Monday, October 18, 2021
HomeBanking & FinanceDollar scarcity threatens Shell’s sale of Nigeria assets

Dollar scarcity threatens Shell’s sale of Nigeria assets

Commercial banks may not have enough dollars to fund clients seeking to acquire oil assets put on sale by the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Group CEO Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agabje has disclosed. 

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc doesn’t see the likelihood of any client raising the estimated  $2.3 billion needed to purchase the Shell assets, Agbaje said.

Such a deal would require a syndication of up to $1.8 billion, and it “can be very tough to raise this kind of funding locally at the moment,” he said.

Shell said in May it would exit its onshore oil position in Nigeria, which it no longer considers compatible with its strategic ambitions.

“When I look at the books of Nigerian banks today, I don’t see a lot of dollar liquidity,” Agbaje told an investor conference call in Lagos on Tuesday. “It’s becoming a very difficult deal for people to pull off.”

Nigerian banks, which in 2013 syndicated $3.3 billion  debt to Dangote Industries for a refinery and petrochemical plant and recently financed Heirs Holding’s $1.1 billion acquisition of OML 17, have seen their capacity to take on such deals wane considerably. A slump in crude prices and an economic downturn arising from the coronavirus pandemic curbed foreign-currency flows into Africa’s largest crude producer and pressured reserves.

Guaranty Trust, which transited to a financial holding company last month, is seeking central bank’s license to set up a payment firm to cushion challenges in its core operations, according to the CEO. It is also awaiting the approval of regulators for an acquisition that will enable it operate pension and asset management businesses, he said.

The lender’s net income dropped 16 per cent in the first half to N78.1 billion ($189.8 million) after interest earnings from loans and investment securities declined 22 per cent to N116.9 billion. “Our desire in the medium to long term is that the three new businesses will contribute about 30 per cent of group profit.”

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