By Princewill Ekwujuru & Jonah Nwokpoku
First City Monument Bank, FCMB Ltd and Acugas Ltd have entered into a financing agreement that will see the bank and four others lend $445 million, (about N87.7billion) to Acugas to develop gas infrastructure in Nigeria.
Other lenders involved in the deal include FirstBank of Nigeria Plc, United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, FBN Capital, FCMB Capital Market and Ecobank.
Speaking to journalists at the signing ceremony in Lagos on the significance of the deal to the bank, FCMB’s Executive Director, Tolu Shonibu said the deal provided the bank the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the development of the energy sector in Nigeria.
He said: “It’s not so much about the importance (of the deal) to FCMB. It is about the client, Acugas that is actively making ongoing contributions to the development of Nigerian energy space. The investment they are making in gas infrastructure is critical to the country’s energy development.
It has been said more often that one of the challenges we face is gas infrastructure and that is what Acugas is doing and for us at FCMB group, this is a very exciting opportunity for us to be able to support a company that actually focuses on Nigeria’s infrastructure development to boost energy.”
He added, “FCMB’s contribution was significant in two ways. One, as a lender, we are one of the largest lenders in the facility. But FCMB Capital Market was also one of the two financial advisers who structured the entire deal.
So, from advising and helping to put it together, and bringing other lenders to the table, FCMB Capital Market played a significant role. FCMB the bank was also a lender in it. So across our organisation, we basically leveraged the entire platform to support the client.
“In addition the FCMB Capital Market was also the technical bank and in that regard we worked with the technical advisers to make sure that all the technical and operational risks were properly allocated because without these, we would not have reached bankability and financial close.
So I think those key roles that across FCMB that we played signify how important we see Acugas and its parent company, Seven Energy and the role we have continued to play with the client because today is just the first step. The work is still ongoing and in our role as a technical partner, we have a significant role to play towards the project’s completion.”