September 24, 2018 / 1:20 PM / 24 days ago

Nigeria bourse suspends trading in Skye Bank after licence revoked

LAGOS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s Stock Exchange suspended trading in the shares of Skye Bank on Monday after the central bank withdrew the lender’s operating license and created a bridge bank to take over its assets.

In the last trade recorded on Friday, shares in Skye were worth 0.77 naira - 96 percent down from their peak in 2008, when the bank was valued at 202 billion naira ($660 million).

The suspension and the central bank’s actions on Friday, marked the end of years of efforts to save Skye, once seen as one of the country’s main banks, formed through a merger of four smaller rivals in 2006.

The central bank shored it up in 2016 with a 100 billion naira capital injection after sacking its top management for failing to meet minimum capital requirements.

Last year the central bank extended its guarantees to Skye Bank for another year while considering the bank’s recapitalisation proposal.

On Friday, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said Skye’s shareholders had not managed to recapitalise it and the bank could “no longer continue to live on borrowed time with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN”.

Calls to Skye’s investor relations line were answered with a recorded message saying the phone number was switched off.

The regulator created Polaris Bank, which is owned 100 percent by Nigeria’s state-run bad bank, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. AMCON has injected capital into Polaris and is trying to find new investors to take over the bridge bank.

Skye is yet to publish 2016 accounts after it reported a 37.65 billion naira loss for 2015, its last published accounts. ($1 = 305.3000 naira) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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