of such securities, in one or more offerings, from time to time, to raise proceeds in an aggregate amount of up to $750 million or equivalent amount in Nigerian naira) in the Nigerian/international capital markets during the validity period of the Programme.”

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Wema Bank concludes 1st tranche of capital raise programme

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Wema Bank concludes 1st tranche of capital raise programme

Wema Bank concludes 1st tranche of capital raise programme

 

Wema Bank, Nigeria’s foremost innovative bank and pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank, ALAT, has successfully concluded the first tranche of its recapitalisation exercise having secured all relevant regulatory approvals for the allotment of its N40bn Rights Issue which was initiated in December 2023.

In view of macroeconomic conditions, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March 2024, launched a recapitalisation programme requiring commercial banks to raise fresh capital in alignment with the minimum requirement for their respective banking licenses, within a 24-month timeline spanning April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2026.

The goal of this recapitalisation programme is to simultaneously boost the Nigerian economy and strengthen the Nigerian financial services industry.

As a forward-thinking and pioneering bank, Wema Bank in December 2023 launched a N40bn Rights issue which has now been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). With this remarkable development, Wema Bank has now successfully raised N40bn of the N200bn minimum requirement laid down by the CBN.

In a statement made to the public by the Bank, Moruf Oseni, Wema Bank’s Managing Director and CEO, iterated the Bank’s resolve in retaining its Commercial Banking license with National Authorisation, adding that the N40bn Rights Issue is a step in that direction.

“We are delighted to announce the conclusion of the 1st tranche of our Capital Raise Programme, after obtaining the relevant approvals of all regulatory authorities. Our move to commence our Capital Raise Programme very early demonstrates our push for excellence and with a strong emphasis on our digital play, we are set to amass more successes in the coming months.”

“We were impressed by the vote of confidence given by our shareholders during the 1st Rights Issue exercise as our shares were fully subscribed. In addition, we obtained the approval of shareholders at our 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to raise an additional N150billion to meet the capitalisation threshold set by the CBN. The process is expected to be completed within 12-18 months. We are committed to providing optimum returns for every stakeholder and the successful conclusion of this N40bn Rights Issue is a bold step in the right direction.”

In addition to the upward trend in the Bank’s financial performance and the success recorded so far in its recapitalisation exercise, Wema Bank’s corporate rating was recently upgraded to BBB+ by Pan African credit rating agency, Agusto and Co, and retained at BBB by international rating agency, Fitch.

Over the medium to long term, Wema Bank is positioned to dominate not only the digital Banking space but also the Nigerian financial services industry at large as it translates its industry leadership to significant market share.

Wema Bank is a leading financial services entity with banking operations across Nigeria, its leadership position in the digital banking space speaks to its aspirations to liberate Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs by making digital platforms widely available.

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Zenith Bank confirms Sirika’s daughter owns a company linked to N1.4 billion Aviation contract

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Zenith Bank confirms Sirika’s daughter owns a company linked to N1.4 billion Aviation contract

Zenith Bank confirms Sirika’s daughter owns a company linked to N1.4 billion Aviation contract

A compliance officer from Zenith Bank Plc, Mishelia Arhyel, told the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja on Tuesday that former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika’s daughter, Fatima, and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, owned Al-Buraq Global Investment Ltd, a company the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indicted in an aviation fraud suit.

Arhyel testified as EFCC’s second witness in the fraud-related charges instituted against Hadi Sirika and his daughter, Fatima, son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, and Al-Buraq Investment Ltd.

The defendants had been arraigned before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the FCT High Court.

EFCC’s Case
The EFCC had indicted Hadi Sirika, in an alleged contract fraud involving his daughter and son-in-law as well as fraudulent practices associated with the Nigeria Air debacle.

Sirika was accused of allegedly using his position to unfairly benefit Tianaero Nigeria Limited and Al Buraq Global Investment Ltd; companies allegedly associated with his associate, daughter, and son-in-law.

He was said to have influenced the award of contracts for the Nigerian Air project and the Apron Extension at Katsina Airport to these companies.

The EFCC alleges that N1.4 billion was approved to Al-Buraq for the Apron Extension contract at Katsina Airport.

The defendants are accused of breach of trust and misuse of public office to the tune of over N2 billion naira in contravention of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and the Penal Code Act.

But they all pleaded not guilty to the charges paving the way for the commencement of trial.

What transpired in court
Led in evidence by EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Arhyel, said his role as a compliance officer involves receiving correspondence from law enforcement agencies on behalf of Zenith Bank and forwarding the same to appropriate authorities as well as responding to inquiries.

He confirmed that sometime in February 2023, the bank received a letter from EFCC making inquiries regarding accounts statements on Al-Buraq, Jalal Hama and Fatima.

The prosecution counsel then tendered the bank statements of the defendants and it was admitted by the court unopposed by the defense legal team.

Speaking to the documents, Arhyel told Justice Oriji that Al-Buraq was registered on June 17, 2021, and the directors are Hamal Jalal, Sirika Fatima Hadi and Shinade Saratu.

According to the witness, the ex-minister’s daughter and in-law have significant control over Al-Buraq.

“Sirika Fatima Hadi is the secretary of the company.

“Persons in significant control of the company are Hamal Jalal and Sirika Fatima Hadi.

“The signatories are Saratu Muhammad, Fatima Hadi Sirika, and Jalal Hamal,” the witness told the court corroborating EFCC’s allegations.

Earlier in the proceedings, Azubuike Okorie, a former Special Assistant to the ex-Aviation Minister, Projects(2022-2023) said it was the frustration posed by the Nigerian Air Force and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) that prevented the execution of the Kastina Airport extension contract.

Under cross-examination by the defense team led by Kanu Agabi (SAN), Okorie said the contract went through due process and had nothing to do with the competence and honesty of the contractor.

The witness claimed the relationship between Sirika, his family members and associates was not a factor considered in the contract awarded to Al-Buraq.

The court subsequently adjourned the trial to June 20, 2024.

Backstory
The EFCC had said its operatives arrested Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, the brother of Hadi Sirika, over an alleged contract fraud in the aviation ministry.

Abubakar was picked up by the anti-graft agency on Sunday, February 4, following an investigation in the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

During his tenure as minister, Sirika faced allegations including conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering totalling N8,069,176,864.

The commission had revealed that the funds in dispute related to four aviation contracts awarded by the former minister to a company called Engirios Nigeria Limited, which is owned by his younger brother.

The EFCC is empowered by law to track financial crimes.

Every accused person remains innocent until found guilty by a competent court.

Sirika served as aviation minister from 22 August 2019 to 29 May 2023.

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