• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Nimble boutiques take on established names as eczellon capital signals ambition


The rise of nimble investment banks, unencumbered by memories of the 2009 crash of Nigeria’s capital markets, is a sign of the growing sophistication of Nigeria’s financial services industry, as well as a signal of their ambition to take on established names.

“We are looking to leverage on opportunities in the market. There were some investment banks that raised a lot funds from the capital markets but got burnt in the process,” said Diekola Onaolapo, Managing Director and CEO of Eczellon capital, in a March 20 chat with BusinessDay in the firms, Lagos Headquarters.

“The private sector has to lead the charge for development, especially investment banks.”

Eczellon Capital was incorporated in Nigeria in September 2011 to carry on the business of consulting, investment banking and financial advisory services.

The bank which got its issuing house business license in 2013 is working with a couple of “fairly sized” companies to access corporate bonds, according to Onaolapo.

Some signature deals already done by eczellon capital include acting as Transaction Advisors, with mandate to coordinate the bid process for the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), divestment of its majority stake in its ten (10) subsidiary power generation companies under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).

Eczellon Capital was engaged in 2011 as financial advisors by an indigenous oil & gas services company, which desired to harness opportunities in the market.

The company was also engaged as Financial Advisors to a leading telecommunications company in Nigeria, which was expanding its data services and is one of the three licensed operators of the 2.3 GHz, 4 G LTE spectrum with national coverage.

The investment banks main businesses are business advisory, financial advisory and project advisory, while the firm maintains a proprietary investment portfolio and may also invest equity capital depending on the business opportunity.

“We are focused on fast growing businesses aiming to get to the next level,” Onaolapo said.

“Everything with us is growing organically; we have 5 year, 10 year and 20 year goals. Investment Bankers have a big role to play in deepening the economy by assisting businesses, governments and even individuals create innovative ideas and implementing them.”

Nigeria’s financial regulators have dismantled the one size fits all banking model, which existed before the home grown banking crises. Banks are now to operate with different capital requirements as either international, local or regional banks, while two merchant banks have also been licensed.

A number of boutique investment banks have also been licensed.