EcoBank Might auction out 6.7b Shares for $400m Convertible Bond

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According to the plan of the company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) Plc; the pan-African financial services holding company for the Ecobank group, may issue about 6.7 billion ordinary shares under a $400 million convertible bond.

Earlier this month, the shareholders of ETI authorized the board of the financial services group to raise up to $400 million through a convertible bond issue. At the annual general meeting and extraordinary general meeting in Lomé, Togo, shareholders voted in support of the convertible bond issue, which will be undertaken by way of rights issue.

As rights issue, the units will be pre-allotted to shareholders on the basis of their existing shareholdings. As a convertible bond, it means shareholders can exchange the bond unit for other instrument or cash.

Ecobank has confirmed that the convertible bond issue will include equities option that allows unit holders to convert their bonds to equities in a middle-of-the-road debt-to-equity financial structure that has become a regular feature of the pan-African group.

Although the final details of the $400 million convertible bond issue are still being structured, Ecobank has already showed that the convertible bond issue will have a maturity of five years and a coupon of 6.46 per cent above three-month LIBOR, with an option to convert at an exercise price of 6 US cents during the conversion period. The bonds will be on offer to all Ecobank shareholders on identical terms shortly.

ETI’s share price opens today at 4 cents or N13.27 per share at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The conversion price for the convertible bond is expected to be about N20 per share. If fully converted, the bond issue is expected to add about N133 billion to the market capitalisation of ETI at the NSE.

ETI had adopted similar debt-to-equities conversion in its acquisition of Nigerian bank, Oceanic Bank International Plc. Under the deal, preference shares were converted to ordinary shares. Qatar National Bank (QNB), one of ETI’s major shareholders, had used the window to increase its stake in the group.

ETI, which is also listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra and the West Africa Stock Exchange (BRVM) in Abidjan, will make do of the net proceeds of the $400 million bond issue to repay the bridging finance needed to create a resolution vehicle to manage Ecobank’s legacy loan portfolio and optimise the maturities of the group’s debt portfolio.

The bank had recorded a net loss of N52.6 billion in 2016, following a voluntary decision of the financial group to adopt full impairment charge for its legacy loan portfolio. ETI made a provision of N221.7 billion in the 2016 audited accounts, a rise of 110.7 per cent on N105.2 billion recorded in 2015.

Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of the ETI Group showed 29 per cent rise in operating profit before impairment losses to N188.65 billion in 2016 as oppose N146.04 billion in 2015. However, with the decision for the full impairment of the legacy loan, the group accounted loss before tax of N33.71 billion in 2016 as against pre-tax profit of N40.59 billion in 2015. After taxes, net loss stood at N52.6 billion in 2016 compared with net profit of N21.25 billion in 2015. Earnings per share thus reversed from 56 kobo in 2015 to a loss of N2.58 in 2016.

Source: The Nation
Edited for Aprecon by Omolola Lipede.


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