Harare - Malawian bank First Merchant Bank Malawi said it has approached Barclays Bank and is now in engaged in negotiations for the possible acquisition of a controlling shareholding in its unit Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited.
In a statement released on Tuesday, First Merchant Bank Malawi said it is engaged in exclusive discussions with Barclays Bank in relation to the potential acquisition of its interests in Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited.
“Discussions with Barclays Bank plc are ongoing and may or may not result in the announcement of a transaction involving the acquisition by First Merchant Bank Malawi of the interest of Barclays Bank plc in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe,” said First Merchant Bank Malawi.
“Such transaction would also be subject to obtaining approval of the banking regulators in Malawi and Zimbabwe.”
“The directors therefore advise shareholders of FMB (First Merchant Bank) and the public to exercise caution and to consult their professional advisers when dealing in the shares of FMB. Further announcements will be made in due course.”
Barclays recently said it has reached an agreement with its African subsidiary about details of their divorce, a key step before the British bank can sell more shares of the JSE-listed offshoot, Barclays Africa Group [JSE:BGA] or Absa.
Barclays Zimbabwe is however not part of Barclays Africa, but falls under Barclays' non-core businesses.
The suitor First Merchant Bank Malawi is a public limited liability company incorporated in Malawi under the Malawi Companies Act 1984.
It is also listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange and is registered as a commercial bank under the Banking Act 2010.
It has two wholly owned subsidiaries incorporated in Malawi: the Leasing and Finance Company of Malawi Limited, a licensed financial institution engaged in deposit taking and asset finance, and FMB Capital Markets Limited, a licensed portfolio manager.
First Merchant Bank Malawi also holds a 70% shareholding in Capital Bank Limited, a licensed commercial bank incorporated in Mozambique, a 38.60% shareholding in Capital Bank Limited, a licensed commercial bank incorporated in Botswana and 49% in First Capital Bank Limited, a licensed commercial bank incorporated in Zambia.