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Milost move to inject $1bn investment in Unity Bank

By Peter Egwuatu

Milost Global Incorporated is planning to inject about $1 billion to recapitalize Unity Bank Plc, through a combination of   equity and debt instruments.

But the Head, Corporate Communications, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Matthew Obiazikwor, told Vanguard that many investors are having interest in the bank and various discussions are going on.

He stated:   “I cannot confirm or refute  the interest of Milost Global for now. All I can say is that there are many investors that have shown interest to invest in the bank. There are various discussions going on with the management of the bank and our regulators.

“Any investor interested will have to go through the process before the deal is consummated. So, I believe deal will be completed in the nearest future as I cannot give specific time since there are processes that have to be followed.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, yesterday reported that,  “The New York-based Milost offered to invest $700 million in equity and $300 million in five-year bonds that can be converted into shares in the Nigerian lender, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as talks are confidential. The private-equity firm will get an initial stake of about 30 percent in the Lagos-based bank in exchange for its first equity investment of $250 million, the person said.

“The transaction is still subject to a due diligence as well as regulatory approvals, the people said. The first part of the deal may be completed in the second quarter, one of the people said. The rest of the cash will be drawn down in intervals over a period of four years, provided Unity Bank has sufficient shares to issue to Milost, one of the people said.”

Unity Bank, which was formed out of the merger of nine banks between December 2005 and March 2006, said in April last year that it is in talks to sell its non-performing loans to avoid penalties after missing a deadline set by regulators on its recapitalization plans.


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