Since 2005, it has invested more than $120 million in greenfield expansion and acquisitions. Its geographic reach in Africa is now unparalleled: more than 750 branches and representative offices in 32 countries.
Take Ghana, where Ecobank has been crucial to the revival of the countrys only oil refinery; or Mali, where it is part of the bank consortium behind a $132 million cement plant. In retail, Ecobank has launched joint ventures with development agencies to bring banking services to the poor. New Ecobank products enable individuals to perform transactions using mobile phones.
Ecobank is facilitating the continents all-important economic integration by making it easier for companies and individuals to perform transactions across east, west, central and southern Africa. It has built an alliance with Bank of China to enable more trade and investment with Asia. It has alliances in South Africa with Nedbank and insurer Old Mutual.
In 2010, Ecobank opened representative offices in Luanda, Johannesburg and Dubai. It restructured operations into separate domestic, corporate and investment banking divisions.
Ecobanks group net profit is not yet as large as that of, say, the African operations of Standard Chartered or Barclays, but after a difficult ride through Nigerias banking crisis in 2008 and 2009, Ecobanks net profit more than doubled in 2010, to $131.8 million. In the first quarter of 2011, its net profit rose 9% year on year.
Ecobanks total assets surpassed $10 billion in 2010, with customer loans up 10% and customer deposits up 22%. Its more recently established networks in East and Southern Africa did especially well, together making $68.5 million.
Best investment bank
Two years ago, Standard Chartered bought Johannesburg M&A boutique First Africa and made key hires, such as Stephen Priestley, co-head of Africa wholesale banking, from JPMorgan. Added to its local commercial operations in 15 African countries, Standard Chartereds ability to back up advisory mandates with financing was crucial. Its presence in Asia and the Middle East brought another advantage in increasingly important deals between emerging markets.
Take the $10.7 billion acquisition of the Africa assets of Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain by Indias Bharti Airtel. Standard Chartered advised Bharti on the takeover, underwriting $1.3 billion of the syndicated loan behind the buyout.
It advised on Brazilian miner Vales $2.5 billion acquisition of a concession in Guinea, and the $1.5 billion acquisition of Ugandan energy resources by Aim-listed Tullow. Standard Chartered was, additionally, adviser to South African payments firm Net 1, in its $233 million acquisition of a South Korean firm in the same sector, KSnet. The bank has made private equity investments of its own, for example in Nigerias burgeoning Seven Energy, and in Africa-focused consumer goods firm Loadstone.
Local operations did interesting deals, such as a $10 million local-currency bond, backed by USAID, for the Tanzanian operation of Ugandan micro-financier Pride. It also arranged an $11 million debt-for-equity swap for Northern Coffee Corporation, rescuing Zambias biggest coffee firm, and was bookrunner on a $56 million-equivalent naira bond for Kaduna State.
Standard Chartered bolstered its Africa debt team after 2008, hiring, for example, Belia Fofana, also previously at JPMorgan. It was bookrunner on the $1 billion bond from South African miner AngloGold Ashanti last year. Together with South Africas Standard Bank, Standard Chartered led Senegals new $500 million 10-year bond issuance this spring.
Best debt house
In South Africa, the biggest debt market, it arranged a R850 million ($125 million) bond for the City of Johannesburg. It was bookrunner on a series of rand bonds for national roads agency Sanral (totalling $154 million equivalent), and for telecoms firm MTN (totalling $550 million), the latter including an unusual seven-year deal.
Standard Bank was also joint bookrunner of what has been called East Africas first Eurobond: a $300 million five-year deal for sub-regional development bank PTA. Also, in East Africa, it was bookrunner on a KSh5 billion ($55 million) bond from Kenyan telecoms firm Safaricom, and on a TSh52 billion ($33 million) bond from Tanzania Breweries a rare issuance in that market.
Under its Nigerian affiliate Stanbic IBTC, Standard Bank was lead bookrunner on the N15 billion ($100 million) debut bond for UACN Property Development Company. It was joint lead manager on a N20 billion debut bond for UBA, which it says is the first tier-2 bond issue in the local market.
The bank was further joint bookrunner on a N57.5 billion bond for Lagos state perhaps the largest sub-sovereign bond ever in Nigeria. Later in 2010, it underwrote a N50 billion bond for Bayelsa state and a N17 billion bond for Ebonyi state.
Best equity house
For example, RenCap was joint bookrunner and one of two co-lead advisers in Rwandas first IPO, a $30 million deal for beverage firm Bralirwa. It was also bookrunner or otherwise closely involved in local-currency offerings for energy firm Oando and Skye Bank in Nigeria, as well as for Kenya Commercial Bank and Standard Chartered Kenya.
In addition to other Africa-focused transactions in stock markets in Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong, it was bookrunner on IPOs on Londons secondary market for Guinea-focused miner Bellzone and for Mozambique-focused Ncondezi Coal, both for $50 million.
RenCap bought South African brokerage BJM in 2010 and in addition to its regional headquarters in Johannesburg, it now has offices in Accra, Harare, Lagos, Lusaka and Nairobi.
Among its completed deals between April 1 2010 and March 31 2011, JPMorgan advised Seven Energy in Nigeria on a 15% divestment to UK oil services firm Petrofac for $100 million. It also advised on Tullows Uganda acquisition and on the $1.2 billion sale of 50% of Orascom Telecom Tunisia.
In South Africa, it advised on the $3.2 billion acquisition of IT firm Dimension Data by Japans NTT, as well as on the $2.2 billion merger between insurers Metropolitan and Momentum. It advised on the $300 million acquisition by Kazakh miner ENRC of 12.2% of Northam Platinum, previously owned by Mvelaphanda Resources.
Also in South Africa, although a landmark deal with a continental angle, JPMorgan advised US firm Wal-Mart on its $2.3 billion takeover of fellow retailer Massmart, which is based in South Africa and has growing pan-African operations.
Best project finance house
Standard Chartered was financial adviser and mandated lead arranger to the $1.1 billion increase of an oil refinery and liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria, owned by US energy firm ExxonMobil and Nigerias national oil company. It was mandated lead arranger, structuring bank and hedging bank in a $260 million port development in Dakar, Senegal a trailblazer for the regions incipient public-private partnership market. Among other deals in West and Southern Africa it was also mandated lead arranger in Kosmos Energys $3 billion Ghana project.
Standard Bank wins best risk adviser in Africa for its physical presence in 17 African countries, coupled with its global expertise and market access, above all in commodities (for example, it is one of the largest international gold traders on the Tokyo Commodities Exchange, and one of the most prominent market makers on the London Metals Exchange).
Aside from providing commodity risk products, Standard Bank provided some sophisticated currency, credit, and interest rate hedges to clients, in markets including Angola, Botswana, Senegal and South Africa.
Best flow house
It offers 24-hour liquidity in 25 African currencies, and is particular competitive in pricing Africa-Asia flow, thanks to its network in Asia. It has a strong Africa structured flow products team, while its commodities business further helps it provide liquidity to continental producers. In 2010, Standard Chartered acquired Barclays custody business in 16 African countries.
Citis cash management business is partnering with initiatives such as mobile-phone money transfers in East Africa. During the year, Citi improved its services and won new mandates from global and local corporations.