UK firm denies Zim bond claims

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IOL  zimbabwe robert mugabe file Reuters Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. File picture: Philimon Bulawayo

Harare - A firm linked to former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond denied Thursday claims that it will help Zimbabwe tap much-needed international investment through a 150-million-euro bond issue.

BancABC, a regional bank recently bought by Diamond's Africa-focused investment vehicle Atlas Mara, said it would in fact issue a commercial bond to finance its operations.

“We have been planning a bond issue for some time. The proceeds will be used across the group including in our Zimbabwe subsidiary,” the firm said in a statement.

“The timing of the issue is to be decided.”

Zimbabwean finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on Wednesday indicated that the firm “promised” to organise a 150-million-euro ($206-million) issuance for the state.

BancABC has operations in Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Diamond resigned as Barclay's chief executive after the bank admitted to manipulating a key inter-bank interest rate.

“We have many ideas and many thoughts and we are very anxious to get going,” Diamond said Wednesday.

Zimbabwe's banking sector has been facing a cash crunch which is has hampered economic growth.

In December riots broke out at two banks, which ran out of cash for depositors.


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