Premier eyes deal, delays release of results

PREMIER Finance Group Ltd has sought a postponement of the publication of its interim financial results from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to allow a potential  shareholder to complete a due diligence examination into the financial services group.

According to insiders, Premier is expected to finalise a deal with EcoBank, a Nigerian financial services firm coming in as an investor, which would result in the dilution of the group’s shareholding.

“A grace period was sought so that the bank will incorporate all these developments,” businessdigest was told yesterday.
When reached for comment on Wednesday, Premier confirmed seeking an extension saying, “Yes this is true”.

Premier, however, said German investment house, African Development (ADC), would not abandon the bank although there would be shareholding changes.

The coming on board of Eco Bank would result in ADC’s shareholding of 54% being diluted. ADC last year acquired a 54% stake in Premier in a deal worth US$6 million.

Under the deal, ADC was to have a 45% shareholding while KMQ Enterprises, a Mauritius domiciled company, would own a 9% stake.

Of the remaining shareholding, 18% is held by a local consortium made up of investment banker, George Manyere as well as banker and chartered accountant Walter Kambwanji.

Former managing director Doug Mamvura has a 9% stake which he is said to be selling.

The balance of 18% is owned by local investors and an employee share trust.

In 2007 EcoBank made a move towards investing in the bank but the deal did not materialise.

So far 10 banks have announced their financial results. BancABC recorded a profit after tax of US$911 000 against US$286 000 achieved during the same period last year. CBZ Bank reported a US$9,8 million profit from US$3,3 million in the comparative period. FBC Bank posted a US$694 093 profit from US$557 526 profit recorded last year.

Kingdom reported a US$1,2 million profit after tax from a loss of US$109 483, MBCA Bank suffered a loss of US$4,424 million from another loss of US$812 160.

Metropolitan Bank achieved a profit after tax of US$1,1 million from US$1,2 million.
NMB Bank recorded a loss of US$1,8 million from US$1,6 million.

POSB’s profit after tax was US$1,6 million from a loss of US$796 469, Stanbic Bank profited US$2,1 million from US$348 000.
Barclays Bank Zimbabwe’s profit was US$611 000 from US$661 000.

TN Bank and Standard Chartered yesterday said they would be announcing their results soon.
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) also said they were finalising their accounts.

In March this year, Premier embarked on a restructuring exercise that resulted in the retrenchment of 25% of its staff.

The retrenchment packages included three months’ notice pay, cash in lieu of leave days, one month’s salary,  relocation allowance, a month and a half salary for every year worked, three months’ severance pay, 75% of value of motor vehicle, three months’ medical aid  and funeral cover, fuel allowance for one month and pension refund based on pension rules.

The bank also closed down its Belgravia and Avondale branches, re-positioning itself to become a corporate and investment bank.

Paul Nyakazeya

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