New York firm halts $1 billion funding for Nigerian bank

Unity Bank
Unity Bank [Photo: The Guardian Nigeria]

Talks by private-equity firm, Milost Global Incorporated, to provide a recapitalisation fund of $1 billion to Unity Bank Plc have been stopped due to ”threats of elimination”, an official said on Tuesday.

Bloomberg reports that Milost claimed to have received threatening emails from a man who said he is ”politically connected to powers” that could shut the firm out of Nigeria if the Unity Bank transaction was not terminated.

Initially, the firm agreed to provide funds on the agreement that Unity Bank would terminate its Nigerian listing, and trade its stock in the United States, a statement sent on Mondaysaid.

Milost said the term sheet was signed and approved by the Unity Bank board as the bank needed the capital to build its buffers and expand.

The firm would have acquired 60 per cent shares in the bank.

The Chief Executive Officer of Milost, Kim Freeman, in a statement distributed by Globe Wire, disclosed that the firm would focus on its other Nigerian investments and would soon release $21 million to oil-services company Japaul Oil and Maritime Services Plc and another $10 million to Resort Savings and Loans Plc.

When contacted, the Head Corporate Communications of Unity Bank, Matthew Obiazikwor said ”a statement in this regard will be issued shortly.”

Unity Bank’s headquarters is based in Lagos State and functions as a merger of over five banks.

Milost Global is incorporated in New-York.

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