Nigerian top tier lender, Diamond Bank, has announced that its $310 million rights issue recorded a 100 percent subscription, in what industry analysts say is a good news for the bank.

In July the bank issued N8.685 billion shares of 50 kobo per share, which with its full subscription raises the company’s share base to N23.160 billion.

“Overall, we believe this should be viewed as positive news for Diamond in an environment where macro concerns continue to dominate and capital regulations for the Nigerian banks have tightened significantly,” said Adesoji Solanke, a banking analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Solanke says the successful rights issue also clears the capital overhang that has surrounded Diamond Bank for the past 24 months. Diamond Bank had reported a nine month 2014 Basel 1 capital adequacy ratio of 16.9 percent which drops to 13.5 percent under Basel 2/3.

There are also indications that Diamond Bank would increase its focus on retail and small and medium enterprises; analysts say this is the new CEO’s area of expertise. Uzoma Dozie officially assumed the position of Diamond Bank’s Chief Executive on November 1 following the resignation of former boss Alex Otti.

But according to Solanke,  the focus on retail and SME also puts a lead on the optimism for the bank’s growth.  “We have lowered our credit growth forecast to 15 per cent from 20 per cent over the next two years, and cut our profit before tax forecasts by 5-13 per cent,” he said.  “Management is optimistic on recoveries, but given the potentially higher focus on retail/SME banking and Nigeria’s weakening macro outlook, we have maintained our cost-of-risk estimates at three per cent over the medium term.”

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