Absa ends talks to buy Zambian bank

South African banking group Absa, which is the target for a takeover by the United Kingdom’s Barclays group, confirmed on Tuesday that it has pulled out of talks to acquire a 49% stake in the state-owned Zambia National Commercial Bank.

“All we can say is that we have repeatedly sought meetings with Zambian government officials but have been unable to secure meetings or oral assurances on some of our concerns about the proposed deal.

“As a result, we were unable to convince the Absa board that our concerns would be appropriately dealt with by the Zambian authorities,” an Absa spokesperson said.

“So, for now, talks have been terminated,” he added. 

Analysts believe that the scuppering of the deal—which was apparently front-page news in the Zambian media on Tuesday—has put the Zambian government in a bit of quandary as the country is under pressure to privatise state assets to qualify for international debt relief.

The country has an estimated foreign debt of $6,8-billion.

At 12.35pm, Absa’s share price on the JSE Securities Exchange was down 1,18% or 93 cents to R77,98.

Absa is the country’s biggest retail bank.
It has operations in neighbouring Mozambique and Tanzania, and is looking to expand to Angola.—I-Net Bridge

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