EFG Hermes, an Egyptian investment bank present in the Middle East and North Africa region, will apply for an investment banking licence in Nigeria. The company plans to expand in West Africa after acquiring brokerage and research firm Primera Africa Securities.
In an interview in Lagos, Ali Khalpey, Chief Executive Officer of EFG Hermes’ frontier unit, notes that the company wants to use Nigeria as a regional hub to support clients in countries including Ghana and Ivory Coast. He said the Nigerian licence marks the next phase of growth for the firm seeking to get into undeveloped markets in Africa and Asia.
After obtaining a Kenyan stockbroking licence that enables it to extend its operations to Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, EFG Hermes bought Primera Africa in July 2017. The purchase is considered the investment firm’s attempt to break into the Sub-Saharan market.
According to Khalpey, the company’s investment banking advisory will target multinationals and big local companies as customers. He also said the investment firm sees opportunities for investors in Nigeria’s consumer goods industries and banks, as the economy recovered from a recession in 2016.
Khalpey notes that his top three picks in the nation’s banks are First Bank Holdings, Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank based on their “management teams, balance sheet and capital strength”. He acknowledges that “Nigeria may have some investor apathy today. But we are building a business on a 15 year view”.
EFG Hermes was founded in 1984 and currently operates in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Omar and Pakistan. The company has 880 employees and manages $2.4 billion worth of assets.