Imara buys stake in Zambian stock brokering firm

Imara Holdings, the Botswana registered financial services group and Lusaka-based Stockbrokers Zambia Limited (SBZ) today announced the conclusion of a transaction which sees Imara take a 25% stake in the Zambian company.

The pan-African group signalled an interest in a direct presence in the Zambian market some time ago. Its acquisition of a minority stake in SBZ was widely anticipated and follows an independent valuation. The Zambia Competition Commission has given approval of the transaction. SBZ is a founder member of the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) and traces its history to the formation of the LuSE in 1994. Since then SBZ has been actively involved in the development and growth of the LuSE market through privatisation listings and capital raising IPOs.

Mark Tunmer, group CEO of Imara, commented: “We see significant growth potential in the Zambian market and in SBZ we have the ideal partners.

“SBZ is a leader in the Zambian market and has a strong local base. We are confident our cultures and processes are compatible as in recent years we have worked closely with SBZ on a number of projects. We look forward to continued growth and mutual pursuit of emerging opportunities.”

It is believed that the transaction gives Imara an option to increase its equity stake in SBZ at a later date.

Charles Mate, CEO of SBZ, noted: “We are delighted to welcome new equity partners and believe the transaction establishes a platform for renewed growth.

“Policy reform and economic growth have created numerous opportunities in the Zambian financial service sector. To optimise these opportunities, SBZ needed a strong partner with a regional focus as well as international links that would complement our own strengths. We’ve found one in Imara.”

In 2009 Zambia recorded 6.3% GDP growth rate. Therefore Imara and SBZ believe the transaction is an early signal that Zambia is likely to have continuing attraction for international investors as risk appetite revives following the recent global financial crisis.