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Atlas Mara quits Moza quest as Barclays joins the fray

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European and African banking groups are conducting due diligence on Moza Banco and preparing binding bids for a deadline at the end of May – but Atlas Mara and Angola’s BIC have left the field, Zitamar News understands.

Seven banks submitted expressions of interest to the Bank of Mozambique to recapitalise 80% of Moza Banco, rescued by the central bank last September after its liquidity fell to dangerously low levels.

The existing shareholders, Mozambican investment company Moçambique Capitais and Portugal’s Novo Banco, had the opportunity to recapitalise Moza with the MZN 8.17 billion ($116m) that the Bank of Mozambique spent keeping it afloat. Moçambique Capitais tried and failed to raise the cash before a deadline of 23 March, but may still compete with other bidders in this latest phase.

Sources close to the process told Zitamar that Atlas Mara, the Dubai-headquartered African banking group led by former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, has withdrawn its interest after spending more than two years in pursuit of Moza.

Atlas Mara, whose Botswana-based BancABC group has a retail operation in Mozambique, features on a confidential list of interested parties seen by Zitamar News, but has now decided not to pursue its interest. The same is true of Angola’s Bank BIC.

On the other hand, Barclays Africa – a business largely built up by Diamond – is among the banks which submitted their interest to the Bank of Mozambique in February. Its UK parent, Barclays, has made clear it plans to exit Barclays Africa, something which has not stopped the Mozambique operation making a play for Moza.

France’s Societe Generale, which has just two branches in Mozambique so far, has also submitted an expression of interest, according to the list. Societe Generale’s Africa head said in March that the bank was not in discussions “to participate in the consolidation of the Mozambique banking sector” – but added that it “may seek opportunities, when the time is right, to participate in consolidation.”

Another African bidder is Bank of Africa (BOA), majority-owned by Morocco’s BMCE. BOA has financial services operations in 18 sub-Saharan African countries.  The National Bank of Malawi, and Zimbabwe’s CBZ, round out the list of interested bidders.

© Zitamar Ltd. Reproduction and dissemination prohibited without written permission.

© 2017, Zitamar Ltd. Reproduction and dissemination prohibited without written permission.

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