Atlas Mara to re-list after $300 million fundraising-Reuters

(Reuters) – Atlas Mara, the investment vehicle of former Barclays boss Bob Diamond that is aiming to be Africa’s leading bank, will re-list on Wednesday after raising $300 million and completing a pair of acquisitions.

Atlas Mara said last week that it had closed deals to purchase BancABC and ADC African Development Corporation and would apply for the re-admission of its shares, which were suspended when the deals were announced in April.

It said on Tuesday that trading in the shares on the London Stock Exchange would restart on Wednesday at 0700 GMT.

Diamond teamed up with Africa-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar last year to set up Atlas Mara, a vehicle through which they planned to buy up assets to help build it into a powerful force in African banking.

Atlas Mara last week said it had raised $300 million from a private share placement to fund the acquisitions, on top of the $325 million from its initial public offering (IPO) in December.

It agreed to buy BancABC in March to give it a platform in several countries including Botswana, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Atlas Mara shares were suspended after its purchase of BancABC was treated as a reverse takeover. The company should have a market value of near $800 million when it re-lists. The shares last traded at $11.40, up from their December IPO price of $10.

American Diamond, 62, is one of the world’s best-known bankers after spearheading the growth of Barclays’ investment bank before being forced out from his job as CEO in 2012 by UK regulators after the bank was fined for attempted rigging of Libor interest rates.

His plans in Africa could put him in direct competition with Barclays, which has had a presence there since 1925 and is one of the biggest international banks on the continent.

Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins is under pressure to improve profitability and has pinpointed Africa as one of the key areas for future growth.
The prize both are chasing is sub-Saharan Africa’s mostly unbanked 1 billion population and the companies there looking for capital to grow, to take advantage of economies growing on average at 5-7 percent a year.

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