Monday, 3 September 2007

Intercontinental Bank Gets Highest Global Rating in Nigeria

Fitch Assigns the Bank A+ National & B+ Global Ratings

Intercontinental Bank Plc continues to receive accolades on its stellar performance and increasing domestic franchise from global rating agencies. Only last week, FitchRating, the globally acclaimed rating agency, upgraded the bank’s National Long-term rating to ‘A+’ from ‘A’ while affirming its National Short-term rating at ‘F1’. Fitch equally assigned the bank, a Long-term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating, (IDR) ‘B+’ with a stable outlook, Short-term Foreign Currency, IDR ‘B’, Individual ’D’ and Support ‘4’ as well as a Support Rating Floor of ‘B+’.

The Fitch rating is in particular reference to the bank’s consistently outstanding performance in earnings, growth and capitalisation. The ratings, according to the internationally reputed rating agency, reflects the bank’s developing domestic franchise, consistent levels of earnings growth and above average levels of capitalisation.

The global rating, which is an acclaim of global confidence in the bank, is the best that any Nigerian bank has been assigned by Fitch. It is a vote of confidence in both the domestic and international investment potentials of the bank and engendering strong growth in patronage from both the private and public sector of the local and international economy. The rating, according to analysts, is the affirmation of the bank’s leading position in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

Only recently, in what is best described as extraordinary performance, The Banker magazine, a subsidiary of the Financial Times of London, in its 2007 edition of its TOP 1000 WORLD BANKS publication ranked Intercontinental, the biggest bank in Nigeria, fifth biggest in Africa and the 355th biggest bank in the world by first tier capital. This makes Intercontinental bank the first Nigerian bank to be rated among the world’s elite top 500 banks.

The Banker Magazine also ranked the bank as the second fastest growing bank in the world. It described Intercontinental Bank’s outstanding growth as symbolic of the massive impact of Nigeria’s banking reform. It noted that: “Nigeria’s Intercontinental bank reflects the huge consolidation and regulatory change that has taken place in Nigerian banking in the past two years,” adding that the bank rose by a record 522 places to be ranked at 355, with capital ballooning to $1277 million at the end of February 2007.”

The Fitch rating acknowledged the risks relating to the bank’s difficult operating environment and commended the bank for the exceptional performance in its profit after tax which increased by 104 per cent to N15.5 billion for the financial year ended February 2007.Fitch noted that: “Intercontinental net after-tax earnings increased by 104 % to NGN15.5bn during FY07 on the back of strong growth that led to improvement in both net interest and non-interest income,” Fitch noted.

The international rating agency further expressed satisfaction with the bank’s Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio and the boosting of capitalisation by significant capital raising activities, which has positioned the bank as a strong and reliable financial institution within the Nigerian and international markets.

Intercontinental is one of the largest banks in Nigeria by system assets and capitalisation. The bank boasts of one of the highest returns on investment in the industry in the last 15 years. It has consistently paid dividend to its shareholders and issued bonus shares six times within the same period. In addition, shareholders of the bank have continued to enjoy huge capital gain on the bank shares. Between 2004 and 2006 the shares recorded capital gain of over 165 per cent.
Intercontinental Bank has consistently led the banking industry with managerial and financial accomplishments. The bank enjoys massive market support due to its avowed passion for excellent customer service delivery as encapsulated in the bank’s tagline: Happy Customer Happy Bank.

Sourced from ThisDay newspaper, 3rd September 2007

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