Board shake-up looms at AfrAsia

HARARE - A board shake-up — including the resignation of chairperson Sibusisiwe Bango — looms at AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe Limited (AKZL) following Nigel Chanakira’s exit and subsequent increase in shareholding by Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank Limited (AfrAsia) in the group.

Chanakira, the founder of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited — now (AKZL), in September disposed of his 30 percent stake in the financial group, indirectly held through his family investment vehicle Crustmoon, to AfrAsia.

Before his departure, AfrAsia held a 35 percent stake in AKZL acquired in January last year through a $9,5 million deal, leading to a rebranding.

Lynn Mukonoweshuro, AKZL’s chief executive, yesterday told businessdaily that the group will on December 30 hold an annual general meeting at which James Benoit and Kamben Padayachy are expected to be retained as executive directors, while Jill Rickard, Sevious Mushosho, Deshmukh-Rao Dhondee, Fungai Ruwende and Henry Nemaire are set to be appointed to the board.

She said the directors will replace Bango together with Chanakira, Sure Kamhunga, Mandivamba Rukuni and Brian Fredrick among others.

Other directors such as Callisto Jokonya, Charles Wawn and Simplicius Chihambakwe will only survive the shake-up if re-elected.

“New board members are expected to bring significant value and new ideas to the company based on their immense international experience, knowledge of business and past experience in successful global companies,” Mukonoweshuro said.

Recently, AKZL shareholders approved a rebranding of the group to AfrAsia Zimbabwe Holdings, while its flagship subsidiary Kingdom Bank Limited will be renamed to AfrAsia Bank and Kingdom Asset Management to AfrAsia Capital Management.

Shareholders also approved Chanakira’s $12,5 million exit package and AfrAsia’s intention to inject $100 million through a rights offer and private placement.

“Kingdom Bank under AKZL already represents one of the best banking franchises in the country and we are committed to further developing it into the top bank in Zimbabwe, which we are confident that we can do given that we now expect a more stable business environment going forward,” said Benoit, AfrAsia’s chief executive.

He added that with AfrAsia’s growing presence in the region and the increased volume of trade and investments going into Zimbabwe, this exercise further demonstrates the institution’s commitment to tap into the African market and be instrumental in their plans to further identify and enhance the untapped synergies in the region.

Arnaud Lagesse, AfrAsia’s chairperson, said the financial institution strongly believed in Zimbabwe as a resource-rich country where there is strong entrepreneurial culture.

“This restructuring and recapitalisation exercise will definitely enhance our banking adeptness in other parts of the region, enabling the AfrAsia group to take advantage of existing and new growth opportunities in its key market segments.

“This will also help us to expand further our franchise in the Sadc region through an established local operation and with highly credible local partners,” he said.

Padayachy, the AfrAsia deputy chief executive noted that the timing was now appropriate for the group to unify the brand under which its Zimbabwean operations are managed.

“We are confident that the AfrAsia brand will soon come to represent an innovative, disruptive and highly professional banking franchise in Zimbabwe as it already does in Mauritius and South Africa,” he said.

AfrAsia Corporate Finance is acting as exclusive adviser to AfrAsia with regards to the restructuring exercise and as co-adviser with Cosmos Capital to AKZL with regards to the rights issue.Sibusisiwe Bango is set to step down as AKZL’s chairperson.

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