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Johannesburg - African Bank Investments Limited (Abil) said on Wednesday it would, under a new name, resume trading again on the local bourse at the beginning of next month after the JSE approved the lifting of the suspension of trading of its shares following Abil’s return to solvency.

The company said it would trade as African Phoenix Investments Limited (Apil), with effect from February 1. Enos Banda, chief executive of African Phoenix, said the company had achieved an ­important milestone in its turnaround strategy.

“Since I became a part of Phoenix in September 2016, shareholders have been clear that resumption of trade in the company’s shares was a very high and immediate priority,” Banda said. He said the name change had been necessitated by the company’s disinvestment from the banking sector.

Read also: Listing of Abil on JSE is years away

The lifting of the suspension in the trading of the shares marks a turnaround for the company, which was placed under business rescue in 2015 after its subsidiary Ellerines Furnishers had failed to repay large sums of loans to large South African banks for which Abil was a guarantor. Ellerines owed FirstRand R157 million, Absa (R93 million), Standard Bank (R23 million), Investec (R93 million) and African Bank (R447 million).

The then governor of the SA Reserve Bank, Gill Marcus, suspended trading in shares of Abil and placed the bank under curatorship on August 2014. This was after the group had dropped a bombshell when it issued a statement on the JSE announcing it expected a loss of at least R6.4billion and the need to raise at least R8.5bn in additional capital.

The firm’s share price then began a free-fall after investors began to dump its stock.

The company relaunched in April last year after 20 months of curatorship and reported operating profit after tax of R269 million for the period ended in September. After the company’s business rescue was successfully completed, the company said it had paid its creditors in full and had cash reserves of R250 million.

BUSINESS REPORT