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Old Mutual to rescue NMB

Kuda Chikwanda

OLD Mutual has approached NMBZ Holdings with a US$2,3 million bailout package for its troubled subsidiary NMB Bank in exchange for equity, businessdige

can reveal.

Old Mutual is the largest shareholder in NMB with 21,76% held in two separate investments of 19,55% and 2,21%.

The current value of Old Mutual’s stake in NMB stands at more than $1 trillion. At the OMIR of US$1: 411 452 Old Mutual will have to pay an equivalent of $946 billion for the stake.

Although the valuations and due diligence are still being done, sources close to the issue said Old Mutual is likely to be allotted an additional 13% of shares which will bring their stake in NMBZ to 34%.

NMB is battling to plug the hole left after a syndicate of officers in the treasury department siphoned US$6,3 million from the bank over 23 months.

The chief suspect, Shane Mandara, who was an assistant manager in the treasury department, has since fled the country.

“Old Mutual expressed interest to cover the gap in exchange for shares. The offer is on the table. I must however say that the talks are still at their early stages,” said a senior official at NMB.

“NMB needs hard currency in order to close the gap. They still owe depositors US$2,3 million and there is no way the clients will be paid in local currency.”

The source said the deal was currently awaiting the completion of NMB’s due diligence. The results of the forensic audit currently going on at the bank will also determine the course and nature of the deal.

Efforts to get a comment from NMB’s outgoing chief executive David Hatendi were fruitless as he was said to be in meetings. Old Mutual’s spokesperson Margaret Vera had also not responded at the time of going to press last night.

The deal has thwarted plans by two local institutions that had been willing to take advantage of the current crisis to get a stake in NMB.

Old Mutual tops the 10 largest shareholders in NMB followed by Cornerstone Trust (10,55%), Alsace Trust (10,55%), Wamambo Investments Trust (8,89%), Drakmore Investments (6,85%), Messina Investments Ltd (4,19%), Elisha Investments (3,34%), Martcap Investments (3,19%), Local Authorities Pension Fund (3,18%) and Palisades Ltd (2,64%). NMB traded at $3 000 yesterday.

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