“The decision of exiting those markets is based on a strategic decision that was taken by the group to refocus our resources, and attention to markets where we see growth and scale opportunities. We will be selling the shareholding of the Standard Chartered Bank in the Gambia to strategic investors who will own the majority of shares. The bank is not shutting down its door and leaving the country, the operations will continue with new ownership.”
Mr. Manjang clarified that 75% of the shares of Standard Chartered Gambia is owned by the group and 25% is owned by the minority shareholders who are Gambians, saying it is the majority shareholder who will sell all the 75% shareholding to a new buyer.
He assured this will be a very orderly process, a process that can take about one to two years, adding that during this period, everything will continue as normal. He reiterated that the staff would continue to be employed by the bank; all their benefits are assured and nothing will be reduced.
“The clients will also continue to be served. The brand Standard Chartered will no longer be in the market but operations in terms of people, the clients, and the resources will continue. We have similar experiences in other markets like Nigeria.”
Responding to a question in a situation where there is no buyer, Mr. Manjang stated that they do not envisage a situation where there is no buyer because the bank is valuable. He added Standard Chartered is a bank that has an excellent balance sheet, highly liquid, and well-capitalised. He continued there is a very valuable franchise where they expect a number of interested buyers who want to buy the share.
“The strategic decision that was taken was on the basis of the growth opportunities that we see, the scale of the market we operate in. In Africa and the Middle East, we have seen substantial scale and growth opportunities in Egypt and therefore, the bank has got a license and will be operating in Egypt. Similarly in the Middle East, we have obtained a license last year and we will be operating in Saudi Arabia.”
From a strategic point of view, he said the decision focused on those markets where they see substantial growth and scales opportunities to ensure that is where their resources are diverted.