Nigeria's Access Bank eyes new markets in EMEA for greater foreign revenue

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Access Bank, Nigeria’s fourth-largest bank by assets, is considering expanding into new markets in Europe and Asia as it targets achieving 20 percent of revenue overseas by 2018, the bank’s chief executive told reporters on Wednesday.

To expand from its current 10 percent of revenue in foreign markets, the bank is looking at organic growth, rather than acquisitions, chief executive Herbert Wigwe said in Dubai.

“Global expansion is being done very carefully, taking into account our moderate risk appetite,” he told reporters in Dubai. “We will not be expanding very quickly but most likely are looking at one or two countries a year.”

The bank already has operations in 10 overseas markets, mainly in Africa, but is targeting countries outside the continent as a “balance” against Africa, said Wigwe. Its non-African markets include China and Britain, with its UK subsidiary on Wednesday announcing the opening a representative office in Dubai.

The move is aimed at tapping into the United Arab Emirates’ status as a burgeoning centre for the flow of trade between Africa and Asia. UAE trade with Africa rose from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $22.8 billion in 2013, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Access Bank hopes to eventually gain approval to offer trade finance and other services from its Dubai office in the future.

The bank is aiming for higher profitability this year after it regained market share following the acquisition of rival lender Intercontinental Bank three years ago