ABC Holdings to engage govt on empowerment deal

ABC Holdings to engage govt on empowerment deal

By Bernard Mpofu, HARARE, April 2 (The Source) – Banking group, ABC Holdings will open negotiations with government on empowerment regulations after an investment company backed by former Barclays Plc chief executive officer, Bob Diamond proposed to buy its entire shareholding.

Chief executive Douglas Munatsi told The Source on Tuesday that he expected government to accommodate Atlas Mara and relax rules that compel foreign owned companies to sell 51 percent shares to locals.

“They (Atlas Mara) know that they must work within confines of the law. But the ministers of indigenisation and finance have said they will look at this on a case by case basis for the best way for different sectors,” Munatsi said.

“The fact that they have actually come and they want to put money into Zimbabwe means that they are not oblivious to the rules.”

Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa said: “They have assured me that they will abide by the indigenisation laws and they will in due course put up their plan with the ministry of indigenisation and also setting out the time frame. “Investments outside mining are not for free. They are free to choose local partners and also to decide and negotiate a price.”

Atlas Mara, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange last month entered into a conditional purchase agreement with selected shareholders of ABCH  to purchase 50,1 percent of the group’s issued shares at a price of $0,82 per share or  equivalent of Atlas Mara shares.

It also has an agreement to buy all African Development Corporation (ADC) shares through a public share-for-share takeover offer which would give it a further 37 percent of ABCH, with an offer to the minorities or the remaining shares planned.

The company has committed to inject $100 million in capital within the first 100 days of the acquisition should the deal receive regulatory and shareholder approval.