BY: CHARLES ABUEDE
Agusto & Co., Nigeria’s leading rating firm, has affirmed the ‘Aa-’ rating allocated to the N15 billion 5-year fixed rate Senior Unsecured Green Bond of Access Bank Plc with a stable outlook, the company disclosed in a rating release made available to Business A.M, in which it added that the rating expires on 31 December 2022.
Agusto & Co. in the rating release noted thus: “The assigned rating mirrors Access Bank’s stand-alone rating of ‘Aa-’ issued by Agusto & Co., as the bond ranks parri passu with other senior unsecured obligations of the bank.
“Access Bank Plc’s “Aa-” rating reflects the bank’s status as Nigeria’s largest bank by total assets, which has supported the issuer’s strong refinancing capacity across local and international debt capital markets.
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“The bank also has a stable and experienced management team, adequate capitalisation, satisfactory asset quality metrics and a good liquidity profile,” the rating agency added.
However, Agusto believes that the rating is constrained by the slowly recovering economy and the adverse effects of inflation on operating costs. In addition, regulatory changes in the banking industry restrain the issuer’s profitability metrics.
The Green Bond Framework (GBF) is consistent with the global Green Bond Principles of the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) and the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). In addition, only projects in sectors that are deemed eligible by the GBF were funded by the proceeds of the green bonds during the review period.