Johannesburg - Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK] plans to as
much as quadruple its branch network in Angola by the end of this year, as it
targets explosive growth in the oil-rich nation, the head of its Angolan unit
said on Wednesday.
Pedro Pinto Coelho also told Reuters in an interview that
Africa’s biggest bank will not rule out an acquisition in Angola, where it is
aiming for up to 70 branches in as little as three years.
“We have six branches at the moment and believe we can reach
20 to 25 branches by the end of the year,” he said.
“The idea is for us to have 60 to 70 branches in three to
While plenty of major international banks are targeting
Angola, which is expected to post double-digit gross domestic product growth this year, Standard
aims to use its Africa presence to win business, Coelho said.
Standard Bank - which operates in 17 African countries - in
2009 was granted a banking licence in Angola, where the presence of 21 other
banks means it faces plenty of competition.
Playing catch up
“The reality is that we are the 22nd bank to open doors
here. Our international presence already differentiates us as does our strong
asset base and solidity,” he said.
The top five banks in Angola - including state-owned Banco
Africano de Investimentos and units of Portugal’s BPI, and BES - control about
80% of the market.
Studies show that only 13% of Angolans hold bank accounts
and analysts say banks must increase their lending to help companies as the
country tries to diversify the economy.
“At the moment the market is still growing at a speed which
allow us to post rapid organic growth,” Pinto Coelho said.
He added, however that “in any dynamic market, such as the
one in Angola, any player with ambitions to grow can never rule out the route
In Angola Standard Bank offers retail services for
individuals and small businesses, but the main focus is on corporate investment
banking for growth sectors such as oil, infrastructure and food production and
Standard, which is 20% owned by the Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China , last year scaled back its focus from emerging
markets to concentrate on Africa.
On Tuesday it said it would sell most of its stake in Turkish
venture Standard Unlu for an undisclosed amount, its latest move to divest from
Deputy CEO Ben Kruger told Reuters last month the bank
expects to spend up to $300m this year on expanding in four sub-Saharan markets,
FirstRand [JSE:FSR] said last year it is eyeing Angola for a