Fidelity Bank Takes Over 9mobile Loan

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In line with a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) request, Fidelity Bank has taken a five per cent impairment charge on a N17.3 billion ($55 million) loan to Etisalat Nigeria, now called 9mobile, Fidelity Chief Executive Nnamdi Okonkwo said yesterday.

Etisalat Nigeria took out a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from a group of 13 local banks four years ago but has defaulted on repayments this year due to a currency crisis and recession in Nigeria.

Okonkwo said Fidelity Bank was also raising provisions across its loan book. “We are revising (the non-performing loan ratio) from sub-five per cent to sub-six per cent by end of the year, due to currency conversion and some risk on the oil and gas book,” he told an analysts call held to discuss its nine-month results.

Net loans stood at N753.8 billion as of September, up 4.9 per cent from a year earlier. The bank was targeting 7.5 per cent loan growth this year, Okonkwo said.

Fidelity Bank on Monday posted a pretax profit of N16.24 billion for the nine months through September, up from N9.83 billion a year ago.

The Senate on Tuesday voted in favour of launching an investigation into the default of Etisalat Nigeria and into how its funds were used.

Okonkwo also said the bank had submitted details of personal and business accounts that lacked complete identification to the CBN following a court order. He declined to say how many accounts were involved.