* Raising capital to meet regulatory requirements
* First Bank, UBA and Skye seen following suit
By Chijioke Ohuocha
LAGOS, Sept 4 Nigeria's Access Bank
has been meeting with domestic investors over the past week to
gauge interest in a possible rights issue of 60-70 billion naira
($369-$431 million) by the fourth quarter, a fund manager and a
banking source with knowledge of the roadshow, said on Thursday.
The lender, which raised a $400 million in Eurobond in June,
wants to bolster its core capital, the fund manager who attended
the meetings in Lagos told Reuters, declining to be named.
Access Bank was also discussing with investors in Abuja.
An official from Access Bank declined to comment.
Banks in Africa's biggest economy have been boosting their
capital levels in recent months, as the industry this year
adopts new international capital requirements.
Chief Executive Herbert Wigwe told an analysts' conference
call last week while presenting the bank's half-year results
that he anticipated banks would need to raise more capital as a
result of the new regulations.
A source at Access Bank said the bank was meeting with
stakeholders and would determine the amount of the fundraising
after the meetings.
Adesoji Solanke, banking analyst at Renaissance Capital,
expects First Bank, which recently raised a Eurobond,
to follow with plans for extra capital as well as United Bank
for Africa (UBA) and Skye Bank.
He said most lenders had seen capital levels drop by 100-400
basis points to near the regulatory minimum of 16 percent under
the stricter international requirements, adding some would have
to lower dividends and loan growth this year to conserve cash.
Rival lender Diamond Bank, which has just
concluded a 50.3 billion naira rights issue, issued a $200
million in Eurobond in May. Stanbic IBTC Bank has also
announced plans to raise 30 billion naira.
(1 US dollar = 162.41 naira)
(Additional reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Tim Cocks
and Mark Potter)