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"The bond issued now in South Africa … is a significant step forward for the Bank’s local currency initiative and will hopefully boost our efforts in other domestic markets in the continent." Bank Group Treasurer, Pierre Van Peteghem, said during an interview with the Bank Group’s internal newsletter, Bank in Action, following the issuance of bonds in the South African Market.
Question: The Bank has just successfully listed its first bond in the South African capital market. What does listing entail?
Answer: In fact, the listing enables the Bank to offer its bond issues to domestic South African investors. This is based on a specific documentation framework that has now been put in place by the Bank in line with local financial regulations in South Africa . As a result, the Bank is now in a position to respond immediately to any demand from South African investors which would materialize in the future. This brings significant diversification of our investor base in a currency where the Bank is experiencing strong client demand.
Question: Can you explain what inward listing dispensation is?
Answer: I do not want to get too technical here. In general terms, we utilized the inward listing provisions originally announced by the South African Minister of Finance in his 2004 budget speech that enables foreign issuers, like ourselves, to list bonds on the Bond Exchange of South Africa . The final procedures that needed to be put in place were only finalized towards the end of last year. The bonds that we have issued are classified as ‘African debt’.
Question: By classifying this listing as African debt, does it have a specific significance?
Answer: Actually, it potentially increases the demand for our bonds in line with South African regulations, institutional investors are entitled to utilize an additional 5% over and above their normal offshore investment allowance when investing in these bonds. It also shows South Africa ’s commitment to initiatives that bring about development on the continent.
Question: How is this action different from previous bonds issued in regional currencies?
Answer: Prior to this bond issue, all bonds issued by the Bank in African currencies were offshore transactions sold to international investors. The bond issued now in South Africa is the first bond issue by the Bank in the domestic market of any African country. It is a significant step forward for the Bank’s local currency initiative and will hopefully boost our efforts in other domestic markets in the continent.
Question: Is there any likelihood of such issuance in other domestic markets in Africa ?
Answer: The Bank has been working on possibilities in a few domestic markets. As you can well imagine, the exercise is quite resource intensive both in terms of complying with local regulations and meeting the needs of local investors. In parallel, the Bank needs to identify on-lending possibilities for funds raised as carrying them on our treasury books entail costs. Treasury will continue to work in close cooperation with Operations for success on this important project.