If Mauritius is famously known as the “star and key of the Indian Ocean”, the MCB Group is undoubtedly the channel towards which corporate and institutional banking clients will turn in order to underpin their development across the region.
Mauritius: the region’s premier business destination
Situated in the golden triangle of Africa, Asia and Australia, Mauritius has successfully positioned itself as a competitive regional financial, trade and investment hub boasting a business-friendly environment and a sound legal and regulatory framework. Its open, market-based economy is ranked 1st in Africa by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2015, and its conducive fiscal regime, investment-grade sovereign rating status and adherence to international regulatory standards have attracted international business from across the world.
With respect to its unique geography, Mauritius is well-positioned to capture and act as facilitator for a significant part of the Asia-Africa trade corridor, as well as intra-regional trade. Its preferential market access to major regional economic and trading blocs such as SADC and COMESA, and its network of over 45 Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (of which about 19 are with African countries) make it an ideal business jurisdiction and destination in itself. An ambitious economic programme launched in 2015 that includes, amongst others, large investments in port facilities, looks set to transform Mauritius into a petroleum, transhipment, bunkering and seafood hub. Therefore, future prospects for trade services in the country look promising; this trend, coupled with its highly sophisticated financial centre, in which MCB Group is the dominant player, indicates a bright future for trade finance services in Mauritius and the region.
MCB: East Africa’s largest banking group
Founded in 1838, MCB Group is an integrated banking and financial services player, with over 3,000 employees, and is the number one banking group in East Africa (The Banker, July 2015). It offers a wide range of tailored and innovative solutions through dedicated local and foreign subsidiaries, associates and representative offices spanning nine countries. Leveraging its international presence, MCB offers bespoke world-class services to individuals and businesses around the globe, ranging from private, corporate and institutional banking, global business, retail banking, capital markets and card services, to consulting services. Its banking entity is rated investment grade by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings.
Awards and recognition
MCB has been the recipient of numerous awards:
Bank of the Year 2015 for Mauritius (The Banker Awards)
Best Bank in Mauritius and Best Product Launch in Africa for our mobile payments platform ‘Juice’ (EMEA Finance African Banking
Commercial Bank of the Year for Mauritius (International Banker 2015 Banking Awards)
Best Trade Finance Bank for two consecutive years (2014 & 2015) for Mauritius (Global Trade Review)
Best Bank in Mauritius (Euromoney Awards for Excellence Survey 2015)
Best Private Bank in Mauritius (PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards 2014)
Best Investment Management Company in Mauritius for 2015 attributed to MCB Investment Management Co. Ltd (World Finance Investment Management Awards 2015
Gearing up for Africa’s rise
Over the past decade, Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced sustained and broad-based economic growth, and despite a recent tapering of economic activity attributable to, amongst other factors, falling commodity prices, MCB is confident about the long-term growth prospects of the region.
Indeed, the Group expansion into the region dates back to 1991, and going forward, MCB is positioning itself to accompany and help further this development. In 2014, MCB pursued a restructuring exercise initiated to separate its banking and non-banking operations, and strengthened its capital base through the issue of subordinated notes. These measures, coupled with a network of over 200 correspondent banks across 39 African countries, ideally position MCB to underpin the booming business activity and trade operations in the region. Moreover, against a backdrop of increasing regulatory pressure around the world in response to the recent global financial crisis, this restructuring ensures that MCB is fully compliant to international standards on capital adequacy and reporting standards, such as Basel III.
MCB’s expansion strategies in Africa and the region have yielded impressive results, to the extent that foreign-sourced income accounted for about 55% of the group’s revenues in its last financial year ending 30 June 2015. It is also important to note that revenue derived from the bank’s expanding regional trade finance activities continues to provide a notable contribution to MCB’s net fees and commissions and, thus, its bottom-line results. Overall, as the group continues to add value to its clients across the Sub-Saharan African region, the contribution to socio-economic development and key sectors such as telecommunications, agriculture, aquaculture and transport has helped create wider benefits for the countries in which we are involved. As part of the continued key role that MCB intends to play in supporting regional economic development, the bank has negotiated a financing facility of US$150mn with the African Development Bank (AfDB), consisting of a US$120mn seven-year multi-sector line of credit and a US$30mn 10-year subordinated debt.
Catch the trade winds in your sails with MCB as your privileged partner!
As one of the region’s largest financial services provider, MCB Group leverages its network of international correspondents and access to global finance to provide custom-made financial solutions and dedicated relationship management to corporate and institutional clients in the region. Trade finance services form an important component of its banking activities and have been dispensed across various countries of the Sub-Saharan region, as well as other markets such as India.
MCB’s active involvement in this sector is in line with its strategy and vision, which is to be the engine of trade finance in Mauritius and the region.
In addition to servicing Mauritian companies’ trade and business activities in Africa (ie import/export services, credit protection, bank guarantees), MCB also handles the trade finance, payments and cards operations outsourcing of its African banking counterparts through its ‘Bank of Banks’ initiative. Its broad product offering encompasses trade, commodity, export and supply chain finance, but also specialised desks and areas of expertise; notably, it is a privileged partner in structured finance with respect to commodity trade, with activities focusing on the provision of bespoke self-liquidating finance facilities. The bank counts regional oil traders and importers as well as some of the world’s top commodity traders as clients.
Today, MCB’s track record in trade finance services has helped establish the bank as a privileged partner; over 46 FIs and corporates spread across 21 countries benefit from our value proposition, including domestic clients, African corporations seeking pan-African expansion, and Asian companies seeking an African footprint, amongst others. Supported by the bank’s differentiated set of customised, high-end financial solutions (such as Silent Payment Guarantees and the Kenyan Oil Open Tender System for Oil & Gas) and dedicated relationship management, clients are able to concentrate on business development while operational risks are managed effectively, industry best practices are adhered to and in-house fixed costs are transformed into variable costs.
The recognition of MCB’s value proposition through the “Best Local Trade Finance Bank – Mauritius” accolade attributed by GTR Magazine for both 2014 and 2015 bodes well for the bank’s future. In addition, the bank’s increasing presence, participation and leadership in international and regional conferences* position MCB’s Trade Finance Hub as the prominent and preferred banking partner for trade financing solutions in the region going forward. In anticipation of client needs and upcoming regional developments, the group has bolstered internal capabilities with respect to its structured trade finance product offering, while reinforcing the value chain, namely from an origination and risk perspective. Our uncompromising adherence to global best practices in operational set-ups and organisational structure ensures that our promise of outstanding service and dedicated relationship management are fulfilled.
*In April 2015, Mauritian financial services major the MCB Group organised a forward-thinking event with the theme being “How to secure your transactions in international trade and avoid hidden costs”.
*In October 2015, MCB was the platinum sponsor for the GTR Africa Mauritius Trade Finance Conference 2015 in Mauritius.