21 August 2012
Standard Bank Group recognised as leading trade finance bank in Africa
Standard Bank Group has been named Best Trade Bank in Africa, extending to six the
number of recent accolades that recognise the group's leading position in trade
finance on the continent.
The latest award was made as part of its annual Excellence Awards by Trade Forfaiting
Review (TFR), a leading global journal for all participants in trade and supply
In recent months, Standard Bank Group has been recognised for five additional awards
in the trade finance sector.
Global Trade Review (GTR) named Standard Bank as Best Trade Finance Bank in Sub-Saharan
Africa for 2011. The same journal recognised Standard Bank Group for one of the
Best Deals of 2011 for Standard Bank de Angola's issuing the first Chinese Renminbi-denominated
letter of credit - a landmark for the development of the Angolan trade finance market.
The letter of credit was issued for Angolan construction company Huafeng - Construção
Global Finance magazine named Standard Bank the Best Trade Finance Bank in South
Africa and Africa in its 2012 trade finance awards. Trade Finance magazine's Deal
of the Year award went to Standard Bank for its role in arranging a US$260-million
credit facility for Puma Energy, which refines, stores, transports and sells fuel
products around the world. The same magazine named Standard Bank as Best Trade Bank
in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Craig Polkinghorne, Standard Bank Group's Head of Structured Trade and Commodity
Finance, says receiving these awards from a number of independent sources is particularly
rewarding in the context of the changing trade environment in Africa. The awards
differ in that some publications reflect voting by that magazines' client base,
while others reflect the opinion of the major players in the trade finance industry.
"To be independently judged as successful through several awards is gratifying as
it provides further evidence of Standard Bank's traction in implementing its strategy
in Africa. Placing the continent at our core and building our operations across
Africa is an approach that we are confident will continue to deliver results," he
Mr Polkinghorne adds that Africa's booming commodities trade presents many opportunities
and challenges that Standard Bank Group is well-placed to address.
"International commodity traders are increasingly turning to African banks to finance
trade transactions as the uncertain global economic conditions, the Eurozone debt
crisis and tougher capital requirements are forcing major global banks to pull back
their lending in Africa. Furthermore, Standard Bank is well positioned to provide
transactional solutions for companies trading with or in Africa.
"This is happening just as Africa's trade continues to grow strongly across a broad
front of geographies and commodity sectors. Natural resources, both within the oil
and metals markets, and the buoyant agriculture sector continue to dominate trade
on the continent," says Mr Polkinghorne.
He says that Standard Bank Group's presence and credibility on the continent can
be seen in the number and nature of transactions where clients are choosing Africa's
largest bank for their trade finance requirements.
"An example of this trend can be seen in Standard Bank's recent completion of a
secured syndicated loan of US$250-million for the Tanzanian based Export Trading
Group (ETG), one of Africa's largest soft commodities companies."
The funding will be used primarily to finance ETG's procurement of agricultural
commodities from traders and farmers in Africa, as well as further develop its infrastructure
network across several countries and to help it expand further.
Mr Polkinghorne says that as lead arranger in this transaction, Standard Bank Group
demonstrated the ability to mobilise funds from local and international financial
institutions with which it enjoys strong relationships.
"The combination of our experience in investment banking, on-the-ground presence
and local knowledge of African markets allows us to successfully execute structured
He says an important change in growing Standard Bank Group's share of the general
trade finance market in Africa is that the bank is in a strong position in terms
of its capital and liquidity position, making the bank competitive relative to its
domestic and global competitors.
"Standard Bank's healthy balance sheet, depth of expertise and on-the ground presence
in key African commodity markets has enabled us to continue to increase lending
in key commodity sectors on the continent."
As the largest bank in Africa, we expect to continue playing a leading role in both
trade finance and trade services, thereby strengthening trade not only within the
continent but between African and other emerging markets."