Nigeria’s bad bank: dollar bond on the way?

March 26, 2013

Nigeria has said it plans a sovereign dollar bond this year, only its second, but could the country’s “bad bank” beat the sovereign to it?

Nigerian state-backed bad bank AMCON was talking to debt investors on a non-deal roadshow in London on Tuesday morning, as it looks to fill a 5 trillion naira  ($31 billion) refinancing gap. It was the second leg of the tour, after the bank visited the west and east coasts of  the United States last week.

AMCON, which was set up in 2010 to absorb the debts of crisis-ridden banks in Nigeria,  reported a 2.37 trillion naira loss at the end of last year. But AMCON’s finance director Mofoluke Dosumu told investors this morning that the losses were not ongoing:

It’s not an operational loss, rather the mark to market of various investments.

The appeal of any dollar bond from AMCON for investors starved of African debt is that it would likely offer a higher coupon than Nigeria, yet the debt carries an explicit sovereign guarantee – a concern for investors burnt by situations such as the payment standstill in 2009 of state-owned Dubai World.

Mustafa Chike-Obi, ceo of AMCON, told Reuters that the bank would probably follow up on the non-deal roadshow with a deal roadshow in the third quarter, encompassing Germany, Dubai and Singapore.

Chike-Obi said the bank spoke to 26 investors on the U.S. leg of its roadshow.

The interest was uniformly very, very high. You had people like Goldman Sachs, who said if we came up with a $2 billion bond, they would be interested.

But the sovereign is still likely to be first off the blocks — it said earlier this month it would issue a $1 billion Eurobond before the end of September.

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