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Banking Group Sheds Non-core Business

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed banking group, African Banking Corporation Holdings (ABCH), will divest out of all “non-core” businesses, CEO Doug Munatsi says.

Munatsi says the group should complete a sale of its Starafrica shareholding by end of February.

The group holds 23,27% in Starafrica Corporation and 14,5% in PG Industries Zimbabwe.

Munatsi says the group was selling to investors who “have the interest of the company at heart”.

He said: “We are in the process of disposing our Starafrica shares. The sale will be complete by end of February. We will sell to investors with the company’s interests at heart and who will be able to work with our partners in Starafrica where we have an interest in non-core business.”

ABCH jointly held shares in Starafrica with management of the conglomerate to become the majority shareholders.

The banking group’s 14,5% shareholding in PG Industries was complemented by a partnership with Shingi Mutasa’s TA Holdings Ltd.

Munatsi says his group will be refocusing its attention to its core business, banking, after the sale.

Last month, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) picked up part of the ABCH’s shareholding, according to the company’s shareholder register. NSSA is a shareholder of choice with a deep pocket in a dry market.

The banker believes it’s time to go back to what the group does best saying the decision to acquire non-core assets was meant to preserve value in the face of hyperinflation.

Apart from its Starafrica and PG Industries shareholding, ABCH holds 30,15% in PG Botswana.

Analysts say the stabilisation of the economy ushered in by the formation of a unity government between rivals Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe, and dollarisation last year, have seen companies with investments outside their core businesses divesting.

Delta last year sold its shareholding in Ariston Holdings and is selling the group’s other holdings.

Starafrica is a holding company of firms primarily involved in the refining, packaging and marketing of sugar and the manufacture of specified sugar-based products, wholesale, bulk haulage, engineering.

ABCH has banking operations in the region and has a listing in Botswana.


Chris Muronzi

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