ZB, Vingirai deal collapses

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A DEAL that would have seen the dismantling of ZB Financial Holdings (ZBFH) and banker Nicholas Vingirai regaining his assets held under Intermarket Holdings Limited (IHL) has collapsed.

By Melody Chikono

In a statement on the withdrawal of a cautionary statement, ZBFH yesterday said negotiations had significantly stalled.

“Further to the cautionary statements issued by the board beginning from 15th of November 2017 and last renewed on the 1st of August 2018, shareholders and members of the public are advised that negotiations regarding the proposed material transaction involving ZB Financial Holdings (ZBFH or the company) have significantly stalled and the proposed transaction has not been concluded to date.

“Should negotiations resume, the company will similarly advise shareholders and members of the public. Accordingly, shareholders and the investing public are advised to take note of the withdrawal of the cautionary statement,” the notice said.

This comes amid reports that ZBFH, which has been operating as a single entity for the past 12 years, would be dismantled as part of a settlement plan between the group and businessman Vingirayi, who founded Intermarket Holdings Ltd, a holding company that had interests in banking, insurance and property.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last year had set December 31 2017, as the deadline for the separation. Had the transaction sailed through, this would have seen Vingirai regaining his assets after a seven-year wait.

His assets were controversially seized by government in 2004 and later sold to ZB Holdings. The deal would have seen the split of the integrated financial services group.
ZB Holdings had been trading under cautionary notice since last November as the two parties negotiated.

A previous government-brokered deal that saw government cede its 20% equity in ZB Holdings back to Vingirai, through his investment vehicle Transnational Holdings Ltd (THL), proved untenable.

The ZB group wholly owns ZB Bank Ltd, ZB Reinsurance Limited, ZB Transfer Secretaries, ZB Capital and ZB Associated Services.

It has a 75,33% stake in ZB Building Society and 64% shareholding in ZB Life Assurance.

The deal came unstuck after the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) blocked the appointment of nominees such as Mike Mahachi, Zororo Muranda and Mike Manyika to the group, including the return of Vingirai as non-executive director.

Nssa also voted for a resolution to instruct THL to repay a US$658 699 dividend that it had received from ZB on January 23 2017 and resisted the proposed allocation of a further 10% stake to THL.

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