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Why Companies in Nigeria Choose Project Over Corporate Finance

Last Updated on October 27, 2023


In Nigeria, companies often choose project financing over corporate finance due to several reasons.

This blog section will explore the significance of this topic in the Nigerian business landscape.

Project financing offers companies in Nigeria a practical solution to fund large and capital-intensive projects.

The limited availability of corporate finance options has led companies to seek project financing alternatives.

One significant reason for choosing project financing is the ability to access long-term funding.

This allows companies to undertake projects that would otherwise be financially unfeasible in the short term.

Project financing also provides companies with the opportunity to share risks with external investors.

By involving multiple stakeholders, companies can reduce their exposure to financial uncertainties and potential losses.

Moreover, projects often have dedicated revenue streams, making them more attractive to investors.

This ensures a steady cash flow and reduces the reliance on corporate finance that may have variable sources.

Additionally, project financing allows companies to leverage specialized expertise and resources.

By collaborating with external parties, companies can tap into the specific knowledge and experience needed for successful project execution.

In the Nigerian business landscape, where access to traditional corporate finance is limited, project financing becomes a preferred choice.

Companies can overcome financial constraints, share risks, and tap into diverse resources, fostering growth and development.

Definition and explanation of project finance

Project finance refers to the financing of long-term infrastructure, industrial, and public service projects.

It involves the creation of a separate legal entity, usually a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which is responsible for implementing and managing the project.

This entity is funded through a combination of equity and debt, and the project’s cash flows are used to repay the debt over time.

Characteristics of project finance

  1. Limited recourse: In project finance, lenders have limited recourse to the assets of the project, meaning they can only claim repayment from project cash flows and assets, reducing the risk for the sponsors.

  2. Non-limited-recourse debt: In many cases, lenders provide non-recourse or limited-recourse loans, where they rely solely on project cash flows for repayment, shielding the sponsors from personal liability.

  3. Ring-fencing: Project finance involves separating the project’s finances from those of the sponsors, ensuring that the project’s performance does not affect the sponsors’ other activities.

  4. Cash flow-based lending: Lenders typically evaluate project finance based on the project’s ability to generate sufficient cash flows to cover debt repayment and operating expenses.

  5. Long-term contracts: Projects often require long-term off-take or supply agreements, providing revenue stability and mitigating risks associated with price fluctuations or demand variations.

Project finance differs from corporate finance in several ways

  1. Risk allocation: Project finance allows for the sharing of risks between various parties involved, whereas corporate finance typically places the risk solely on the company.

  2. Limited liability: Project finance provides limited liability for the project sponsors, unlike corporate finance, where the company and its shareholders can be personally liable for the company’s debts.

  3. Funding structure: Project finance involves raising funds specifically for a particular project, while corporate finance encompasses the overall financing of a company’s activities.

  4. Cash flow focus: Project finance relies heavily on the ability of the project to generate sufficient cash flow to repay debt, whereas corporate finance may have a broader focus on the company’s overall financial performance.

  5. Collateral: Project finance relies on the project’s assets and cash flows as collateral, whereas corporate finance may rely on a wider range of assets, including those not directly related to a specific project.

The project finance is relevant and applicable in Nigeria for several reasons

  1. Infrastructure development: Nigeria requires significant investments in infrastructure, such as power plants, roads, and railways, which can be financed through project finance.

  2. Risk mitigation: Project finance allows for the sharing of risks between project sponsors, lenders, and other stakeholders, reducing the exposure for individual participants.

  3. Attracting investments: Project finance provides a structured and transparent framework that can attract domestic and foreign investors to finance projects in Nigeria.

  4. Off-balance sheet financing: Project finance allows companies to undertake large-scale projects without significantly impacting their balance sheets, preserving their creditworthiness.

  5. Access to specialized expertise: Project finance involves collaboration between different parties, including lenders, sponsors, and technical experts, which can bring diverse skills and knowledge to project implementation.

Project finance is a financing method that enables companies in Nigeria to undertake large-scale projects while managing risks and attracting investments.

Its characteristics and differences from corporate finance make it a suitable option for infrastructure development and other long-term projects in the country.

