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StanChart to acquire Absa Bank’s custody business in South Africa

International banking group Standard Chartered has entered into an agreement to acquire Absa Bank’s South African custody and trustee business, in a bid to boost its wholesale banking operations in the country.

The current agreement, which represents the third transaction in the last five years, will enable the acquirer to boost its core bank relationships with clients, while generating sustainable income and liquidity in a capital efficient manner.

In 2009, the group purchased First Africa, an African M&A advisory business and also bought Barclays’ Africa custody business in 2010.

The company has already built a custody model throughout 21 sub-Saharan African nations and the latest acquisition will help build its custody capability across Africa.

StanChart Africa region CEO Diana Layfield said that Africa is an important strategic opportunity for the bank and its clients, providing better economic growth and increasingly strong trade links with markets in Asia and the Middle East.

She further said that the acquisition will improve the range of services being offered to clients in the region and is also in line with its strategy to support organic growth with selective acquisitions.

For the last five years, its Africa operation generated 15% of average annual growth and in 2012, the region delivered income of $1.6bn, up 15%, with the Wholesale Bank generated $1.1bn, up 16%.

Backed by strong earnings in the region, the bank has planned to invest over $100m in the development of new branches over the next three years, and will also boost its investment in mobile payments technology, and hire new employees.

Standard Chartered, which earns nearly 90% of its income and profits from Asian, African and the Middle East region, has 89,000 staff working in 1,700 offices across 68 markets, and provides an array of banking and wealth management services.