23 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Afrasia Bank Charms Investors

MAURITIAN banking group, AfrAsia Bank Limited (ABL), says it has charmed some investors in the recapitalisation exercise of its Zimbabwean operations.

The banking group is a shareholder in AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe Limited (ABZ) which seeks to raise US$15 million through a private placement to shore its capital base and mobilise deposits.

Kamben Padayachy, ABL deputy chief executive officer told Standardbusiness that the response to the private placement has been positive.

"We are presently in the book-building phase and investor response has been extremely positive. The exercise will soon be completed and we will announce the results accordingly," Padayachy said.

A book-building exercise refers to the process of generating, capturing, and recording investor demand for shares during the issuance process. In December the bank raised US$5 million from existing shareholders.

Padayachy said ABL had followed its rights in the US$5 million capital-raising initiative and remained a significant shareholder.

He said the final shareholding structure would be announced "once the private placement is completed as other investors are also looking at investing in ordinary shares".

ABZL's recapitalisation is set to reach the US$100 million threshold set by the central bank as minimum equity capital by 2020.

The deadline was supposed to have been June 30 but was moved to a later date in view of the prevailing liquidity constraints.

The first phase will raise US$20 million through a private placement and rights offer. Subsequent phases of private placement will follow.

Padayachy said ABL viewed the new instructions on bank capitalisation as "very positive".

"The banking sector needed more time to reach the US$100 million benchmark and we are confident to get there," he said.

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