(Adds link to Reuters TV interview)
By Carolyn Cohn
LONDON, July 14 Standard & Poor's expects to
rate a number of Nigerian banks this year and is talking to some
Kenyan banks and companies about future credit ratings, its
managing director for sub-Saharan Africa said on Monday.
Borrowers across the continent are looking to tap
international capital markets following successful bond sales by
A long-awaited rating for Tanzania is not likely to be
assigned any time soon, however, S&P's Konrad Reuss told a news
briefing in London.
"More Nigerian bank ratings will be coming out later this
year ... we are working on a number of corporates in the
region," Reuss said.
Borrowers in frontier markets such as Africa have turned to
capital markets as aid funding dries up and monetary easing
across the western world keeps interest rates low.
A flood of new issues from sub-Saharan Africa in the past
couple of years includes a recent debut dollar bond from
Nigerian bank Diamond Bank. First Bank of Nigeria
is holding a bond roadshow this week, according to
Thomson Reuters service IFR.
These bonds follow Nigeria's sale of sovereign dollar debt,
which analysts say helped to familiarise investors with the West
Kenya issued a well-received $2 billion dollar bond last
month, its first in international markets.
"We are reaching out to Kenya," Reuss said, referring to
plans to discuss ratings with local banks and corporates in the
East African country. "On the back of a very successful
sovereign bond, a benchmark has been set."
Tanzania, which has also said it plans to launch a debut
Eurobond, has not yet gained a rating.
"Time and time again, the government has made announcements,
time and time again those plans were delayed," Reuss said,
adding that any ratings timescale was difficult to predict
"because of the many delays that we have seen so far".
S&P officials said they were watching security issues in
both Nigeria and Kenya.
S&P changed the outlook on Nigeria's BB- rating to negative
in March, before the abduction in April of more than 200
schoolgirls by militant group Boko Haram.
"(Boko Haram) was part of what we considered when we put
Nigeria on negative outlook," said Ravi Bhatia, director in
sovereign ratings at S&P.
"It's gotten slightly worse, it's a concern - it's not at
this point destabilising the Nigerian state."
(For Reuters TV interview with Bhatia, see reut.rs/1mByHIP)
S&P rates Kenya, where gunmen have killed about 100 people
since mid-June in coastal raids, at B+ with stable outlook.
The killings were not having a more widespread impact on the
Kenyan economy so far, S&P said.
(Additional reporting by Angeline Ong; Editing by Catherine