Announcement - InfraCredit Guarantee Supports Lagos Free Zone Company’s (LFZC) Issuance of N10.5Billion “AAA” Rated 20-Year Senior Guaranteed Fixed Rate Series 1 Infrastructure Bonds Due 2041
Lagos, September 16, 2021 - InfraCredit, a 'AAA' rated specialised infrastructure credit guarantee institution, is pleased to announce its guarantee of Lagos Free Zone Company's ("LFZC") NGN10.5 billion 20-Year Series 1 Senior Guaranteed Fixed Rate Infrastructure Bonds Due 2041 (the "LFZC Series 1 Bond") under a NGN50 billion Debt Issuance Programme. Leveraging the irrevocable and unconditional guarantee of InfraCredit, the LFZC Series I Bond sets a new benchmark, as the first 20-year non-FGN Bond issue in the Nigerian debt capital market and the first Securities and Exchange Commission approved Corporate Infrastructure Bond for the development of an industrial hub in Nigeria.
LFZC is the infrastructure development subsidiary of the Tolaram, the Singaporean conglomerate with more than 45 years of presence in Nigeria and business interests in consumer goods, infrastructure and fintech space. Lagos Free Zone is being developed as the largest integrated port based special economic zone in Nigeria and shall serve as the beacon of industrial development across Nigeria and West Africa. Enterprises operating in the Lagos Free Zone will benefit from various policy incentives underpinned by the legislative framework applicable for free zones in the country. In line with its vision statement - "to be the preferred industrial hub in West Africa, with world-class infrastructure", Lagos Free Zone is equipped with world-class shared industrial infrastructure necessary for attracting foreign direct investments into Nigeria.
Backed by the irrevocable and unconditional guarantee of InfraCredit, LFZC Series 1 Bond is accorded 'AAA' long term credit rating by Agusto and Co. and Global Credit Rating (GCR), reflecting the highest degree of creditworthiness for the Debt Note. The LFZC Series 1 Bond, a 20-Year Guaranteed Fixed Rate Note, was oversubscribed by institutional investors including eleven domestic pension funds, two insurance firms, banks and HNIs. The LFZC Series 1 Bond is priced at a modest premium to the comparable FGN Sovereign Bond, providing a unique opportunity for pension fund managers, life insurance firms and other institutional investors to match their long-term liabilities with low-risk, high yield assets.
Speaking on the transaction, the Chief Finance Officer ('CFO') of LFZC, Mr. Ashish Khemka stated: "This is a milestone transaction for us at Lagos Free Zone Company and it is a testament to the capacity of the Nigerian debt market as a veritable source of domestic capital for infrastructural development in Nigeria. The response to this bond program further strengthens our commitment to realize our vision and thereby enhance Nigeria's competitive positioning with our continuous focus on Ease of Doing Business parameters. LFZ further underscores Nigeria as a compelling industrial hub within the West African coast and ideally orients itself in anticipation of the imminent single market regime under AfCFTA. We are particularly excited by the confidence demonstrated by pension fund managers and other institutional investors at this debut issue and we appreciate the team at InfraCredit, StanbicIBTC Capital and other parties to the transaction for this novel structure, which helps to de-risk the transaction and aligns the interest of different stakeholders".
According to the CEO of InfraCredit, Chinua Azubike, "It has been exciting working with Lagos Free Zone Company on this landmark transaction. It further demonstrates our commitment towards inclusive access to long term local currency finance for infrastructure development. Interestingly, LFZC has set a new benchmark in the Nigerian domestic debt capital market, as the first 20-Year Corporate Infrastructure Bond in Nigeria, elongating the corporate bond yield curve and reinforcing the prospect for Nigerian Corporates to raise long term finance within the local market. The LFZC Bond validates the appetite of domestic pension funds and other institutional investors in financing viable long term infrastructure assets. We would continue to partner with all relevant stakeholders in executing novel strategies towards unlocking domestic capital for infrastructure finance, in addition to creating quality asset classes for diversifying investment portfolios of local institutional investors".
"We believe LFZC's operation is central to attracting local and foreign direct investment relevant for Nigeria's industrialization, job creation and inclusive growth, its successful operation is an enabler for creating the relevant ecosystem for diversifying the Nigerian economy and achieving sustainable growth."