Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank Seeks African Expansions, Halts Nigerian Deals

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Senegalese policemen stand guard outside the Attijariwafa Moroccan bank during its inauguration in Dakar, Senegal, 07 July 2006. Senegalese Prime Minister Macky Sall and his Morrocan counterpart Driss Jettou attended the event. AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU
  • Shares climb to snap three days of declines in Casablanca
  • Lender sees floating of dirham boosting demand for derivatives
  • halted its plans to enter Nigeria and Algeria as it prioritizes the consolidation of its purchase of 100 percent of Barclays Plc’s Egypt

Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco’s biggest lender, is planning to complete expansions in East and West Africa this year as it focuses on consolidating its new acquisitions to spur growth.

Meanwhile the lender has halted its plans to enter Nigeria and Algeria as it prioritizes the consolidation of its purchase of 100 percent of Barclays Plc’s Egypt, which was completed this month as part of plans to boost growth.

The Casablanca-based bank aims to finalize a deal to buy Rwanda’s Cie Generale de Banque, known as Cogebanque, start commercial banking operations in Chad and apply for a banking license in Ghana in 2017, General Manager Ismail Douiri said in an interview in Cairo on Sunday.

Attijariwafa started its first wave of acquisitions in 2005 as it was faced with fewer opportunities to expand in Morocco. It now operates in 26 countries including Tunisia, Niger, Gabon and Cameroon, as well as France, Germany and Italy.

The bank forecasts loans and deposits will increase 5 percent to 7 percent and profits to expand between 5 percent and 10 percent in 2017. It plans to sell as much as 1.5 billion Moroccan dirhams ($152 million) of perpetual bonds to meet Basel 3 requirements.

Attijariwafa expects the planned floating of the dirham in the second half of this year to boost revenues as the subsequent volatility in the currency will create higher demand for foreign-currency derivatives products, Douiri said.

“There are risks but also opportunities,” he said.

Attijariwafa’s shares climbed 1.5 percent to 419 dirhams per share by 1:15 p.m. in Casablanca, snapping three days of declines.

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