ABC on course to sell stake to Atlas Mara

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ABC Holdings says regulatory and other approvals are being sought for the disposal of its controlling shareholding to a company owned by former Barclays Plc chief executive officer Bob Diamond.

CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER

Under the BancABC brand, ABC Holdings has banking operations in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania.

In a notice to shareholders, ABC Holdings said: “Further to the previous announcement published by ABC Holdings Limited on 6 May 2014 in relation to the Atlas Mara transaction announced on 1 April 2014, shareholders are advised that regulatory and other approvals are currently being sought.

“Shareholders are advised to continue exercising caution when dealing with the company’s securities until a further announcement is made.”

In April, Atlas Mara — founded by Diamond and billionaire Ashish J Thakkar — announced that it would buy 50,1% in pan-African banking group, BancABC.

Atlas Mara also made a voluntary offer to acquire a majority stake in African Development Corporation bringing total ownership in BancABC up to 88% and a subsequent mandatory offer for the remaining 12% stake in BancABC.

According to Atlas Mara’s investor timeline, the closing date of direct agreements for 50,1% of BancABC would be done by August. Atlas Mara wants to gain a foothold on the African market and would achieve that through acquisitions.

It raised $325 million when it debuted on the London Stock Exchange last year and wants to raise an additional $400 million war chest to support the growth of BancABC, future acquisitions and bolt-on opportunities, and for general corporate purposes.

Atlas Mara sees the acquisition of BancABC as an entry into the resource-rich Sadc bloc with rising trade flows and strong gross domestic product.

It says BancABC is a fast-growing (42% average annual growth in loans since 2009) banking group focused on southern Africa. Atlas Mara said BancABC was led by a highly-regarded management team that had worked together for over a decade.

BancABC, it said, was capable of offering a range of banking products including corporate banking, treasury services, retail and SME banking, asset management and stock-broking. Atlas Mara said the expansion to date of BancABC was strong, but hamstrung by capital constraints.

Last Friday, Atlas Mara announced that it had agreed to acquire the government of Rwanda’s 77% shareholding in the commercial arm of the Development Bank of Rwanda subject to the satisfaction of certain regulatory and other conditions. Atlas Mara said when completed, the transaction would broaden its footprint in the East African community.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Nyorai maHeadlines enyu zvakanaka, when one reads your headline they would think that ABC has a stake in Atlas Mara they wish to dispose

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