Atlas Mara is bullish on Union Bank


Atlas Mara, an investment bank promoted by Bob Diamond and Asish Thakkar appears bullish on one time banking giant Union bank, as it plans to spend over 25% of a planned $200 million capital raise from Fairbank Africa on the Nigerian lender.

Details of its plan for the bank:

  • $55 million will be spent on acquiring a 13% stake in Union bank from the Clermont group.
  • The Clermont Group is part of the UGPL consortium that bought a majority stake from AMCON in 2012.
  • Atlas Mara will also pick up its own quota of a forthcoming rights issue.
  • Bob Diamond and his team also intend raising their stake to a majority in the near future

For Bob Diamond and his Atlas Mara team, the funds will enable it to increase its stake in Union Bank at a time stocks are cheaper in dollar terms, due to a depreciation of the Naira against the dollar. Funds will also be deployed to growth areas like fintech, where its competitors across the continent are actively pursuing.

Union Bank also gains as Atlas Mara having a 40% shareholding, and the financial capability to take up its right issue means the right issue will be fairly successful. Union bank needs to raise funds to boost its capital adequacy ratio, which was below the regulatory minimum of 15% as at December 2016.

Atlas Mara was founded in 2013 by Bob Diamond and Asish Thakkar. The bank currently has over 1600 employees, an asset base of $2.5 billion and operations in 7 African countries namely Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda and Nigeria. Union bank was founded in 1917 is one of Nigeria’s oldest commercial banks. The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) injected N239 billion as capital into the bank in 2011. Union Global Partners Limited (UGPL) bought a 65% stake in the bank in 2012, and Atlas Mara a 20% stake in 2012, from AMCON respectively.

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