BRASILIA, Nov 6(Reuters) - South Africa’s Standard Bank Group Ltd encouraged Brazilian engineering and construction firms on Tuesday to explore African opportunities, such as the world’s largest liquid natural gas projects in Mozambique.
While incoming President-elect Jair Bolsonaro says he will focus on relations with advanced economies, Standard Bank is betting on Brazilian companies needing to diversify abroad to recover from a recession at home.
South Africa’s largest lender by assets serves Brazilian clients in Africa, such as miner Vale and oil company Petrobras, and sees opportunities for others in the continent, particularly in two vast LNG projects in Mozambique with a combined investment projected at about $55 billion.
“Our aim today is to outline the benefits and scale of the Mozambican opportunities for Brazilian clients,” Paul Taylor, the banks’ global head for oil and gas, said in a telephone interview before meeting with Brazilian companies in Sao Paulo.
The two rival LNG projects developed by Exxon Mobil and Anadarko Petroleum will tap large reserves found deep offshore, an area where Brazil has experience, and the gas will be liquefied onshore, Taylor said.
Standard Bank Group, in which China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the largest shareholder with a 20 percent stake, has financed Brazilian food exports to Africa and is advising Brazilian companies on mergers and acquisitions in the continent.
The bank’s country head for Brazil, Natalia Dias, said its Brazilian clients were trying to develop a more international business strategy after Brazil’s recent crisis and it was too early to see what Bolsonaro’s policies would be after he takes office on Jan. 1.
“That’s our bet. We have yet to see what key measures the new government will take on foreign policy. We need to wait and see what the drivers will be,” she said.
Africa is a relevant market for Brazil that will continue to grow, not just for companies that build roads, bridges and ports, but for Brazilian food exports.
With 60 percent of all the arable and uncultivated land in the world, and similar soil conditions, Brazilian agribusiness companies should look to produce in Africa to protect their market share, Dias said. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bernadette Baum)