May 13, 2014 / 8:35 PM / 5 years ago

REFILE-Atlas Mara to raise $400 mln to fund growth in Africa

(Corrects name in headline to “Atlas Mara” not “Astra Mara”)

May 13 (Reuters) - Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond-backed investment company Atlas Mara said it would raise about $400 million through a private placement of new shares to fund its growth in Africa.

Atlas Mara, Diamond’s London-listed shell company, said it would place 36,500,000 new ordinary shares in Atlas Mara at an issue price of $11 per offer share.

The company said it would use the proceeds to support ABC Holdings Limited - which it acquired earlier this year - and “for future acquisitions and bolt-on opportunities.”

Atlas Mara is formed of Atlas Merchant Capital LLC, set up by Diamond in New York, and Africa-focused billionaire entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar’s Mara Group Holdings Limited.

This is the second capital raising for Atlas Mara in less then six months. It had earlier raised $325 million when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in December 2013.

The company made its first acquisition earlier this year when it bought sub-Saharan African bank ABC Holdings Limited (BancABC) and ADC African Development Corporation AG for up to $265 million in cash and shares.

Atlas Mara said the issue Price would represent a discount of 3.5 percent to the closing price of the company’s ordinary shares on Mar 31, 2014.

Bob Diamond, who was the CEO of Barclays bank from 2011, was ousted from his position in 2012 after the bank was fined $450 million for alleged manipulation of the Libor interbank lending rate.

He has since concentrated on the venture which he wants to build into the leading bank in sub-Saharan Africa.

The scope for growth in Africa is significant. Barely a quarter of sub-Saharan Africans have a bank account, yet economic growth in the region is set to outpace the global average over the next three years, according to World Bank last year’s figures. (Reporting by Tasim Zahid in Bangalore; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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