Nigeria Sells $2.5 Billion Eurobonds to Replace Naira Debt

By Paul Wallace and David Malingha Doya

 AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Nigeria sold $2.5 billion of Eurobonds on Thursday as it sought to lower funding costs by using the notes to refinance higher-yielding naira debt.

Africa’s biggest economy sold $1.25 billion of 12-year securities at 7.143 percent and a separate 20-year tranche, also $1.25 billion, at 7.696 percent, the Finance Ministry said on its Twitter account. The nation’s fifth Eurobond sale received subscriptions in excess of $11.5 billion, according to the ministry.

Proceeds will be used for “refinancing of domestic debt,” the ministry said in a series of tweets. The sale completes a dollar-debt program of selling more foreign debt to help reduce the burden of paying double-digit yields on local-currency bonds. That would free up funds needed to expand infrastructure, and help the economy sustain recovery from a contraction in 2016, the first in a quarter-century.

Nigeria sold a record $4.8 billion of Eurobonds last year, most recently in November, when it issued $3 billion of 10- and 30-year debt. Yields on the latter rose seven basis points to 7.71 percent by 5:32 p.m. in Lagos, the highest since they were issued. Nigeria’s local bonds have an average yield of 13.8 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Citigroup Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc managed the deal, while Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s Nigerian unit was a financial adviser.

Nigeria follows Egypt, which became the first African sovereign to tap the market this year when it sold $4 billion of debt on Feb. 13. Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Kenya have all said they are considering deals soon.

 

Source: www.bloomberg.com

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