RMB looks to expand footprint in Africa

As part of the greater FirstRand group’s international strategy, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) is now looking to expand its footprint into Africa by having a physical presence in a few select countries, the investment bank said on Wednesday.

”We have identified parts of Africa as high-growth areas,” said RMB Africa head Leslie Silverstone.

”We would also like a physical presence so we can offer an even better service to existing clients who are looking to the rest of the continent to grow their businesses,” he said.

RMB had recently acted as co-financial adviser for the 50-billion naira (approximately $400-million) Lekki Expressway, a toll road in Nigeria linking Lagos with the Lekki Peninsula.

The transaction was the first private toll road in West Africa and was expected to set the standard for public-private partnership arrangements in Nigeria.

”The Lekki Expressway transaction took five years to finalise and construction of the road’s first 3km is just about complete.

”The financial structure has set the benchmark for such infrastructure projects as it was able to attract a fully funded local currency package which involved both international and local funders,” Silverstone said.

More importantly, the project set record tenors of 15 years for local currency funding, he added.

”RMB was involved in the transaction from the outset — unlike most other deals where we become involved only in the financial structuring, we helped set up the entire framework for the transaction.”

In another recently finalised transaction, RMB co-arranged a $70-million financing package for the Angola Domestic Submarine Cable System being installed by Ericsson for Angola Telecom.

The deal was partially backed by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, which aims to promote regional development.

”For more than 10 years, RMB has been active on the African continent,” Silverstone said.

”We have concluded transactions in 29 countries in Africa in sectors such as telecommunications, transportation, power, mining and financial services.” — Sapa

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