Source: Barclays deal under threat | The Financial Gazette June 8, 2017
…Executives seek govt intervention
By Shame Makoshori and Paul Nyakazeya
GROUP of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe workers were yesterday preparing to lobby government to block the bank’s takeover by Malawi’s FMB Capital Holdings (FMB), as it emerged that management’s rival bid had the backing of the cash-rich National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
NSSA chairman Robin Vela told the Financial Gazette that the fund had been willing to finance a bid led by Barclays Zimbabwe managing director George Guvamatanga, in exchange for equity-related returns, without taking shareholding in the bank.
“As NSSA we want to empower our locals with a proven record of running companies well. If you look at George and company, they have run the bank well and professionally. The results are there for everyone to see,” Vela said.
“We are looking at the bigger picture in this transaction, where shareholders would reinvest in Zimbabwe. I am not sure about the new investors if they will invest in Zimbabwe or elsewhere. That is where I am coming from. At the end of the day Barclays Plc decides who they want to do business with.”
The transaction has reportedly split the Barclays Zimbabwe board, but chairman Anthony Mandiwanza dismissed this as unfounded speculation.
“It is not true that the board is divided, it is a figment of someone’s imagination, and that person or persons are misinformed. This deal is between shareholders not board members,” Mandiwanza told the Financial Gazette.
“It is not the responsibility of the board to decide who buys into the bank, but of the shareholders. Even if management expressed interest and submitted their bid, it is a personal issue and not a company matter. They do not need board approval to proceed to make an offer.” Guvamatanga refused to comment on the matter, saying it was a shareholder issue.
Barclays Plc’s exit from Zimbabwe after 105 years, part of its withdrawal from the continent, looks set to navigate treacherous terrain before it is completed.
At least 63 low level managers went to court a fortnight ago to stop talks between Barclays Plc and FMB on the sale of the British bank’s shareholding in Barclays Zimbabwe, demanding the right of first refusal.
The workers suffered a setback last week when Barclays Plc announced the sale of most of its shareholding to FMB. The transaction now awaits regulatory approvals, expected by the end of the third quarter of this year.
Under the deal, FMB will take control of 41,2 percent of Barclays Zimbabwe, which will be rebranded as Barclays & FMB. Barclays Plc will retain a residual stake of about 10 percent in Barclays Zimbabwe. Workers are in line to get 15 percent of the bank’s shareholding in terms of a employee share ownership scheme.
Now, in a last-ditch attempt, the staff who have coalesced under the Barclays Bank Managers Association (BBMA), have decided to drop their High Court challenge dropped to lobby the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment to prevent the takeover.
The BBMA this week instructed their lawyer, Rodgers Matsikidze, to withdraw the High Court case.
Matsikidze confirmed the developments to the Financial Gazette.