Bloomberg News

Standard Bank Won’t Rule Out Angola Acquisitions to Grow

April 16, 2012

Standard Bank Group Ltd. (SBK), Africa’s largest lender, won’t rule out acquisitions in Angola as it seeks to become one of the top five banks in the oil-producing country, the head of the bank’s Angolan unit said.

“Standard Bank cannot rule out an acquisition if the opportunity one day arises,” Pedro Pinto Coelho said in a telephone interview on April 13 from Luanda, the capital. “Angola remains a very attractive market due to its strong economic growth and young population.”

The southern African nation, the continent’s second-biggest oil producer, is luring more foreign banks as its economy booms. Gross domestic product is forecast to grow 12.8 percent this year after expanding 3.4 percent in 2011, according to the government. Only 13 percent of Angolans have access to banking, according to auditing company KPMG LLP.

Johannesburg-based Standard Bank started operating in Angola in 2009 and plans to boost its six branches to as many as 25 this year and to between 60 and 70 branches in five years, Pinto Coelho said.

“About 80 percent of the market is in the hands of five banks,” he said. “If Standard Bank wants to be a player in the Angolan market it must be one of the top five lenders.”

Banco Poupanca e Credito SARL; Banco Angolano de Investimentos; Banco Fomento Angola, a unit of Banco BPI SA (BPI) of Portugal; Banco BIC SA; and Banco Espirito Santo Angola SA, a unit of Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo SA (BES), are the country’s biggest lenders, according to the central bank.

Portuguese banks, under pressure in their home country to sell assets to bolster capital ratios, aren’t selling units in Angola, Ben Kruger, Standard Bank’s deputy chief executive officer, said on March 8.

Portuguese lenders Caixa Geral de Depositos SA and Banco Comercial Portugues SA (BCP) also operate in Angola.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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