JP Morgan eyes Africa for growth

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JP Morgan Chase presently has branches in South Africa and Nigeria. JP Morgan Chase presently has branches in South Africa and Nigeria.

American multinational investment bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co has confirmed plans to expand in Africa as it sees international investors appetite in the African growth story.

The New York-based lender presently has branches in South Africa and Nigeria.

It is hiring in sub-Saharan Africa as it works with companies to list their shares in London despite Brexit uncertainty.

“There are fast-growing businesses in Africa, that’s why we’re able to get these IPOs underway,” said Barry Meyers, managing director of JPMorgan’s UK capital markets and sub-Saharan Africa business, declining to be specific on deals.

“International investors are interested and more open to the African growth story than ever before.”

More offerings are expected over the next 12 months as African businesses seek to tap deeper pools of capital, he said. The increased interest comes amid a $3.5 billion share sale by Airtel Africa Ltd., London’s third-largest IPO this year, and follows a roadshow by officials from the London Stock Exchange earlier this year to spur more issuance.

Interest is starting to spill over into South Africa, where deal flow has been hindered by a contracting economy. Talks with foreign investors are becoming more frequent in an environment of greater political stability, Kevin Latter, the head of JPMorgan’s South African operations, said in a separate interview in Johannesburg.

“There’s a renewed interest in South African corporates because they are well run, well managed, cheap and have regional proximity to what’s going to be the biggest consumer growth area in the next 20 years,” he said. “Yes, growth is low but it’s predictably low.”

JPMorgan has grown consistently in the past few years and now has 180 regional staff, Latter said. It will continue to “invest in people as we look to grow our capabilities both in South Africa and more broadly in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Our own strategy and how we are running our own business reinforces what we believe the landscape to be for other international and South African corporates,” Latter said.

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