Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) has announced plans to open an office in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.
Thierry Hebraud, MCB’s Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking, announced this on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He told Reuters that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused the expansion plan to be postponed. However, the company is now moving forward with the process and expects to receive approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria in the coming months.
According to Business Insider Africa, the bank already has $850 million in exposure to the Nigerian oil and gas sector. While it intends to continue investing in the sector by focusing on’structured finance,’ it is also positioning itself to take on new challenges.
Long-term plans call for further expansion into Ghana, where the Mauritian bank currently has a $300 million loan exposure. The bank also has operations in Kenya and South Africa, and it is now looking to expand throughout Africa.
“Today, more than half of our balance sheet is outside of Mauritius, with the majority of it in Africa.” I believe we will be operating the new Nigerian representative office within the next few months… We believe that the oil and gas industry will continue to grow, but at a slower rate. “We will undoubtedly expand in energy and infrastructure,” Mr Hebraud was quoted as saying. It should be noted that MCB previously operated in Nigeria directly from its Port Louis headquarters. It has borne a number of top corporate deals in the West African country, the majority of which involved providing capital for Nigerian companies seeking to acquire assets put up for sale by foreign companies exiting the country.
According to Business Insider Africa, MCB has $14.4 billion in assets (Rs 641 billion). Moody’s has also assigned it an investment grade rating. With a long-term deposit rating of Baa3, it is currently one of the few rated financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa.