Atlas Mara closes in on ADC

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BOB Diamond’s Atlas Mara is working with the African Development Corporation (ADC) to complete the offering prospectus to be delivered to ADC shareholders next month as it edges closer to acquiring the German-listed banking group.

CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER

In April, Atlas Mara — founded by ex-Barclays boss Diamond and billionaire Ashish J Thakkar — announced that it would buy a controlling shareholding in pan-African banking group, BancABC.

ADC has 37,7% shareholding in BancABC which has operations in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania.

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

In a letter to shareholders, ADC chief executive officer Dirk Harbecke said the offering prospectus should be delivered to ADC shareholders by mid-June.

“In order for the transaction to close, a total of 50% plus one share (on a fully diluted basis) of ADC shares must be tendered and regulatory approvals for the deal must be obtained both within the European Union and African countries with which ADC operates through the BancABC subgroup,” Harbecke said. Atlas Mara wants to gain a foothold of the African market and will tussle with Barclays and Ecobank among others, for control of the vast but untapped market.

The company raised $325 million when it debuted on the London Stock Exchange last year and wants to raise an additional $400 million 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.

The Frankfurt-based ADC has a 3,9% indirect shareholding in Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN). The equity in UBN is held in private equity consortium controlling 65% of the bank.

ADC also has an 88,5% shareholding in RSwitch, a major facilitator of payment transactions between banks in Rwanda.

It also has a 49% stake in electronic payment solutions and services provider in South Africa, evriPay, a 38,7% shareholding in Resolution Health, a health insurance provider in Kenya.

ADC also has a 19,1% shareholding in Brainworks Capital, a Zimbabwean investment firm primarily investing in the financial, mining, energy, hospitality and real estate sectors.

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