Stanbic unhurried about BSE listing

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Investors seeking to have a share of Stanbic Bank Botswana will have to wait a little longer as the bank is not in a hurry to list on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).

Stanbic is the only unlisted member of the ‘Big Four’, Botswana’s biggest banks, which also include First National Bank Botswana, Barclays Bank Botswana and Standard Chartered Bank Botswana.

Stanbic’s listing has long been a subject of market speculation, with the bank previously hinting that it was considering an approach to the BSE.

The bank’s head of marketing, Stephanie Stoneham told BusinessWeek on Tuesday that they do not have immediate intention to list on the national bourse.

“We don’t have any immediate intention of listing, but that does not mean that we do not intend on adding value to the Botswana market as we are already doing so in many ways,” she said.

Some industry experts believe that the non-existence of the bank on the domestic bourse could be misinterpreted as a lack of long-term commitment and willingness to have Batswana participate in the ownership of the bank.

This point assumes particular significance in the context of a country where all the 10 licensed commercial banks are subsidiaries of foreign-owned entities.

According to Stoneham, part of Stanbic’s approach to sharing value with the public includes programmes such as the incubation initiative and due to launch in Botswana two months from now.

The bank has successful incubation centres aimed at supporting small medium enterprises (SME) in other countries of operation.

For his part the bank’s executive and head of corporate and investment banking, Shepherd Aisam said Stanbic is open for business as they develop strategies and products based on the issues of poverty eradication, creation of employment, especially for the youth as well as diversification of the economy.

“We look at how we can contribute towards shared value in this economy. We are also looking to take Botswana clients out into the continent and open up our doors to customers that are in Africa and globally that are coming to Botswana,” he said.

According to Aisam going forward, the bank will also focus on sustainable finance, which addresses the issue of innovation, impact investing and results-based finance as they embark on a journey to “connect with real social problems in finding real solutions”.

Head of investment banking-Africa regions, Anne Aliker said Botswana has a loud voice on the continent and plays a critical role despite its comparatively smaller population.

“Botswana holds an interesting position and is the best rated sovereign in the continent,” she said. “The country gets the attention of many financial institutions including the banking industry and other investors.”

She further highlighted that the country is strategically positioned; giving it an edge, as it is located within a trade route opening infrastructure development opportunities.

Aliker said the bank has seen growth over the last 10 years, from the Corporate Investment Banking (CIB) perspective.

“About 10 years ago from the CIB perspective, the Africa business, outside SA generated about seven percent of CIB’s global revenues and in 2018 it was about 52%,” she said.

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