Lender to taxi sector plans JSE listing

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The main lender to South Africa's mini-bus taxi industry, which provides the country's primary form of cheap transport, said on Thursday it was planning to list on Johannesburg's stock exchange in June through a private placement.

Transaction Capital, which had loans and advances worth 6.7 billion rand ($834.4 million) in the year to the end of September 2011, said it is aiming to issue at least 50 million shares.

Chief executive Mark Lamberti declined on a conference call to say exactly how much money the group hoped to raise in the private placement offer but said it hoped to use some of the capital to retire debt.

Johannesburg has Africa's largest bourse by far and its All-Share index scaled record peaks last week. But new listings and offerings, private or public, have been relatively rare of late, in part because of turbulence in global markets.

In 2011, there were 16 new listings on the bourse, up from 14 in 2010, but well down from the 62 recorded in 2007 before the global financial crisis.

The listing comes against the backdrop of a government drive to replace the fleet of ageing mini-bus taxis - run by the private sector - with newer and safer models. Many are badly maintained, contributing to the high death rates on the roads.

Lamberti said he saw “significant renewal of the taxi fleet taking place over the next five to eight years.”

The group's taxi division, SA Taxi, lends to over 20,000 mini-bus taxi operators in South Africa.

The company said it will issue a pre-listing statement shortly. - Reuters

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