African Banking Corporation Holdings (ABC Holdings) is merging with the Finance Bank of Zambia as the group embarks on a retrenchment exercise at its South Africa office to improve operating efficiencies, businessdigest has established.
By Bernard Mpofu
ABC Holdings owns BancABC, a commercial banking unit, which is 98,70% owned by Atlas Mara, an investment company co-owned by former Barclays Plc chief executive Bob Diamond and African entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar.
The ABC acquisition was the first major deal by Diamond, who was forced out of the global bank last year when it was fined US$450 million for allegedly manipulating the Libor interbank lending rate.
Sources close to the developments said the bank has begun a voluntary retrenchment exercise in South Africa while employees at its Zambian branch received retrenchment letters with the option to re-apply after the proposed merger sails through.
“As we speak, interviews are in progress. FBZ has a strong presence in Zambia and has over 100 active automated teller machines. This merger will certainly be a good one for the group,” a source privy to the developments said. The group confirmed on the developments in South Africa.
“ABC Holdings confirms that the company has initiated a restructuring process in line with section 189 of the South African Labour Relations Act,” it said. “The current process impacts only the offices in South Africa and will not result in the closure of the offices. As part of this process, the company decided to open up an opportunity for employees to apply for voluntary separation and voluntary early retirement.”
ABC Holdings could not, however, comment any further “on this internal process.”
Atlas Mara last year acquired pan-African banking group, ABC Holdings — which owns BancABC — along with its ADC purchase.
Last year, BancABC Zimbabwe fired 75 workers, sparking demonstrations outside its Arundel offices as the financial institution joined many local companies that retrenched following the July 31 Supreme Court ruling which makes it easier to dismiss employees without severance pay.