By utilizing project finance, Nigeria can address its infrastructure gaps and foster economic growth.

Read: How to Pursue a Career in Corporate Finance in Nigeria

Overview of corporate finance

Corporate finance is the discipline that manages a company’s financial resources, focusing on optimizing value and minimizing risks.

Key Components of Corporate Finance

The key components of corporate finance include capital budgeting, capital structure, and working capital management.

Capital budgeting assesses investment opportunities, while capital structure determines how to finance those investments.

Working capital management focuses on managing the day-to-day financial needs of the company.

The Traditional Approach

Traditionally, corporate finance emphasized maximizing shareholder value by making investment decisions that yield the highest possible returns.

This approach often involved evaluating projects based on their net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR).

Additionally, the use of debt to leverage investments was a common practice, aiming to increase returns for shareholders.

The traditional approach to corporate finance has evolved over time to consider other factors such as risk, diversification, and stakeholder interests.

While the goal remains value creation, the approach has become more comprehensive, integrating a broader perspective of financial decision-making.

In summary, corporate finance is a multifaceted field that addresses the allocation of financial resources within a company.

The traditional approach focused on maximizing shareholder wealth through methods like NPV and IRR while considering the use of debt for leverage.

However, contemporary corporate finance embraces a broader view, accounting for risk, diversification, and the interests of all stakeholders.

Limitations or challenges faced by companies in Nigeria with traditional corporate finance

Corporate finance is an essential aspect of business strategy implementation and financial decision-making. It involves managing a company’s capital structure, investment decisions, and financial resources.

Understanding corporate finance is crucial for businesses to optimize their financial performance and achieve their goals.

In simple terms, corporate finance can be defined as the management of a company’s funds and financial resources to maximize shareholder value.

It encompasses various key components, including capital budgeting, capital structure, and working capital management.

Capital budgeting involves assessing investment opportunities and selecting projects that offer the highest return on investment.

Traditionally, companies have adopted a conservative approach to corporate finance, focusing on risk mitigation and maintaining a stable financial position.

They prioritize maintaining a strong balance sheet, paying dividends, and minimizing debt. This approach aims to ensure the company’s long-term sustainability and financial stability.

However, companies in Nigeria face several limitations and challenges when relying solely on traditional corporate finance.

The first challenge is the limited availability and high cost of capital.

Nigerian companies often struggle to secure affordable financing, hindering their ability to invest in profitable projects and expand their operations.

Additionally, the country’s economic and political instability poses significant challenges.

Nigerian companies often face uncertainties in government policies, which directly impacts their ability to plan and execute long-term investment strategies.

Moreover, currency fluctuations and inflation erode the value of capital, making it challenging for businesses to access foreign investment or borrow from international lenders.

Another limitation is the lack of adequate financial infrastructure in Nigeria. The absence of a well-developed financial market restricts companies’ access to various funding sources.

This limits their ability to raise capital through initial public offerings (IPOs) or issue corporate bonds, reducing their financial flexibility.

Read: Risk Management Strategies in Nigeria’s Corporate Finance

Advantages of Project Finance in Nigeria

When it comes to choosing between project finance and corporate finance, companies in Nigeria are increasingly opting for the former due to its numerous advantages.

In this blog section, we will highlight the specific advantages of project finance for Nigerian companies.

Additionally, we will discuss how project finance allows for better risk management and how it can attract external funding and investors.

Enhanced Risk Management

  • Project finance enables companies to allocate risks appropriately and transfer them to suitable parties.

  • By segregating projects, companies can shield themselves from potential losses and minimize their overall risk exposure.

  • This approach ensures that failure in one project does not lead to the collapse of the entire organization.

Access to Long-term Capital

  • Project finance enables companies to secure long-term capital for large-scale projects.

  • Investors and lenders are more willing to provide funding for projects with defined cash flows and income prospects.

  • This allows companies to pursue ambitious projects that would be financially unviable through traditional corporate finance.

Increased Potential for External Funding

  • Project finance attracts external funding by providing clear structures and dedicated revenue streams.

  • Investors are enticed by the transparency and predictability of cash flows, leading to a higher likelihood of funding.

