NNPC Seeks $1.5b Loan From Foreign Banks

Austin Oniwon, NNPC GMD Austin Oniwon, NNPC GMD

Oct 6, 2011- The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is looking to secure a $1.5 billion, five-year amortising restructuring syndicated loan from international lenders, bankers close to the deal told Reuters on Thursday.
The deal would mark NNPC’s first internationally syndicated loan, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
BNP Paribas, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered have submitted their bids to arrange the loan but mandates have not yet been awarded and NNPC is expected to make a decision imminently, one European banker said.
“We are always looking at alternative funding sources, where we suffer shortfalls because of competing demands. This is a large country with a lot of needs,” Reuters quoted Levi Ajuonuma, NNPC spokesman, Levi Ajuonuma, as saying on the matter.
“We have a lot of talks with highly regarded international banks who are looking to be involved in our deep offshore and other projects,” Ajuonuma added.
European banks’ rising dollar funding and liquidity concerns are not expected to hamper the likelihood of NNPC securing the $1.5 billion loan, as African deals are “priced so attractively that they tend to compensate for European banks rising costs,” the European banker added.
In July last year, NNPC denied claims of insolvency, but acknowledged that unpaid government subsidies were putting it under financial strain, adding the company could plan a major financing in January 2011.
More recently, Nigeria’s national assembly ordered NNPC to start repaying N450 billion ($2.8 billion) in debts it owes the federal government. (The Nation)