Mozambique's Unico sees Nedbank's stake approved in 2-3 months

Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:54am EDT

Related Topics

* Regulators analysing Nedbank entry into Mozambique bank

* Seeks initial stake of 36.4 pct for $24 mln

* CEO says Mozambique banks need international ties

LISBON, June 11 (Reuters) - Nedbank Group's purchase of an initial 36.4 percent stake in Mozambique's Banco Unico is expected to be approved by regulators in two to three months, the chief executive of the Mozambican lender said on Tuesday.

South African Nedbank said last month it would acquire the stake in Mozambique's sixth-largest lender for $24.4 million and aimed to increase the stake to between 50 and 70 percent within three to five years.

Banco Unico CEO Joao Figueiredo told Reuters the stake purchase was being analysed by regulators in both countries. He said approval would allow the Mozambique lender to compete with bigger players by giving it international resources and more services.

"In Mozambique, you need to have international partners," Figueiredo said. "Project finance operations, for example, have to be set up in the international market so we need to have good international ties."

"The negotiations between the partners have been concluded, the process has been submitted to the two countries' regulators and we estimate it will be done in around two to three months," Figueiredo said.

Nedbank, which is South Africa's fourth-largest bank, wants to double its African footprint from five countries and sees an opportunity in Mozambique, where multinationals are heading to take advantage of booms in coal and natural gas.

Founded in 2011 by Portugal's cork-to-oil magnate Americo Amorim, Unico has captured a 3-percent share of the market, of which 82 percent is controlled by four players including Nedbank's domestic rival, Standard Bank. (Reporting by Filipe Alves; writing by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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