The FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange on Monday achieved another feat with the listing of Chapel Hill Denham Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF) on its platform.
The Fund was the pioneer infrastructure fund in the country, aimed at tackling the country’s infrastructure challenges.
Speaking at the listing in Lagos, Mr Bolaji Balogun, Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham Group, said the fund would enhance efforts at tackling the country’s infrastructure deficit.
Balogun stated that the Fund was the first and only domestic currency listed infrastructure debt fund across Africa and its environs.
“The listing of NDIF will not take more than 45 months for us to begin to transform the way of Nigerian basic infrastructure and social infrastructure struggle is financed,’’ he said.
The CEO added that Chapel Hill infrastructure now on the FMDQ platform was a small but a giant leap forward to Nigerian infrastructure financing and investing through the debt capital market.
He also said the focus of the Fund was on mobilising domestic savings, particularly pension funds, life insurance, money from large corporates for investing in economic critical and financially viable infrastructure assets.
Balogun, who is also the NDIF’s Chief Investment Officer, said that 80 per cent of the fund had already been invested.
He said it would make loans in naira and returns of up to 10 to 15 years, adding that it had written its first two loans.
Balogun explained that the Fund, in its Initial Public Offer, had issued 49.45 million units, out of the programme for two billion registered.
He noted that the company planned to issue more units to grow and diversify the fund with the listing on FMDQ.
“This is not a one off but a start of a vehicle that would become very large and liquid,’’ he stated.
He also said that the company viewed the NIDF as a potential catalyst for attracting other investors into the country and to unlock significant private sector participation in financing infrastructure development.
“The fund is unique because of low risk, low volatility and infrastructure funds and debts are good for pension investment,’’ Balogun said.
He remarked that infrastructure needed to be financed largely in local currency, following the volatility in the international market.
Balogun noted that the company had met all regulatory requirements and committed that the fund would pay a dividend every quarter, throughout its life span.
He said that the fund had received 14 commitments from pension funds, closed pension funds and one insurance company.
Mrs Uju Irukwu, Managing Director, Chapel Hill Denham Management Ltd, said the Fund had shown that a debt fund could be financed locally.
Irukwu said that it had a social and economic impact and urged more investors to join the train.
According to her, the company will be back in the market to raise the second tranche very soon.
Mr Bola Onadele, FMDQ Managing Director, described the event as a special occasion for the company and in the history of the country.
Onadele commended Chapel Hill for the foresight, noting that the company looked at the country’s challenge and decided to proffer solutions to it.
He said that the listing would create investment diversify and enhance liquidity in the debt capital market, which would improve other avenues for investors.
He said that FMDQ was committed to the development of the debt capital market and urged other investors to embrace the fund.
Onadele assured the pension industry of the Fund’s safety, noting that FMDQ would uphold the required governance.
He called on the Federal Government to unlock the potentials of the Nigerian economy by facilitating private sector funding for infrastructure.
Onadele also encouraged government reforms and regulations to position key sectors to be commercially viable to galvanise huge capital for infrastructure.
He said that the OTC Exchange was working, in conjunction with other key stakeholders, to facilitate the development of a sustainable financial strategy for the country.