Arise, an investment company formed by the Norwegian Investment Fund (Norfund), Netherlands Development Fund (FMO) and Dutch commercial bank Rabobank has taken a nearly 18 percent stake in zimbabwean bank NMBZ Holdings.
The transactions effectively consolidates Norfund and FMO’s separate shareholdings in the listed Zimbabwean bank into a single entity.
This makes Arise the second largest shareholder in NMBZ with 17,98 percent of shares. The largest shareholder in NMBZ is African Century Financial Investments incorporated in Mauritius, which has 18,52 percent of NMBZ’s shares.
African Century is led by former Morgan Stanley International chairman, Jonathan Chenevix-Trench, who bought into the Zimbabwean bank in 2010.
Norfund and FMO previously held separate stakes of 8.99 percent each in NMB. The bank, which reported $52 million revenues and $5 million after-tax profit in the full year to December 2016, is expected to announce its results for the first half of 2017 this week.
Deepak Malik, the Chief Executive Officer of Arise, said: “In taking and managing strategic minority equity stakes in Sub Saharan African financial service providers, we aim to build strong and stable institutions that will support the mass market, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and rural communities”.
Arise supports the growth and development of African financial service providers, not only through its investments in them but through providing them with technical and management services in the fields of governance, management, marketing, innovation, compliance and risk management.
This fits in well with NMB Bank’s thrust to promote financial inclusion and help SMEs develop into formidable businesses.
NMBZ chief executive Benefit Washaya welcomed the partnership, which, he said, should enable NMBZ to benefit from being part of a wide network of African banks in which Arise has interests.
“NMBZ is excited and welcomes Arise as an important shareholder for our company and as an important contributor to building a stronger financial sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. NMBZ will benefit from the wide network of other African banks that are part of this group,” he said.
The transaction has received the approval of the various regulatory authorities in Zimbabwe.