Operating Officer of Leading international Bank, BNP Paribas, Philippe Bordenave has disclosed plans by the banking group to expand its corporate and investment banking activities in South Africa.
According to Bordenave, despite the sluggish growth prospects in South Africa as indicated by Moody Investors Services; Africa’s largest economy is still “a very promising country” to establish its presence.
“It is part of our general strategy to be represented in all the main countries (of the world) and South Africa is one of those—we are there not just for our customers but also for South African companies who are big and are investing in, and are exporting around the world,” Bordenave said at a press conference last week.
The French bank which established its first representative corporate and investment banking office in Johannesburg this year June, said the base will provide corporate finance and advisory services to French and other companies investing or expanding into the region.
“We have not had a presence in South Africa and we decided to open an office last year because we think it is a very promising country,” Mr Bordenave said at the group’s annual media briefing on BNP’s business strategy.
“It is important to be there (in South Africa) for our clients and work with big South African corporates that are increasing exports and investing abroad,” he said.
BNP Paribas is one of the international investors that have established their presence in South Africa, which they see as a launch pad into southern Africa.
Last year, it bought 60 percent JSE-listed financial services group Cadiz- Cadiz Securities, for 150 million rand ($17 million), which the French bank says it plans to strengthen, using it to develop its equities and research franchise in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The business has since been rebranded BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities, which the French bank says it plans to strengthen, using it to develop its equities and research franchise in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
BNP Paribas chairman Baudouin Prot stated that his company is “cautiously” growing its presence in South Africa, despite the recent labour unrest in the mining sector and the political uncertainty that the African National Congress elective conference might bring.
BNP Paribas’s South African unit is part of the group’s Mediterranean and African businesses, serving more than 1.2-million individual, retail and corporate clients. The French-based bank is also interested in funding oil and gas projects in southern African countries such as Angola.