Africa: Standard Bank uses new cash for Africa
Argentina unit sold for $600 million; Focus on retail and smaller businesses
"Acquisitions come along where they come along"
Jacko Maree, chief executive of Standard Bank, tells Euromoney he is focusing on growth in Africa, including possible acquisitions in Nigeria, Kenya, and Angola. Standard Bank announced the sale of its Argentina unit in August, raising the question of what it would do with the additional capital.
Analysts say that at $600 million the South African group got a good price for the Argentine bank. The buyer is China’s ICBC, Standard Bank’s biggest shareholder.
Standard Bank bought strategic stakes in financial institutions in Argentina, Russia and Turkey during the latter half of the past decade. But in an interview with Euromoney, Maree says the global financial crisis made a wider emerging markets focus "a bridge too far" for the group.
In March Standard Bank announced the $372 million sale of its 36.4% stake in Russian investment bank Troika Dialog, bought in 2009. The sale was part of a takeover of Troika Dialog by state-owned Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender.
Maree says the extra capital from the Russia and Argentina sales will be an advantage given global market volatility.