Cleary, W&C lead Nigeria’s sovereign bond issuance

US firms Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and White & Case have claimed the mandates on Nigeria’s debut international sovereign bond issue.

London capital markets partner Stuart Matty led the White & Case team acting for the Nigerian government on the $500m (£313.12m) 10-year bond issue, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange last week (31 January).

European capital markets co-head Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes also featured for the US firm.

Nigerian firm Banwo & Ighodalo advised on local law, with partner Asue ­Ighodalo leading.

Cleary acted for joint lead managers Citibank and Deutsche Bank, with London-based capital markets partner Simon Ovenden taking the lead role.

Matty said: “This is a ­landmark transaction for Nigeria and for Africa more widely. Nigeria’s very much on investors’ radars as one of the so-called new Bric [Brazil, Russia, India and China] countries, and this successful transaction establishes an important sovereign benchmark for Nigeria.

“We’ve been active in the capital markets in Nigeria since 2006 and we expect this transaction to act as a catalyst for future growth in the Nigerian international capital markets.”

The bond, which offers an annual rate of 6.75 per cent, was said to be 2.5 times oversubscribed. It has attracted investors from 18 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the US.

The successful issue came despite the bond garnering lukewarm ratings from the agencies. Standard & Poor’s rated the bond as ’B+’, while Fitch Ratings assigned it a ’BB-’ rating.