Deutsche Bank to boost team in South Africa

 ·11 Aug 2022

Deutsche Bank AG is beefing up its investment banking team and services in Africa’s most developed economy as part of a plan to grow on the continent.

The German lender has hired a senior corporate originator in South Africa – someone who sources clients and deal opportunities – and intends to further add to the team, country head Saloshni Pillay said in an interview. The focus is to build a deals hub for Africa as a whole, she said.

“We will continue to build on what we have with a select number of clients and deliver to them,” said Pillay. “Then we have identified a broader client base that we will be targeting, really to build a pipeline of deals and work for 2023-2024.”

Pillay was hired by Deutsche earlier this year from South African bank Absa Group Ltd to rebuild after staff numbers fell during two waves of global reorganizations the lender carried out in 2018 and 2019. Early wins included advising on a $2 billion deal when DP World acquired Imperial Logisticcs Ltd.

The South African office employs 68 people, Pillay said. Deutsche has had a presence in the country since 1979.

Africa Plan

Deutsche has identified Africa as a growth opportunity, and will help clients looking to invest there or incumbents seeking to access different banking services, co-chief executive officer for the Middle East and Africa, Kees Hoving, said in the same interview.

The plan will be based on a strategy rolled out in Asia over the past 20 years, he said.

“There is huge interest in the continent when it comes to sectors like commodities, food, and energy, and we want to follow our clients and service their cross-border needs,” Hoving said. “We have identified our global clients that also have subsidiaries in South Africa, and Saloshni’s team is talking to those clients.”

Bond Market

Deutsche is in talks with African nations about issuing bonds and debt restructuring, Hoving said, as countries look to shore up finances to deal with the impact of Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The bank has gone from the 13th-biggest regional bond arranger in 2021 to number four this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last month, it assisted with a $1.5 billion loan facility for South Africa’s state-owned port and rail company Transnet SOC Ltd.

African countries talking to the International Monetary Fund will most likely commit to increasing local production to cut imports and boost exports, Hoving said.

There is also work underway to bolster Deutsche’s private banking and wealth business in Africa, Pillay said.

“Clients are looking for investment and solutions to go offshore, and to diversify away from certain currencies,” she said.

The lender has hired HSBC Holdings Plc banker Paul Sayers as head of its international private bank in Africa. Three other senior relationship and investment managers from HSBC, who worked with Sayers, also joined.

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