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France’s Natixis to make Dubai capital markets hub for Mideast, Africa

France’s Natixis to make Dubai capital markets hub for Mideast, Africa

In the past two years, Natixis has increased staffing levels in Dubai by around 50 per cent to 45 people

Natixis plans to make Dubai the centre for its debt capital markets business in the Middle East and Africa as the emirate takes on a more international role for the French bank, its head of financing and global markets told Reuters.

Natixis, a unit of French lender Groupe BPCE, aims to generate 51 per cent of its revenue from outside its home market by the end of 2017.

A large chunk of the bank’s business in Africa is booked out of its headquarters in Paris, but a growing slice now originates in Dubai.

“We are not very far from making Dubai the centre for DCM [debt capital markets] for Middle East and Africa,” Olivier Perquel, the bank’s head of financing and global markets, said in an interview with Reuters.

“For the time being, it is clear Dubai could have some people who will have a more global role than just GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], so we could see Dubai’s role as a hub growing slightly more than our other offices.”

The emirate has emerged as the biggest commercial centre for the Middle East and its ties with Africa have tightened with improving air and sea connection.

In the past two years, Natixis has increased staffing levels in Dubai by around 50 per cent to 45 people. The Middle East and Africa accounted for 3 per cent of Natixis’s 317bn euros ($361.09bn) total global exposure at the end of March, according to the bank’s financial statement.

“In Dubai the three big drivers are transportation, tourism and trade,” Simon Eedle, group regional head of the Middle East at Natixis, said. “We are working with the Gulf airlines, trade is something we are looking to build to enable credit to names we know they can repay and for tourism, if we see a deal with good cashflow we will look at it.”

In Africa, the opportunities are in energy, commodities, infrastructure projects and debt capital markets, Perquel said.

Infrastructure spending in sub-Saharan Africa will grow by 10 per cent per year over the next decade to reach more than $180bn by 2025, accountancy firm PwC estimated in a recent report.

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