20 April 2011

Nigeria: NSE to List N1.7 Trillion AMCON Bond for Trading

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said it will today admit the N1.7 trillion Zero Coupon Bond 2013 Series 1, issued by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) at N1, 000.00 per unit.

The listing will make the bonds tradable, several weeks after the initial January 31, date originally set when the N1.036 trillion bond were issued to 21 banks in exchange for their toxic assets.

The three-year zero coupon consideration bonds issued in exchange for non-performing loans, of which margin loans were 40 percent of the total, was expected to enable the banks rebuild their balance sheets and enable them concentrate on their core functions rather than debt collection agents.

The January 31, date, AMCON Chief Executive, Mustapha Chike-Obi explained then became unfeasible, because the process was taking longer than expected, owing to procedural issues.

Explaining further, he said "We are seeking some waivers from the Ministry of Finance, so we have pushed it back to February 28," he told Reuters then. But the new date also did not materialize because the corporation had not received the necessary cooperation required.

He however assured then that AMCON's timetable of absorbing bad loans by the end of March and resolving the banking crisis by the end of June -- was still on track.

AMCON was seeking finance ministry and Debt Management Office waivers to enable it issue tradable bonds as a new company, in addition to an exemption from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration fees, Chike-Obi said.

"This will create some delays but we will catch up with other things that we need to do. We are trying to make sure that we meet the deadline by the end of the second quarter to resolve all the banking issues," Chike-Obi said.

The bonds being listed is expected which has been properly registered, will replace the consideration bonds already issued.

Speaking during the issuance in December, Abraham Nwankwo, Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), who represented Finance Minister- Olusegun Aganga, assured stakeholders of the guaranty of the Federal Government, in support of the bonds, while expressing the Minister's delight at the landmark transaction.

The move- a monumental stride, he assured will help transform the nation's economy and reinvigorate the financial system, as part of the administration's ongoing programme to transform Nigeria into Africa's financial hub.

"The event of today has very serious implication for the country. We are at the threshold of making history," he said, challenging all stakeholders to contribute their own quota to the success of the programme.

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