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Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Seals Deal to Buy TN Bank

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe
Telecommunications giant, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, will grow its 45 percent stake in TN Bank to 100 percent if government authorities and the central bank approve a deal for Econet billionaire Strive Masiyiwa to buy out bank founder Tawanda Nyambirai.

The deal would provide Nyambirai with shares in Econet.

Nyambirai told journalists in Harare that this deal will see him step down as chairman of the Econet board.

Nyambirai declined to divulge details of the deal saying details could only come after it is approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Securities Commission and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

He said: "I have since received an offer to buy out the remainder of my shareholding in TN Bank in exchange for shares in Econet wireless. The result will be that TN Bank will become a 100% subsidiary of Econet Wireless.

"The offer which I have already accepted, which I believe shall be extended to the rest of the minority shareholders of TN Bank is still to go through the normal processes."

Econet group chief executive Craig Fitzgerald, said James Myers would replace Nyambirai as board chairman.

Prior to the deal Econet, had a 45 percent stake in TN Bank, formed a few years ago by Nyambirai.

In a brief statement on the departure of Nyambirai from the board, Masiyiwa said: “‘Tawanda Nyambirai has done an extraordinary job for us. He led the legal team that fought for the original license in the courts.

"He has overseen the development of the business ever since I left Zimbabwe 12 years ago. He is a historical companion to me, and I look forward to working even closer with him, in other roles that I have for him.”

The bank is one of the indigenous financial institutions which Finance Minister Tendai Biti has praised for doing well at a time when other banks are struggling.

Nyambirai has other business interests in Zimbabwe through his ZSE listed Lifestyle Holdings, which previously encompassed TN Bank before the bank demerged and listed separately early this year.

Lifestyle Holdings has interests in fast foods, retailing, furniture and security.
TN Bank is widely viewed by economists as one of the fastest growing indigenous banks in an economy recording sluggish growth.

Observers believe that Masiyiwa’s foray into Zimbabwe’s banking sector through acquiring the bank would enhance TN Bank’s capital position.

Earlier ndications were that TN Bank's top five shareholders included Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (62,3 percent), Olive Trust (7,1 percent), Mamre Trust (5,6 percent), Reminant Trust (4,6 percent) and Serene Trust 3,9 percent.