Category Archives: Atlas Mara

Equity – Atlas Mara bank deal

Atlas Mara and Equity Bank Group announced an agreement for the exchange banking assets.

The deal will see Equity acquire Atlas Mara’s 62% shareholding in Banque Populaire du Rwanda  and Atlas Mara’s interests of 100% of BancABC Zambia, 100% of BancABC Tanzania and 100% of BancABC Mozambique in exchange for Atlas Mara receiving 252 million newly-created Equity shares worth $105 million (Kshs 10.7 billion). Through the deal, Equity expands its Africa footprint into two new countries of Mozambique and Zambia

This also came the day that Atlas Mara announced their financial results for December 2018 which ended with $2.8 billion assets and profit after tax of $34 million, which were slight declines partly attributed to reduced interest income, the enactment of IFRS9 and the economic situation in Zimbabwe.

The four banks combined constitute less than 2% of the revenue of Atlas Mara. They would all require capital and liquidity to support and will now be consolidated off the Atlas Mara balance sheet in the deal to be concluded by the end of the year. Atlas Mara will now continue to focus on core investments where they can be market leaders. In 2019, they plan on stabilizing the bank in Zimbabwe and increasing their 49.7% shareholding at Union Bank of Nigeria.

Also In the results announcement, Michael Wilkerson, the Executive Chairman of Atlas Mara wrote about being frustrated, liked other shareholders, that the company’s share prices did not represent its true value and that the new stake in Equity, digital banking leader, would help improve that. They also did a BankABC Bostwana IPO in December 2018 selling 25% of the bank to investors on the Botswana stock exchange.

EDIT: The Business Daily reported on October 9, 2019, that Equity got a $130 million (~Kshs 13 billion) discount on the purchase of the four banks from Atlas Mara whose prices were marked down after a due diligence exercise.

Atlas Mara Prospectus Peek

EDIT August 6 2018: Atlas Mara announced that it has reached agreement in principle for a $40M new debt facility to replace the convertible bond issued to Fairfax Africa Holdings. The new debt, maturing in  July 2021, is at an average rate of10.5%, and is secured by a portion of the company’s indirect shareholding in Union Bank of Nigeria. It includes 12,400,000 detachable warrants that on exercise each allows the holder to subscribe for one ordinary share of the company at an initial strike price of $3.20.

EDIT August 30 2017: Atlas Mara is pleased to announce the closing of the offer period for the recently launched Placing and the Open Offer on 29 August 2017. The Placing and Open Offer, together with the recently announced strategic investment from Fairfax Africa (comprising a Mandatory Convertible Bond and a Firm Placing) constitutes “the Strategic Financing”. The Strategic Financing will support Atlas Mara’s growth initiatives in the acquisition of additional equity interests in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“UBN”) and scaling up the Markets and Treasury and Fintech business lines. ..Bob Diamond, Chairman of the Board of Atlas Mara, said: “We are thrilled to have Fairfax Africa as our long-term partner. This transaction puts Atlas Mara in a very strong position to deliver on our strategic goals. We remain focused on execution and delivering on cost discipline and profitability.”

Published August 19 2017: Atlas Mara is selling 44.44 million new shares at $2.25 each to raise $100 million. Atlas Mara is acquiring 13.4% equity in Union Bank Nigeria (UBN), from Clermont Group for $55 million, increasing its stake to 44.5%.

This offer aims to raise $30 million from Fairfax Africa (a Canadian investment holding company that is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange) by selling them 13.33 million shares at $2.25 each. Fairfax will also sign up for $100 million of mandatory convertible bonds due in 2018. It is intended that the funds raised from the issue of the mandatory convertible bonds will be used to fully fund the UBN purchase and the remainder be used to fund the bank (expansion of the market, treasury and fintech business lines and product offerings) and participate in the UBN rights issue.

Atlas Mara is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (largely a tax-free territory – no income, withholding or capital gains taxes) and is the holding company for a group that provides bank and financial services across sub-Saharan Africa which they intend to disrupt. Atlas Mara was formed in November 2013 by Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and the Mara Group, led by Robert E. Diamond Jr. and Ashish J. Thakkar, respectively. In 2016, Atlas Mara had $2.7 billion assets and $ 9 million profit in 2016.

Africa footprint: Besides UBN, they also own 100% of Finance Bank of Zambia (the 5th largest bank in Zambia, serving 2 million people), and 62.1% of Banque Populaire du Rwanda (swelled by a merger with BRD Commercial Bank). Also ABC Holdings – Botswana (owned 62.13% by the Company and 37.87% by Atlas Mara Financial) owns 100% of African Banking Corporation Zambia, 100% of ABC Holdings (Zimbabwe), 68% of Tanzania Development Finance Corporation, 97% of African Banking Corporation of Tanzania, 100% of African Banking Corporation of Mozambique SA, and 100% of African Banking Corporation of Botswana

Atlas shareholders are Guggenheim Partners Investment Management (11.22%) Wellington Management Company, LLP (9.91%) Owl Creek Asset Management, LP (7.99%), Trafigura Holding (6.23%), UBS Asset Management: O’Connor (8.10%) Janus Capital Management LLC (3.92%). Of the founders, Atlas – AFS Partners LLC has 0.5% and Mara Partners FS has 0.13% while Mr. Diamond beneficially owns 1,000,000 Founder Preferred Shares and Mr. Thakkar beneficially owns 250,000 Founder Preferred Shares.

UBN is a mid-tier bank with about 3% market share of assets and loans and deposits in Nigeria. It was established in 1917 and rescued from insolvency in 2009 along with other banks. It now has 3 million customers, 900 ATM’s and 414,000 mobile banking users and, in 2017, UBN  signed agreements with Visa and MasterCard

UBN Plans: While Atlas Mara is not going for a majority stake in UBN (though they may choose to do this), they will;
– Push UBN to be a leading Tier II bank in Nigeria
– This will be done using fintech and treasury initiatives
– They will use UBN to secure more lending
– After 2019, they will push UBN to be a Tier I bank by acquiring another Nigerian bank

Risks facing UBN: Nigeria has recently experienced significant depreciation of the Naira, inflation and economic recession. Also, UBN’s loan book is exposed to the oil and gas sector which comprises 47% of its lending. Also, there is currently a 12.9% free float of UBN’s shares, which is below the mandatory 20% free float requirement prescribed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange Listing Rules.

Fees: $1.9 million will be paid to Atlas Merchant Capital LLC, the investment fund co-founded by Bob Diamond, upon completion of the transaction.

The deal deadline is 29 August.

Extracts from the Atlas Mara prospectus.