Barclays, Britain’s second-biggest bank, is seeking to boost revenue from the Middle East and North Africa by as much as 25 percent annually over the next five years and will hire about 100 people in the region in 2012.
Revenue “aspirations are in the range” of a 20 percent to 25 percent compound annual increase, helped by the wealth, investment management and trade finance businesses, John Vitalo, chief executive officer for the Middle East and North Africa, said.
The bank will add about 100 people to its staff of about 1,000 in the region, he said.
The Middle East and Africa generated about $8bn of revenue for Barclays last year, about 15 percent of the global total, according to the London-based company’s annual report.
Banks such as Barclays, HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered are stepping up lending in the Middle East again as rising oil revenue revives the region’s economy after the credit crisis of 2008.
The number of millionaires in the Middle East rose 10 percent to 400,000 in 2010 and their wealth by 13 percent to $1.7trn, according to the Capgemini and Merrill Lynch 2011 World Wealth Report.
Barclays is growing its balance sheet “modestly” and is posting “respectable growth” in revenue and pretax profit in the Middle East and North Africa, said Vitalo, 47. He took up his present post in 2009.
The lender’s investment-banking unit, which includes debt capital markets and mergers and acquisitions advisory, has a “pretty good pipeline,” he said, without giving details.
Barclays helped to arrange a $750m bond sale for the National Bank of Abu Dhabi in March and a $1bn offering for Qatar National Bank in February.
Companies in the Middle East have been raising about 80 percent of their borrowings through bank loans and 20 percent from bond sales, unlike the US, where companies rely on the capital markets for about 80 percent of their debt, Vitalo said.
Bond sales from the Middle East will increase in coming years as continental European lenders reduce lending to the Middle East, he said.