Templars has acted as lead Nigerian legal counsel to Seplat Petroleum Development Company plc (Seplat) in connection with its issuance of $350 million 9.25% senior unsecured high yield bonds due 2023.

Seplat is a leading indigenous Nigerian upstream oil and gas company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The transaction is the first high yield issuance by a Nigerian corporate in the oil and gas market. The bonds which are guaranteed by Seplat East Swamp Limited, Newton Energy Limited and Seplat West Limited, all subsidiaries of Seplat, are listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange and admitted to trading on the Euro MTF Market. The proceeds of the bond issuance, together with drawings to be made by the company under a recently amended $300 million revolving credit facility will be used to repay and cancel existing indebtedness of the company.

Citigroup, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered acted as joint global coordinators, while Citigroup, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered, Natixis, Nomura International, Nedbank Limited and Rand Merchant Bank were initial purchasers.

The Templars team on the transaction was led by partner, Chike Obianwu, who was assisted by associates – Egbiri Egbiri, Nneoma Mbelede, Anita Omonuwa and Bernard Ehigiamusor.

We are thrilled to have assisted Seplat on its debut bond issuance – the first non-financial institution corporate bond from Africa this year and indeed the first in the Nigerian oil and gas market. We are particularly pleased that our role on this transaction follows in a long line of other recent Nigeria-related high yield or Eurobond issuances on which we have acted as Issuer’s counsel”.

Chike Obianwu, Partner at Templars

emplars has over the years established a reputation as the leading Nigerian law adviser for issuers of high yield bonds, having acted for such issuers as Afren plc (on multiple offerings of senior secured bonds in excess of US$1 billion), IHS Towers (on its 2016 US$800 million bond offering, which was the largest ever high-yield Eurobond offering by an African-based issuer), and Helios Towers Nigeria (now known as IHS Towers Netherlands, on its US$250m debut bond issuance in 2014).

Templars also advised UBA plc and Fidelity Bank plc on two of the three Eurobond issuances undertaken by Nigerian banks in 2017.

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