Oceanic Bank International Plc has successfully entered into a U.S. $175 million five-year bilateral loan agreement with Merrill Lynch International.
While Oceanic Bank is the fifth largest bank in Nigeria and the fourth most profitable, Merrill Lynch is an investment banking and stock brokerage company. It is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes and serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide.
The bilateral loan agreement between Oceanic Bank and Merrill Lynch is the first ever-international debt raising by Oceanic Bank. It is also the longest ever maturity for a loan to be raised by any bank in Nigeria as well as the largest ever international loan to be raised by any Nigerian bank in loan format.
While Merrill Lynch International acted as the arranger and lender of the loan, Travant Capital acted as business consultants to Oceanic Bank.
Commenting on the bilateral loan agreement between the two financial institutions, Chief Executive of Oceanic Capital Co. Ltd, Mr. Oboden Ibru, said, “We believe that being the first Nigerian Bank to successfully raise a long term loan on the international debt market reflects our innovative ability and leading market position. This transaction is one of Oceanic’s many recent successes, which is in furtherance of our long-term objectives and will also significantly raise our international profile and brand recognition. We are extremely pleased to be working with Merrill Lynch again after they advised us on our recent public offer, and as we nurture this relationship, we expect to introduce a variety of products tailored to the African environment.
Nigeria, as the natural hub, is ripe for investments and DFI, and we are poised to participate effectively in the development, growth and deepening of the sub-region with such value-added transactions.”
In his own reaction, Head of Emerging Market Debt at Merrill Lynch, Alex von Sponeck said: “This is a tremendous achievement for Oceanic Bank, representing a successful conclusion to a lot of hard work by the management team at Oceanic Bank, Travant Capital and Merrill Lynch’s transaction team, and further evidence of Merrill Lynch’s strong commitment to Nigeria”
Chief Executive Officer of Travant Capital, Osaze Osifo, said, “The culmination of this visible financing for Oceanic Bank has reinforced Oceanic Bank’s international profile, as well as Merrill Lynch’s Sub-Saharan and African franchise. Travant Capital is pleased to have supported Oceanic Bank on this inaugural debt financing,” he said,
Oceanic Bank, it would be recalled, has just concluded its public offer from which it hopes to increase its shareholders funds to $1 billion. Though the bank was in the capital market to raise N55.4 billion, sources said the offer has been grossly oversubscribed and that the bank has already realised over N100 billion from the public offer.
With the increased capitalisation, Chief Executive of Oceanic Bank, Dr. (Mrs) Cecilia Ibru, said the bank would be a global player in various corporate and investment banking related services.