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Heads roll at ABC Holdings

BancABC Botswana unaffected by changes

The arrival of Robert Diamond’s Atlas Mara has set heads rolling at Banc ABC parent company, ABC Holdings. Simbarashe Pfende, previously headed Standard Bank’s operations in Nigeria and Uganda, will lead a new management team picked by Bob Diamond’s Atlas Mara to take over the reins at Botswana-based banking group, African Banking Corporation (ABC).


Diamond and Ashish Thakkar, a Ugandan businessman – who founded Atlas Mara – are buying banking properties across the continent, which they say offers massive investment opportunities.


Their company, which raised more than $320 million (P3.5 billion) in an initial public offering in December last year, bought into ABC, which owns the BancABC banking operations in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
The transaction, which marked Atlas Mara’s first entry into the African banking scene, had a value of about $265m.


However, the changes at the parent, will not affect the Botswana chapter of BancABC.


The company said on Monday that the departure of the BancABC management team – including chief executive Douglas Munatsi, chief financial officer Beki Moyo and Francis Dzanya, the group’s chief operating officer at the end of this year – would result in the regional banking group incurring a once-off income charge of nearly $5.8m in the last quarter of the current year.


According to a release by ABC, Munatsi, Moyo and Dzanya received a total of 1 743 888 Atlas Mara shares in consideration for the transfer of their shares in ABC Holdings at the time of the completion of the BancABC acquisition.
It added that "in connection with" the departure of the three, Atlas Mara had agreed to purchase their shares at a price of $10 per share.


The company said that the repurchased shares would be held in treasury, in addition to other arrangements agreed at the time of the transaction.


"The departing management team has been granted options over a total of 1 521 838 ordinary shares. The options have a strike price of $12 per share and are also subject to certain repurchase obligations." Zimbabwean economist Jeffrey Kasirori said that the African banking scene, especially in markets such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia required high investment to sustain.


He added that the departure of the management at BancABC would have been part of the agreements under the transaction that saw Atlas Mara buy into ABC.


APPOINTMENTS
John Vitalo, the current chief executive at Atlas Mara, has been appointed interim chairman of BancABC while Bradford Gibbs, who sits on the investment group’s executive committee, now occupies a position on the new board of the regional banking group.


Atlas Mara said it had also appointed Makhosi Boyede, a former executive with Absa, and former Barclays’ head of operations, Amelia Reynecke, as joint chief operating officers.


Pfende will lead the new team as chief executive, tasked with maintaining the group’s operations on a growth trajectory in all its regional markets.


Clergy Simatyaba, the managing director at the Zambian BancABC unit, said that "the 100 percent acquisition" of BancABC by Atlas Mara had boosted "operations because we have both local and international" expertise.
ABC Holdings has 100 percent stake in Banc ABC in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and a 94 percent stake in Tanzania.


Robert Diamond’s  HYPERLINK "http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/ATMA:LN" o "Get Quote" Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd. (ATMA) is reportedly looking for more acquisitions in Southern Africa after buying lenders in Botswana and Rwanda.
“We will be as aggressive as we can within the limits of prudence,” the company executives have been quoted as saying, with the company looking at a number of potential deals in Southern Africa.


Diamond, who quit as Barclays CEO in 2012 in the wake of a fine for manipulating benchmark interest rates, and Ugandan entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar raised $325 million in an initial public offering last year. The investment firm, to which Diamond and Thakkar committed $20 million of their own money, is looking for African financial-services companies that can help businesses manage currency and commodity risks.


Atlas Mara has raised a total $825 million in equity and debt, the bank earlier August this year, completed the acquisition of Botswana’s BancABC and is also buying a 77 percent stake in the commercial arm of the Development Bank of  HYPERLINK "http://topics.bloomberg.com/rwanda/" Rwanda from the government.


ABC Holdings Limited is the holding company for a number of operating companies across sub-Saharan Africa each with independent banking licenses. ABC Holdings head office is in Botswana where it is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange as well as a secondary listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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