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22.10.2008 Business & Finance

Intercontinental Bank Receives A+ Rating

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Intercontinental Bank Plc's national long-term ratings at A+, classifying the bank as a low risk financial institution.

The agency also affirmed the bank's international rating at B+, the highest any Nigerian bank has scored on Fitch Ratings.

The bank is the parent company of Intercontinental Bank Ghana Ltd.

Fitch stated in a release issued in Johannesburg, South Africa, that “the ratings reflect Intercontinental Bank's growing domestic franchise, strong growth in earnings and adequate capitalisation.''

Fitch is one of the three leading international credit risk rating agencies. The other two are Standard and Poor's (S & P) and Moody's.

About the same time, S & P has also affirmed the bank's international rating as Double B Minus (BB-), which is the highest for any Nigerian bank, citing its strong market position, robust funding and liquidity as well as good capitalisation. Nigeria's sovereign rating is also capped at BB-.

Standard and Poor's also classified the bank as a Tier One Nigerian bank with a good presence in the high end corporate, commercial, public and retail sectors.

“With total assets of $11.89 billion as of February, 2008, Intercontinental Bank is a solid Tier One bank operating in the competitive, but quickly growing, Nigerian banking sector.”

The bank is said to be the first Nigerian bank to reach the $11 billion (1 trillion niara) deposit mark, leveraging on its strong retail deposit portfolio.

The rating agency was impressed about the ownership structure of the Nigerian Stock Exchange quoted bank, which is diverse with over 474,000 shareholders, with none holding over five per cent of the total share capital.

The bank's subsidiary in Ghana is also making remarkable strides, having developed a range of products and customer focused services.

Already, six new branches have been added to the initial five, bringing the total network to 11 in Accra and some selected regions of Ghana.

The bank's officials in Ghana said plans were far advanced to expand its branch network to about 20 by the close of the year.