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Fitch rates Oceanic Bank ‘B’ with ‘stable outlook’

By Amaka Agwuegbo

…as bank wins emea project award

Oceanic Bank PLC has been confirmed to be very stable despite the challenges of the global financial meltdown by the internationally acclaimed rating agency, Fitch Ratings, which gave Oceanic Bank ‘B’ with stable outlook rating using the long-term Issuer Default rating (IDR).

The bank’s other ratings are affirmed at short-term foreign currency IDR ‘B’, support ‘4’, National Long-term ‘BBB+.
The bank’s stability was affirmed by the Fitch ratings even as its infrastructure financing profile  received a boost in  London where the Oceanic Bank was adjudged winner of the Best Africa  project finance Deal Award, at an event organized by the highly respected Emea-finance magazine, a publication of Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, London, which also recognized Standard Bank in the same category.

Oceanic Bank’s excellent rating by Fitch was based on its risk management level, solid future growth strategy and bank’s operational procedure, said to be among the best in the industry. The ratings reviewed the balance sheet integrity, profitability, and risk management.

The analysts also evaluated qualitative factors of the institution, such as strategy and quality of management, the environment in which it operates, and the most likely future development of its business.
Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency committed to providing the world’s credit markets with independent, timely and prospective credit opinions.

Built on a foundation of organic growth and strategic acquisitions, Fitch Ratings has grown rapidly during the past decade, gaining market presence throughout the world and across all fixed income markets.
Meanwhile, the Best Africa Project Finance Deal Award by the EmeaFinance was predicated on the funding of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, a 50km long toll road, said to be the first public-private partnership toll in Africa, outside of South Africa.

The Lekki-Epe Expressway deal involves the design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) for the first public-private-partnership toll road in Nigeria.
Oceanic Bank provided several bank guarantees for the construction and abridged works on the Lekki-Epe Expressway in separate amount of N5bn ($35m) and N1.5bn ($10.2m) respectively.

The deal was closed on October 14, 2008, with the total project cost amounting to $430m, the total debt is $291m (of which $30m is standby debt) and the total equity amounts to $103m.
Emeafinance’s Project Finance Awards recognize the best deals, the best houses and the best advisory teams in project finance in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region over the past year.

While presenting the award to the Chief Executive of Oceanic Bank, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, the Publisher of Emeafinance magazine, Christopher Moore, lauded the bank’s commitment towards infrastructure financing and tasked the management to do more for the development of the country.

Accepting the award, the MD/CEO, Oceanic Bank, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, said: “Oceanic Bank has a passion for playing a vital role in Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives that are globally acclaimed as vehicles for achieving fast-paced development of various sectors of the economy.”
“The bank has been instrumental to robust infrastructure development by funding several projects geared towards growing the nation’s economy and empowering Nigerians to create wealth.”

Other categories and winners for the 2008 category awards are: Best Emerging Europe Infras-tructure Deal: M6 Phase II, Hungary (Deutsche Bank, ING); Best EMEA Power Deal: Enerjisa, Turkey (WestLB, Akbank); Best Middle East Power Deal: Ras Laffan C (RBS, SMBC, HSBC); Best Emerging Europe Project Finance Deal: Grupa Lotos (Societe Generale, Calyon, BNP Paribas).

Other are: Best Middle East Petrochemical Project Finance Deal: Saudi Kayan (Samba Financial Group, HSBC, SMBC); Best Middle East Project Finance Deal: Yemen LNG (ING, Societe Generale, Calyon, SMBC, RBS); Best EMEA Sustainability Deal: Olkaria III, Kenya (DEG Invest); Best EMEA Social Development Deal: Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (Calyon); Best EMEA Oil Deal: Total Gabon (Societe Generale, Calyon, ING) among many others


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