First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) has been named the "Best Telecom Supporting Bank in Nigeria" for the year 2009 at the Nigerian Annual Telecoms Awards.
The award which according to the organizers is given annually to a Nigerian bank which has shown strong commitment and support to the telecoms sector was formally conferred on the FCMB in Lagos over the weekend. The ceremony was chaired by the former President of Sierra-Leone, Ahmad Teejan Kabbah.
The Nigerian Telecoms Awards are organized annually since 2004 when the Board of Trustees and Steering Committee was inaugurated by the then Minister of Communications, Chief Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo. The awards which have remained the highest industry/business awards in the country recognize different Governments and government functionaries' contributions towards the development of the sector.
In recognizing FCMB for the award of 'Telecom Supporting Bank of the Year 2009', the Board highlighted FCMB's leadership in the sector saying “The overwhelming initial financing support your bank offered the early beginners of telecom services remains unforgettable in the making of those strong brands. Such strong brands include the then Econet, now Zain, and Helios Towers in the Infrastructural sub-Sector. FCMB's supports were indeed commendable and deserving of an award as this."
FCMB's Telecom, Media and Technology Group arranged, structured and syndicated Helios Towers Nigeria’s (HTN) $100 million Senior Secured Credit Facility which was used primarily for network expansion. It was the first of such transaction in Nigeria for a co-location provider and as a result HTN has been able to further consolidate its first-mover advantage. Consequently, HTN grew its site portfolio by 350% between December 2007 and 2008 and is on track to more than double that in 2009 with GSM (MTN, Zain, Glo) and CDMA (Multi-Links, Starcomms, Visafone, Zoom, Megatech) and other customers.
FCMB is one of three Nigerian banks to finance Main One Cable, Nigeria's first privately owned submarine cable provider. FCMB is also leading the effort to arrange US-EXIM financing for this project which will improve the project's economics.
In recognition of the Nigeria’s imminent ICT convergence, in January 2008, FCMB became the first Nigerian bank to adopt the Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) designation and a leading provider of technology based transaction banking solutions to handle payment collections and liquidity management for the sector.
Congratulating the recipients, chairman of the occasion, former Sierra Leonean President, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah described the awards as "an event that has become a milestone in the global telecoms market and Africa's contribution to the annual telecom agenda". He charged experts in the industry to pull talents together for the enhancement of synergies in the telecoms industry in Africa.