State Bank of India’s R10bn African growth ambitions

15 September 2014

India’s largest commercial bank, The State Bank of India (SBI), plans to grow its footprint in Africa, retaining focus on corporate business, its South African customers and secured small, medium-sized and microenterprises, SBI international banking MD Krishna Kumar said last week.

During the bank’s 17years in South Africa it had established eight branches focussing largely on the Indian community and corporate market, offering trade and corporate finance services to companies in the power and energy, infrastructure, automotive, mining, iron and steel, and industrial-related markets.

“We are now looking at expanding into the larger community in South Africa and further into the corporate market. We will be increasing our asset base from the current R4.5 billion to about R10 billion.

“Local return on assets is between 2% and 3%, which is high, based on global standards,” said the bank.

In the rest of Africa, the bank had operations in Botswana, Mauritius, Cairo and Nigeria through SBI’s stake in Sterling Bank.

Kumar was confident in the South African economy and saw significant potential. “While the bank has been in South Africa we have never shown a loss. Profits are retained in the country and never taken out. We want to build a solid institution in South Africa and are here for the long term,” he noted.

The Indian government owns 58.6% of SBI. The group has over 21,000 branches in India and another 190 offices in 36 countries worldwide.

By: Natalie Greve

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