Mauritius Commercial Bank plans to open offices in Nigeria

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Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) plans to open a representative office in Nigeria as it aims to diversify its business beyond oil and gas to include renewables and mining.

This was disclosed by Thierry Hebraud, Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking of Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), according to Reuters.

In addition to its operations in Dubai and Paris, MCB has representative offices in Nairobi and Johannesburg as part of its push into Africa, with a total exposure of $850 million in Nigeria.

In Ghana, MCB has around $300 million in exposure, with another $200 million in Senegal and Ivory Coast. Karadeniz, a Turkish company that runs floating powerships in numerous West African countries, is one of its clients.

What Mauritius Commercial Bank is saying

On the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Thierry Hebraud, head of corporate and institutional banking, told Reuters that the pandemic had stalled plans for the Nigeria branch, but that it was now in the final stages of central bank approval.

  • Today, more than 50% of our balance sheet is outside Mauritius, and the major part is in Africa,” he said. “I believe within the next couple of months, we will be operating the new representative office in Nigeria.”
  • Hebraud said the bank is now focused on structured finance in the upstream and downstream oil and gas industry and the oil trade, and was looking to expand into renewables and mining.
  • Till now, it has handled deals from its Port Louis headquarters, such as the acquisition by Seplat and Sahara Oil of assets put on sale by international oil firms.
  • “We believe we’ll continue to grow in the oil and gas sector, but at a slower pace. We’ll definitely grow in the energy and infrastructure,” he said.
  • Hebraud said banks needed to support Africa’s oil and gas industry to provide the energy for the continent to grow, even though climate change was driving a shift from fossil fuels.
  • “Imagine all banks withdraw from this sector, you’ll shut down the electricity of half the continent,” he said.

The Nigeria office would eventually cover Ghana, a neighbouring West African oil producer which also exports cocoa and mines gold, Hebraud said.