First Bank Holdings to raise ₦300bn capital amid CBN’s banking reforms

First Bank Holdings will raise additional capital of ₦300 billion ($231 million) at a shareholders meeting scheduled later this month, as banks scramble to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria’s plans for a recapitalisation drive. 

According to a statement by First Bank Holdings on Monday, the capital raise can be issued via a public offering, private placement or rights issue in the Nigerian or international capital markets or a combination of the listed methods. 

The move to shore up additional capital can be attributed to a directive by the banking regulator to all banks— commercial, merchant and non-interest banks—to increase their minimum capital requirements within 24 months, to enhance the stability of the financial system. 

Commercial banks with international spread will increase their capital by as much ₦500 billion to be licensed to operate in the country. While national and regional banks will raise ₦200 billion and ₦50 billion respectively. 

Many banks have recently had to consider raising additional capital to meet the CBN requirements, especially with a deadline at the end of April 2024 looming on their backs. Access Holdings, the parent company of Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets, previously planned to raise as much as ₦365 billion ($257 million) by selling shares to existing investors. Investors believe their capital raise is in response to this directed by the apex bank.

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