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Bramer Bank of Mauritius Looks to Africa for Revenue Boost

Bramer Banking Corp. (BBCL), Mauritius’s third-biggest lender by market value, expects its African business to more than double and account for a quarter of revenue as it focuses on operations in Africa.

“Although it will be a tough year, we expect regional activities to rise to 25 percent of revenue from about 10 percent through trade financing, corporate banking and syndicated loans,” Acting Chief Executive Officer Ashraf Esmael said in an interview on Oct. 5, in Port Louis, the capital.

Mauritius, an Indian Island Ocean nation of 1.3 million people, has 20 licensed lenders, according to Bank of Mauritius data. Mauritius has seen reduced demand from Europe, which accounts for 60 percent of the nation’s exports, because of the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

Bramer’s two biggest competitors are Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) and State Bank of Mauritius Ltd. (SBM), which have a combined 39 percent weighting in the 39-member SEMDEX (SEMDEX) gauge. Its loan book was 6.4 billion rupees ($210 million) by the end of June, according to a statement on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius website, while deposits were 8.5 billion rupees. After-tax income for the two months through June was 2 million rupees.

“When you are a small bank, it is easier to grow faster through offering products different from the mainstream,” Esmael said. “In the wake of the crisis, we aim at being flexible with corporate clients. It’s a long-term plan,” he said, referring to the euro-area crisis

Sun Resorts Ltd., the country’s second-biggest leisure company by market value, secured a 4.5 million-euro loan from Bramer last month, and the bank is positioning itself to loan to small small companies through a network of about 170 outlets, Esmael said.

Since its shares started trading on May 9, Bramer has fallen 15 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a 1.8 percent loss by the largest lender, Mauritius Commercial Bank, and a 3.1 percent gain by State Bank of Mauritius, the second-largest lender. All the lenders’ shares were unchanged today in Port Louis trading. The SEMDEX index is down 5.6 percent over the period.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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