Diamond’s Atlas Mara spent $10m on flotation


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The Independent Online

Bob Diamond’s African financial services venture Atlas Mara spent just over $10m (£6m) raising $325m when the ex-Barclays chief executive made his return to the stock market late last year.

The company, which has already struck but has yet to complete two deals, lost a total of $17.3m between its flotation in November 2013 and last June. Most of the other costs were associated with the planned acquisitions.

The first of these – the takeover of the Botswana based BancABC – is expected to be completed in the next few months at which point Atlas shares, which were suspended in May, will relist. The shares were floated at 10p and were suspended at 11.4p.

The outstanding $306m from the float is almost entirely invested in US government bonds or funds invested in those bonds. That produced investment income of $5,000 but incurred foreign exchange losses of $3,000.

Atlas’ chairman Arnold Ekpe said: “I believe firmly in the company’s strategy of being a “positive disruptive force” in Sub-Saharan African financial services and am excited by the company’s prospects.”

He added that Atlas had  “an exciting pipeline of potential additional acquisition opportunities that has been identified.”

Mr Diamond set up Atlas Mara last year with Ashish Thakkar, the 33 year old founder of Mara Group, a $1bn conglomerate with operations in 19 African countries.  The pair invested $20m in  the venture.