  • Moreover, project finance mitigates concerns regarding the financial health of the parent company, making it easier to secure external support.

Improved Infrastructure Development

  • Project finance plays a significant role in stimulating infrastructure development in Nigeria.

  • By attracting funding and investors, it facilitates the construction of vital infrastructure such as roads, power plants, and telecommunications networks.

  • Improved infrastructure not only enhances the quality of life but also creates employment opportunities and fosters economic growth.

Sharing of Expertise and Technology

  • Project finance often involves collaborations between local and international companies.

  • These partnerships allow for the transfer of knowledge, skills, and technology, promoting innovation and capacity building.

  • Nigerian companies benefit from exposure to global best practices, thereby enhancing their competitiveness in the market.

Increased Project Success Rate

  • Project finance promotes a disciplined approach and stringent evaluation of projects.

  • It requires comprehensive feasibility studies, risk assessments, and financial modeling before committing to a project.

  • By thoroughly analyzing the project’s viability, companies can increase the probability of successful execution and delivery.

Project finance offers several advantages for Nigerian companies. It allows for better risk management, access to long-term capital, and increased potential for external funding.

Furthermore, it stimulates infrastructure development, facilitates the sharing of expertise and technology, and improves the project success rate.

As a result, more and more companies in Nigeria are choosing project finance over traditional corporate finance to attain sustainable growth and achieve their business objectives.

Why Companies in Nigeria Choose Project Over Corporate Finance

In Nigeria, many companies are opting for project finance over traditional corporate finance. Through case studies of Nigerian companies that have chosen project finance,

This section explores the reasons behind their decisions, the outcomes they achieved, and the lessons that can be derived from these case studies.

Read: Corporate Finance vs Personal Finance: What’s the Difference?

Why Companies in Nigeria Choose Project Over Corporate Finance

Case Studies of Nigerian Companies Choosing Project Finance

Dangote Group

The Dangote Group, a conglomerate in Nigeria, opted for project finance when expanding their refinery operations.

By securing project-specific financing, the company mitigated the risks associated with its massive project and ensured its successful completion.

MTN Nigeria

MTN Nigeria, a telecommunications giant, chose project finance to fund the deployment of its network infrastructure across the country.

This allowed the company to allocate the financial burden of the project separately and attract specialized investors.

Nigerian Breweries

Nigerian Breweries, the largest brewing company in Nigeria, used project finance to construct new production facilities.

By utilizing project financing, they were able to avoid adding additional leverage to their corporate balance sheet and maintain financial stability.

Reasons Behind Choosing Project Finance

Nigerian companies opt for project finance due to several reasons:

  • Reduced Risk: By securing project-specific financing, companies limit their exposure to potential losses and protect their core business operations.

  • Additional Capital: Project finance allows companies to attract specialized investors who are willing to provide the necessary funds for specific projects.

  • Enhanced Focus: Separating project financing from corporate finance allows companies to concentrate their resources and efforts on the successful execution of the project.

Outcomes Achieved by Nigerian Companies

The outcomes achieved by Nigerian companies through project finance have been significant:

  • Successful Project Completion: By adopting project finance, companies have been able to complete their projects on time and within budget.

  • Increased Stakeholder Confidence: Opting for project finance showcases a company’s ability to manage risks and attracts stakeholders’ trust and confidence.

  • Market Expansion: Companies that have utilized project finance have been able to expand their operations, seize new market opportunities, and increase market share.

Lessons and Insights from Case Studies

Several important lessons and insights can be derived from these case studies:

  1. Proper Risk Assessment: Conducting a thorough risk assessment and understanding project-specific risks is crucial for successful project finance.

  2. Partnership Building: Developing strong partnerships with lenders, investors, and other stakeholders is essential for securing project financing.

  3. Specialized Expertise: Engaging specialized advisors and consultants with experience in project finance can enhance the chances of project success.

  4. Strategic Project Selection: Carefully selecting projects that align with the company’s core competencies and growth strategy is vital for maximizing project finance benefits.

Nigerian companies are increasingly choosing project finance over corporate finance, as it offers reduced risk, additional capital, and enhanced focus.

