History was made last week as Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) listed the Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF) as the first local currency-denominated infrastructure investment trust fund on its platform.
The listing debuts as the first local currency-denominated infrastructure investment trust fund in Nigeria and Sub-saharan Africa. The Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF) is a N200 billion public infrastructure investment fund managed by Chapel Hill Denham. The Fund, backed by major institutional investors including the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), has provided long-term financing in naira for private infrastructure projects. Since inception, it has returned 155 per cent.
Speaking during the listing ceremony which held at the NGX house where market stakeholders were engaged with a “Facts Behind the Listing” presentation in Lagos, the Chairman, NDIF, Phil Southwell lauded the listing, adding that by listing on the exchange, NIDF hopes to crowd in retail investors. He noted that the fund’s investment strategy has ESG integrated into it while adding that the fund’s impressive performance emphasized its low-risk profile.
He expressed optimism that the listing was just the beginning of a promising frontier, stating that NIDF is the first of many investment trusts listed on the NGX.
According to him, “The fund launched mid-2017 and has generated 155 per cent returns. We have been fortunate enough not to have any non-performing loans (NPLs) and so it presents interesting risk returns for investors. In the UK market where I am originally from, 103 of the 350 stocks on the FTSE 350 are investment trusts and I look forward to being able to say the same thing about the NGX.”
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, NGX, Temi Popoola, stated that the capital market is increasingly becoming a vehicle for solving key governance problems, especially in the aspect of raising debt funding. He noted that the NIDF is an elegant solution that exists not only in Nigeria but in foreign markets and added that the retail investor landscape will find the listed fund attractive.
Commending Chapel Hill Denham for being consistent with immense value addition to the Exchange and a key contributor to capital market growth in the last five years, Popoola said, “One big innovation in the last three years was the MTN public offer. It included a complete end-to-end digital application process, which could not have been possible without Chapel Hill Denham. We have been trying to showcase Nigeria as an investment destination, and Chapel Hill has been a strong supporter of that system.”
For his part, Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham, Bolaji Balogun, said the listing of the fund is a great move for Nigeria’s economy.
According to him, this is the first time an infrastructure debt fund is listed on the Exchange. Balogun said, “NIDF has been existing since 2017 and it has distributed successively for 24 quarters. We have increased the diversity of the areas we invest into – transportation, power, education, telecoms, social infrastructure.”
He also stressed that the country needs to invest consistently to grow in that area of infrastructure.
The NIDF’s 853,817,692 units which were listed on the main board of NGX at N8.39 per share, will remit quarterly dividends to investors by paying out profits from investing in industries like power, transportation, healthcare and education.