New Zimbabwe.com

BancABC to float €150 million bond

BANKING group, ABC Holdings is planning to float a 150 million euro bond to support the local banking sector through loans, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
Addressing journalists at a joint press conference with Atlas Mara co-founders, former Barclays Plc chief executive Bob Diamond and billionaire African entrepreneur Ashish Thikkar, who are in the process of acquiring a controlling stake in the pan-African banking group, Chinamasa said the investment would address the liquidity crisis facing the country.
“They have promised me that they are going to organise issuance of a European bond of up to 150 million euro and the prospects of raising this I am assured are quite high,” he said.
ABC group chief executive, Douglas Munatsi said the bank was almost through with the “mechanics” of the bond and was now waiting for the takeover transaction to go through.
“As soon as we complete this transaction, even before the actual close, and investors are sure about what the ownership is going to be, having cleared all the other regulatory issues, we are good to go,” he said.
He said even though ABCH was currently not rated internationally, the “appetite for that bond is very strong.”
Chinamasa said the investment into ABC was a ‘very positive development’ for Zimbabwe’s financial sector.
“To get our economy out of the doldrums we need first to fix the financial services sector as a matter of priority,” he said.
“We welcome foreign direct investment and I want to assure you that we are a safe destination.”
He said government had made “progress” towards restoring the central bank’s role as lender of last resort through injecting $200 million into the bank.
Diamond said Atlas Mara would not only bring capital into ABCH, but also new technology, innovation and infrastructure.
“We feel the combination will be of significant benefit for our international investors and most importantly a significant benefit for jobs and economic growth,” he said.
Technology entrepreneur Thakkar said Atlas Mara would ensure bancABC makes a bigger play for mobile banking.
“We want to help increase banking penetration in the country,” he said, adding that there were not enough financial institutions venturing into mobile banking.Advertisement