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Fidelity eyes Genesis Bank

Ndamu Sandu

FIDELITY Life Assurance of Zimbabwe Ltd, has set its eyes on Genesis Investment Bank as efforts to break into retail and merchant banking intensify.

Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Sources say the life assurance concern, with a 9,47% shareholding, was targeting Zimre Holdings Ltd (ZHL) equity as well as buying out minority shareholders to have a controlling stake.

“Fidelity will try to buy out other shareholders or achieve that through a share swap. The deal will be completed during the first quarter of next year,” the source said.

Market analysts said Fidelity had been looking for investment in terms of merchant and retail banking and Genesis proved to be the right candidate.

Industry experts said if the deal was concluded Fidelity would drive the financial service thrust of ZHL after the latter failed to increase its stake in First Bank Corporation and Zimbabwe Financial Holdings.

“It has to be noted that the move was necessitated by the fact that Zimre had failed to increase its stake in both First Bank Corporation and Finhold,” said a source closely following the events at ZHL.

Genesis executive director for finance Bright Mahere said he was not aware of any plans by Fidelity to take over Genesis.

“I am not aware of any plans by Fidelity to have a controlling shareholder. It has to be noted that this is a shareholders’ issue and the shareholders can agree on their own,” he said.

It is also reliably understood that Fidelity has taken over ZHL equity in Fidelity Life Asset Management (Flam) and Fidelity Securities Ltd.

Last week, Fidelity issued a cautionary statement saying it was involved in some “negotiations, which, if completed would have material effect on the value of the company”.

Genesis Investment Bank was formed after Genesis Capital Group acquired a majority shareholding in the Trade and Investment Bank (TIB) in February 2001.

Before the take-over, TIB was headed by former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Kombo Moyana.

Genesis was thrown into turmoil in 2002 resulting in the intervention of the central bank, which placed it under curatorship from July to December 31.

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