Societe Generale strengthens its leadership in Africa and accelerates its growth
During a press visit to Abidjan, Societe Generale today provided details of its strategy in Africa, which aims to speed up the Group’s growth on the continent as described in the Group strategic plan for the period until the end of 2016. The development plan draws on the region's strong potential for growth and for banking penetration, and on major commercial and operational synergies between the Group's core businesses.
Strong historical presence and a continent-wide network
Present on the continent for over 100 years, the Group has developed a deep local expertise and a solid experience in supporting its business and personal clients. The bank operates in 18 countries and has built a vast, continent-wide network with nearly 1,000 branches and more than 11,000 employees serving more than 3 million clients, including 150,000 businesses.
With this historical presence and geographic network, Societe Generale is one of the Top 3 international banks in Africa today. The bank is very strongly positioned: No. 1 bank in Ivory Coast and Cameroon, No. 1 private bank in Algeria and No. 2 bank in Guinea and Senegal. More than half of Societe Generale's subsidiaries have a market share of more than 10%. This increases to more than 20% in Cameroon, Guinea, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire.
The banking sector set to benefit from the continent’s growth outlook
Societe Generale generated NBI of €1.1 billion in 2014 and aims to accelerate its revenue growth to approximately 7% per year by 2016. To achieve this target, the bank will allocate nearly €4 billion of additional assets (RWA) to Africa over the period 2014-2016.
By leveraging on the continent's high potential for economic growth (more than 5% annually) and for increased banking penetration (less than 20% penetration in many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa), the group aims to accelerate its development:
- Organically, by continuing to open 50-70 branches per year or by opening new subsidiaries, as will be the case when Societe Generale Togo begins operating in the second half of 2015.
- Through external growth, by making targeted acquisitions, as recently occurred when the bank announced its purchase of a majority stake in Mauritius Commercial Bank Mozambique (the transaction is expected be completed by the end of July 2015 with the agreement of the country's national authorities). The development of Societe Generale’s set-up is driven primarily in order to support clients and their projects in developing markets.
Strengthening the Group’s leadership to serve its clients
Drawing on its historical positioning as a partner for businesses, Societe Generale is progressively enhancing its range of universal banking services in Africa. This already goes beyond traditional bank deposit and lending services and encompasses activities requiring international expertise, such as domestic and international cash management, factoring, leasing and structured financing, as well as market financing and hedging solutions, with teams based in Africa and Paris dedicated to African clients.
Loans to businesses have increased significantly since 2006, rising by 115% in the Mediterranean basin and by 56% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Societe Generale intends to maintain this momentum by enhancing its range of products and services for the corporate market by bolstering its capacities in this region at local level, in line with the evolving needs of its clients (large international corporations, major African corporations or regional businesses):
- Project to create regional cash pooling services
- Expansion of internet banking products and services
- Creation of a regional trading floor in Abidjan
- Creation of a regional structured financing platform
- Development of specific factoring and leasing solutions for SMEs
The personal banking business, which is constantly developing in Africa, is progressively imposing its own momentum, with significant segmentation and different and evolving levels of use of banking services. The bank is accompanying these changes by constantly strengthening its marketing expertise and its innovation capabilities in order to test new branch formats and payment instruments, whilst also launching new initiatives such as private banking and insurance in Morocco. Societe Generale also plans to enhance its range of products and services for individuals, drawing on synergies with other entities, in order to make its mark as a “developer of user-services”.
- Rollout of a range of pan-African mobile banking services
- Expansion of its private banking and insurance products and services to other countries, including Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Development of new branch formats
The Group is also pursuing its strategy to pool operational resources so these can be shared at a sub-regional level The Bank thus has four shared service centres covering (IT, financing and electronic banking and four dedicated audit hubs. The Group will expand these pooling efforts with the launch of a marketing hub in June 2015, which will help harmonise product ranges and marketing campaigns across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group will also establish a leasing hub in central Africa.
In an environment characterized by the rapid emergence of skills and talents, Societe Generale is stepping up its strategy for training and promoting local managers, based on several pillars: high-level recruitment, encouraging functional and international mobility, strict requirements in terms of employment and the development of training and career paths.
"Africa is one of the few regions that is growing rapidly. Our unique positioning as a universal bank combining the advantages of a strong local presence and the expertise of a major international bank has placed us among the Top 3 international banks operating in Africa. Africa offers a lot of growth opportunities and we aim to speed up our development in the years to come by leveraging on the strengths of our universal banking model, while also taking advantage of synergies to serve our business and individual customers and help them meet their goals on the continent," said Bernardo Sanchez Incera, Societe Generale Group's Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
Alexandre Maymat, Head of the Africa/Asia/Mediterranean Basin and Overseas region, International Banking and Financial Services, said: "After expanding constantly for more than a century, Societe Generale has become a major player in Africa. It is known for the quality of its services, which are particularly well-suited to the continent. We have built a solid, dynamic and efficient franchise and managed our risks well. This profitable, controlled growth strategy means our support for our clients meets the highest international standards. By following this trajectory, Societe Generale intends to strengthen its leadership and establish itself in Africa as the bank of reference for its clients and employees”.