ABC Holdings, the parent company of pan African banking group BancABC, says the process of obtaining regulatory approval to sell a controlling shareholding to Atlas Mara is progressing well.
BY NDAMU SANDU
This could mean that Atlas Mara — founded by ex-Barclays Plc chief executive Bob Diamond and billionaire Ashish Thakkar — is closer to concluding the acquisition of a 50,1% shareholding in the pan African banking group.
In a notice on Friday, ABC Holdings said: “Further to the renewal of the cautionary announcement on July 11 2014 in relation to the Atlas Mara transaction first published on April 1 2014, the company would like to advise shareholders that the process of obtaining regulatory and other approvals is progressing well.”
ABC advised shareholders to “continue exercising caution when dealing in the company’s securities until a further announcement is made”.
In April Atlas Mara announced that it would buy a controlling stake in BancABC’s parent company to establish a premier financial services group in sub-Saharan Africa.
BancABC has banking operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Atlas Mara also made a voluntary offer to acquire a majority stake in African Development Corporation (ADC), bringing total ownership in BancABC up to 88% and a subsequent mandatory offer for the remaining 12% stake in BancABC.
Last month, ADC board and supervisory management advised shareholders to accept the public share-for-share offer by Atlas Mara as financially fair.
Atlas Mara was offering five ordinary shares for four shares of ADC.
The offer corresponds to an implied price of £10,45 (about US$14,32) per ADC share, representing a premium of 16,7% to ADC’s closing price on March 28.
The acquisition of BancABC was seen as an entry into the resource-rich Sadc bloc with rising trade flows, strong gross domestic product and a growing population of 286 million.
BancABC, Atlas Mara 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.
Atlas Mara sees the region as a highly-sought-after market for banks looking to develop into pan African players.
It said BancABC was a fast growing banking group focused on southern Africa recording an average of 42% in annual growth in loans since 2009.
In December, Atlas Mara raised US$325 million to invest on the continent. Last month, Atlas Mara announced that it had secured US$300 million from a recent private placement and a commitment agreement for a debt facility of up to US$200 million to finance its pan African drive.