Case studies of companies like Dangote Group, MTN Nigeria, and Nigerian Breweries illustrate the positive outcomes achieved through project finance.

By understanding the reasons behind these decisions and the lessons derived from these case studies, other companies can make informed choices to drive their own success.

Read: CFI’s Certifications: How Do They Stack Up Internationally?

Challenges and considerations of project finance in Nigeria

Identifying Potential Challenges or Obstacles Faced by Companies Choosing Project Finance in Nigeria

  • Limited access to funding: Companies in Nigeria often face difficulties accessing financing for their projects due to a lack of available capital.

  • Political and economic instability: Uncertainty in government policies and fluctuations in the economy can negatively impact project finance in Nigeria.

  • Infrastructure deficiencies: The inadequate state of infrastructure in Nigeria increases the cost and complexity of project implementation.

  • Security concerns: Companies must address security challenges, such as vandalism, theft, and sabotage, which can impact project timelines and financial viability.

  • Cultural differences: Nigeria has a diverse culture, and companies need to navigate different customs, languages, and practices when undertaking projects.

The Importance of Feasibility Studies and Risk Assessments in Project Finance

  • Assessing project viability: Feasibility studies help companies determine if a project is financially and technically feasible.

  • Identifying risks: Conducting risk assessments allows companies to identify potential obstacles and develop strategies to mitigate them.

  • Attracting investors: Feasibility studies and risk assessments provide crucial information to investors, increasing the chances of securing project funding.

  • Ensuring financial sustainability: Evaluating the project’s financial projections helps companies ensure the project’s long-term financial viability.

  • Compliance with regulations: Feasibility studies and risk assessments ensure compliance with legal and environmental regulations, safeguarding the company’s reputation.

The Need for Regulatory Support and a Favorable Business Environment

Streamlining approval processes: Regulatory support is vital in expediting approval processes to minimize delays and reduce project costs.

  • Transparent and predictable legal framework: A favorable business environment requires clear and consistent laws and regulations, fostering investor confidence.

  • Access to specialized expertise: Regulatory support can provide access to experts who can assist with navigating complex legal and regulatory frameworks.

  • Incentives and tax breaks: A supportive business environment includes incentives and tax breaks that encourage investment in projects.

  • Stakeholder engagement: Regulatory support can facilitate stakeholder engagement, ensuring that projects align with local community needs and expectations.

Companies in Nigeria often choose project finance due to limited access to funding, political and economic instability, infrastructure deficiencies, security concerns, and cultural differences.

Feasibility studies and risk assessments play a crucial role in assessing project viability, attracting investors, ensuring financial sustainability, and compliance with regulations.

Regulatory support and a favorable business environment are essential for streamlining approval processes, providing access to expertise, offering incentives, and promoting stakeholder engagement.

By addressing these challenges and considerations, companies can navigate project finance successfully in Nigeria.


Companies in Nigeria are increasingly opting for project finance over corporate finance. This shift is driven by several key factors.

Firstly, project finance provides companies with access to long-term funding for large-scale projects that may not be feasible through traditional corporate finance.

It allows companies to spread the risk across multiple stakeholders, making financing more attractive.

Secondly, project finance offers specific expertise and resources for complex projects, ensuring their successful execution.

This specialized approach reduces the company’s burden of managing the project, allowing them to focus on their core competencies.

Additionally, project finance provides greater flexibility in terms of repayment structures, allowing companies to align their cash flows with project milestones.

This reduces the financial strain on companies and helps manage their debt obligations effectively.

Moreover, project finance offers enhanced transparency and accountability as it requires proper feasibility studies and assessments before committing to a project.

This ensures that companies make informed decisions and reduces the chances of project failure.

Looking ahead, the prospects for project finance in Nigeria are promising. As the country continues to attract investments and embark on ambitious infrastructure projects, the demand for project finance will likely grow.

Furthermore, the government’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business and providing a favorable investment climate will further boost project finance.

Overall, companies in Nigeria are choosing project finance over corporate finance due to its unique advantages in accessing long-term funding, specialized expertise, flexibility, and transparency.

With the future prospects and growth potential of project finance in Nigeria, it is expected to play a significant role in the country’s economic development and infrastructure advancement.

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