FBC awaits Homelink bid approval

HARARE - Financial services group FBC Holdings Limited (FBCH) says it awaits approval of its bid to acquire Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s subsidiary Homelink (Private) Limited.

Priscilla Sadomba, FBCH’s group marketing head, told businessdaily that the matter was yet to be concluded.

“FBCH submitted an offer for Homelink to the Reserve Bank to which we still await an official response,” Sadomba told businessdaily, without disclosing further detail on how much they offered.

Homelink is 100 percent owned by RBZ.

Although Homelink’s primary objective since 2004 was to mobilise foreign currency remittances from foreign-based Zimbabweans who intended to buy homes locally, the company diversified into property development.

Acquiring Homelink would consolidate FBCH’s market share, particularly in mortgage lending, as the group already owns a building society.

Over the years, Homelink adapted to the changing business environment and has since widened its market by including local Zimbabweans and also transforming itself into a financial services company.

The company now offers a wide range of financial services, which include home loans, micro-financing, property construction, property management and money transfer services.

The disposal of Homelink is part of the central bank’s move to dispose of all its non-core assets in order to focus on core business.

At the height of Zimbabwe’s economic and foreign currency crisis, the RBZ engaged in quasi fiscal activities.

Of the eight non-core subsidiaries, however, only the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Tractive Power Holdings Limited (TPH)’s 59 percent stake has been sold to Zimplow Limited under a deal worth almost $10 million.

As matters stand, the sale of several other companies, including fellow listed food processor Cairns and biodiesel producer Transload (Private) Limited is still pending.

The central bank intends to use the proceeds not only to settle debts, but recapitalise too.

The companies’ disposal came after RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s May 2011 announcement that the RBZ was exiting these investments to focus on its core mandate.

The central bank is also selling its 70 percent stake in Beitbridge-based Tuli Coal Mine.

The central bank has also put under the hammer its 65 percent equity in Scientific Research and Industrial Development and 100 percent shareholding in Carslone Enterprises. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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