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VENTURES AFRICA – Ecobank Capital, the investment arm of pan-African banking group Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, in partnership with other financial lenders has raised a $500 million fund on behalf of Orion Oil Limited for the pre-payment of crude oil cargoes to be supplied by Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (The National Oil Company of the Republic of Congo, “SNPC”).
The new facility comprises $342 million tranche and a XAF-denominated $158 million tranche.
The deal, which is the largest loan syndication completed to date in Central Africa (solely funded by regional African banks and for an indigenous company), had Ecobank serve as the Mandated Lead Arranger, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) as co-arranging bank and Afreximbank, BGFIBank Group, and Banque Atlantique Group as participating lenders.
It also showcased the increasing interest of regional banks in financing capital intensive oil and gas deals in sub-Saharan Africa.
The transaction will help Orion, a privately held company, whose principal activities include the physical trading of crude oil and refined products, expand its business footprints.
Orion had entered into a 24-month crude oil allocation programme with SNPC, the largest oil and gas company in Central Africa. The proceeds of the debt facility will be used to fund the pre-payment of the aforementioned crude oil cargos, amounting to circa $100 million per cargo, on a free on board basis.
Speaking on the transaction, Acting Managing Director of Ecobank Capital, Ikenna Onyejiaka said the “landmark transaction” underscores Ecobank Capital’s capabilities as a lead arranger of syndicated loans, working with Africa’s key financial institutions to provide vital support to Congo’s economic growth.”
“[The] transaction is undeniably strategic and represents what we are about…Our expectations are that we would continue this strategic alliance/partnership with Orion in a manner that is mutually beneficial to both institutions,” Executive Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Ms. Foluke Aboderin added.
However, the Managing Director of UBA Cameroon, Georges Wega said his bank’s participation in the landmark deal underscores our UBA’s passion to support African businesses and development the continent’s economies. While Mrs. Patricia Danielle Manon, Managing Director of BGFIBank Gabon, opines that the deal reaffirms BGFI’s “willingness to support the development of companies operating in strategic sectors, bringing additional growth to African economies.”
“The transaction is a reflection of Afreximbank’s commitment to promoting trade and supporting local entrepreneurs,” President of Afreximbank, Jean-Louis Ekra, concluded.