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Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ecobank Nigeria Limited’s (ENG) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B-‘ with a Stable Outlook. Fitch has simultaneously upgraded the bank’s National Short-Term Rating to ‘F2(nga)’ from ‘F3(nga)’.  According to Fitch, the IDRs of Ecobank Nigeria are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b-‘, stating that the bank has a moderate market shares of Nigeria’s banking-sector assets but its franchise benefits from being a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, a large pan-African banking group with operations spanning 33 countries across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The rating agency reported that Ecobank’s loans have declined in recent years, stressing that it does not see a high risk of the largest Stage 2 loans, which are concentrated within the oil and gas sector, of becoming impaired. It noted that its asset-quality assessment is positively influenced by a substantial amount of non-loan assets, largely comprising government securities and cash reserves at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Fitch expects profitability to improve moderately with receding asset-quality pressures and lower LICs.

Fitch observed that “ENG’s total capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 19.6% at end the first quarter of 2021 maintains a comfortable buffer above the 10% regulatory requirement for a bank with a national licence and the bank’s tangible leverage ratio of 10.7% at the end of first quarter of 2021 which compares favourably with that of peers. Impaired loans net of specific loan loss allowances represented a significant 46% of Fitch Core Capital at end of first quarter of last year but risks to capital are mitigated by strong collateral coverage and recovery expectations of the two large upstream impaired loans.” “ENG’s low gross loans/customer deposits ratio of 67% at the end of 2021 largely reflects a small loan book. Large cash reserves at the CBN, net interbank placements and unpledged central-government securities represented 33% of total assets and 50% of customer deposits at end the first quarter of 2021 providing healthy liquidity coverage. Our funding and liquidity assessment also considers the benefits of ordinary liquidity support from ETI.” The report stated.

Fitch’s view of support for Ecobank Nigeria considered the high propensity of ETI to provide support, given the former’s importance to the parent’s pan-African strategy as its largest subsidiary and it is operating in sub–Saharan Africa’s largest economy. It also considers the material reputational damage to ETI that would accompany ENG’s default, the 100% ownership, a high degree of management and operational integration and a record of capital support.

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Business

Fidelity Bank Wins Best SME Bank Nigeria at Global Banking & Finance Awards 2022

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Fidelity Bank Plc, has been announced as the 2022 Best SME Bank in Nigeria by the Global Banking & Finance Review at its Annual Global Banking & Finance Awards which held in London, UK recently.

 

Global Banking & Finance Review is the leading online, digital, and print magazine for the banking and financial sector. The website receives over 7 million page views each year thanks to its balanced views and informative, independent news centered on the financial sector. The Global Banking & Finance Awards was created to recognize companies of all sizes that are prominent areas of expertise and excellence within the global financial community.

 

“Global Banking and Finance Review is privileged to honor those financial institutions that have achieved outstanding results and who stand out in their particular area of expertise in the banking and finance industry. Global Banking & Finance Review would like to congratulate the award winners and look forward to their continued success.

 

“The awards were created to recognize companies of all sizes that are prominent in particular areas of expertise and excellence within the financial community. They reflect the involvement of leading financial organizations and recognize the accomplishment, achievement, innovation, strategy, and progressive and motivating changes taking place within the financial sector”, reads a statement on the Global Banking and Finance Awards website.

 

Commenting on the award, MD/CEO Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe said, “We are grateful for this recognition and dedicate the award to our customers who rely on us to provide the right support for scaling their business. Receiving this award at the beginning of the year, provides us with increased motivation to do more in helping our clients achieve their strategic business goals.”

 

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 7.2 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best Private Bank in Nigeria and Best Private Bank Digital Solutions for Clients in Africa in the Global Finance’s World’s Best Private Banks 2023 Awards; as well as the Best Commercial Banking Brand in Nigeria by the Global Brands Magazine Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Buhari Will Commission Dangote Refinery Before May 29 -Dangote Group

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The attention of Dangote group has been drawn to some misleading reports regarding the commissioning of its Dangote Refinery during the present working visit of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to Lagos State.

 

In a terse statement signed by the Group Chief, Branding & Communications Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr Anthony Chiejina, the Group averred that “We want to state categorically that our 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Refinery project was never part of the President’s programme on projects to be commissioned.

 

“For the record, the projects slated for commissioning in Lagos State by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR include: Lekki Deep Sea Port; 32-Metric Tonnes Lagos Rice Mill, Imota; 18.75km Eleko to Epe T Junction Express road; John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, Onikan, Blue Line Rail (Phase 1) commissioning (Marina to Mile 2); Groundbreaking for the Blue Line Rail Phase 2 (Mile 2 to Okokomaiko), and MRS Lubricant, a private project in Apapa.

 

However, our Refinery will be commissioned before President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR formally leaves office in May, 2023, and the public will be duly informed and invited to the epic event.”

Before this statement today, Business Hilights recalls that there had been a fake news in an unverified twitter handle saying President Buhari will among other things commission the refinery which the company debunked and described as fake.

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