Canadian Bank Takes On Africa With Stake Buy In Ivorian Financial Firm

Canadian Bank Takes On Africa With Stake Buy In Ivorian Financial Firm

According to an African Business Central report, Canada’s National Bank has bought a 20.9 percent stake in NSAI, a financial services firm based in French speaking West African country Ivory Coast, at a cost of $116 million.

NSAI is the third largest bank in Ivory Coast and the leading Insurance group in the country. It has business in 12 French-speaking countries and with assets totaling more than $1.6 billion.

Montreal-based National Bank said that the expansion into Africa was within its strategy of boosting its international presence through targeted equity acquisitions, as it seeks to diversify beyond its Quebec roots, but insisted it did not want to become a global bank any time soon.

“We have no intent in becoming a global bank,” African Business Central quoted National Bank’s Chief Executive, Louis Vachon, saying during the Canadian Financial Services Conference.

Vachon clarified that his bank’s strategy was a “supra-regional model” that focuses on targeted equity investments in select regions.

The Canadian bank has been on an aggressive investment spree since the fourth quarter of 2014.

It spent $20 million to increased its stake in Cambodia-based ABA Bank to 42 percent from 30 percent earlier this year. That was after it had acquired a 9.5 percent stake in Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank Ltd. in December last year.

National Bank of Canada, which already employs a large number of people from West Africa, has joined other global player in tapping into the region’s fast growing economies and its youthful population.

Africa still has a low financial access penetration , but the mobile money revolution has seen many people come into the financial fold over the last decade.