• Specials purpose vehicle to invest in under-capitalized banks
  • Measure forms part of banking regulator’s industry reforms

Ghana will start a debt sale in February to prop up lenders as authorities seek 2 billion cedis ($403 million) in finance for banks undercapitalized banks.

The government created a special-purpose vehicle known as Ghana Amalgamated Trust, or GAT, which will use the debt sale’s proceeds to purchase shares in five lenders and help them meet a minimum capital threshold of 400 million cedis.

GAT will pay debt investors a once-off annualized rate of 21 percent when the bonds mature after five years, Managing Director Eric Otoo said in an interview in the capital, Accra. GAT will then seek to exit the holdings through buy-outs or listings on the local bourse, he said.

GAT’s formation and debt sale come in the closing stages of a sector cleanup during which lenders had to raise their capital holdings, a process which cut the number of banks by almost a third to 23.

The reforms announced in September 2017 triggered a series of capital-raising efforts while the government issued 9.8 billion cedis in bonds to cover the liabilities of poorly-managed lenders and protect depositors’ funds.

The five lenders that will receive funding from GAT didn’t meet the capital threshold but are soundly managed, said Otoo.

The beneficiaries are National Investment Bank Ltd., Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. UMB Bank Ltd., Prudential Bank Ltd. and the merged entity of BSIC Ghana and Omni Bank Ltd.

“It’s an arrangement to save the system, salvage the situation and allow the banks involved some time to pay back,” said Otoo.

A roadshow for the debt sale will start Feb. 18, Otoo said. The government will guarantee 70 percent of the sales, according to the finance ministry.

Credit: Bloomberg

( By Moses Mozart Dzawu)