British banking group Barclays is planning to expand its business footprint in the African nation of Nigeria without making a large and expensive acquisition in the country.
Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins was quoted by bdlive.co.za as saying that the bank will cautiously work to strengthen its operation in the country.
The bank is likely to launch corporate banking in Nigeria to tap the opportunities being presented by multinational companies looking to expand into Africa, similar to that of FirstRand's Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).
Barclays Africa Group, which acquired Absa in South African in September this year, does not have much representation in Nigeria.
Jenkins told the news portal, "We have a rep office there. We do some business in Nigeria and we are going to grow that business and I think quite cautiously over time and then we will see what opportunities present themselves."
"Obviously in the medium term we would like to have a bigger presence there but we are not going to make some big inorganic play which would be very expensive."
Jenkins added that the bank has yet not contemplated whether to apply for a license or acquire some business in the country. He said that all options are open.
"We have a unique footprint from the African continent and so bringing our corporate customers to Africa is going to be a very important strategic focus for us and that's the unique advantage of Barclays because we have got a global footprint and we have got the presence," Jenkins added.
"If you put those two things together it's a very powerful combination. So a lot of this is about execution and accelerating the pace of execution within the context of our aspirations to be the Go To Bank."
In order to operate the business smoothly, the banking group is reportedly mulling over integration of the assets of its African operations combined in one place.
Barclays offers personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management, trades in more than 50 nations and has a work force of nearly 140,000 employees.