Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Nigeria's International Bond Issue Easily Raises $1-billion

By Tosin Sulaiman, Johannesburg
Reuters, Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Nigeria comfortably raised $1-billion (U.S.) in its return to the eurobond market on Tuesday, taking advantage of a window of relative calm in the markets to issue both long and shorter-dated bonds.
The issue was four times oversubscribed, with just over $4-billion in bids, a source told Reuters – underscoring still-buoyant investor appetite for scarce frontier African paper despite a recent selloff in emerging market assets.
Africa’s top oil producer issued a $500-million five-year bond at a yield of 5.375 per cent and a $500-million 10-year bond with a yield of 6.625 per cent, according to IFR, a Thomson Reuters news and analysis service.
The five-year paper received bids of $1.77-billion and the 10-year of $2.26-billion, the source said.
By comparison, Nigeria’s debut $500-million 10-year eurobond, which it issued in 2011, received bids worth two and a half times the amount on offer.
The yield on the new 10-year bond is less than the 7 per cent the West African country paid in 2011, but still higher than what it could have paid if it had issued just a few months ago, analysts said.
The 2021 bond was trading at a yield of 5.92 per cent on Tuesday but was as low as 3.66 per cent at the start of the year.
A rise in U.S. Treasury yields since late April and comments by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke about tapering its bond-buying program have pushed up yields on African eurobonds by up to 300 basis points in some cases.
Most eurobonds rallied this week. Nigeria decided to take advantage of the improved conditions ahead of the release of U.S. non-farm payrolls on Friday, said Nicholas Samara, vice president in capital markets origination at Citi, one of the lead managers along with Deutsche Bank.
Strong non-farm payrolls could heighten fears of an end to the Fed’s quantitative easing.
Wednesday was also a no-go, he added, as it will be a busy trading day ahead of the July 4 holiday in the U.S.
“It’s an opportunistic trade today that Nigeria, alongside other issuers, have done,” Samara said. “Today was an open window. Come Friday, if you have strong non-farm payrolls the next opportunity possibly could be September.”
Nigeria’s domestic debt was about 18 per cent of GDP in 2012 and external debt was 2.5 per cent of GDP, lower than its peers.
Inflation is in single digits and investors are optimistic about power sector reforms, seen as key to unlocking further growth potential in the Nigerian economy.
Samir Gadio, emerging markets strategist at Standard Bank, said the rally in emerging market eurobonds in the past few days could have enough momentum to see yields fall further on secondary markets in the short run.
“That said, the government will still have to pay a higher external funding cost than what it could have secured a couple of months ago,” he said.
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