Imara Holdings on expansion path

Imara Holdings Ltd (www.imaraholdings.com), an investment banking and asset management group with operations in 10 countries mostly in southern Africa, aims to expand in Zimbabwe, according to Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper. It is currently listed on the Venture Capital Market board of the Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw) and the Herald reports that it wants to buy the rest of the shares in Zimbabwe’s Imara Capital Zimbabwe (Pvt.) Ltd (www.imaracapital.com), which it owns 32%, and also to dual list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (www.zse.co.zw).
The report says that Imara Holdings has proposed a share deal in which local shareholders and the management will get a shareholding in the parent in return for their shares in the local company. The dual-listing on the bigger exchange could make the shares more liquid and the dollar-based ZSE is attractive to international investors. Imara management reportedly refused to comment, possibly while the transaction is under approval by authorities.
Imara Holdings website does not mention the transaction, although it has been publishing cautionary announcements since 31 July 2009. It describes the group as “medium sized”. It has offices in Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and the UK, and associate offices in Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as working relationships with Stockbrokers Zambia, Namibia Equity Brokers and Mac Capital in Dubai.
According to the Holdings website: “We are independent and privately owned, enabling objective decision-making in the service of our clients. We are active participants in the region’s financial markets and maintain one of the largest research coverage of regional equities. Funds under management exceed US$ 135m and funds under administration exceed US$750m.”
Imara group services fall into three primary operating areas:
• Corporate Finance & Advisory Services
• Institutional and Private Client Asset Management
• Securities Trading
Imara Capital is one of the associates listed in Zimbabwe, others being listed on the website as Imara Edwards Securities (Pvt) Ltd, Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and Imara Corporate Finance Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. The Herald report says these are wholly owned by Imara Capital.
On 8 January Imara signed a licence agreement to become the 7th member of Global Alliance Partners (www.globalalliancepartners.com), of which Mac Capital Dubai is already a member. Bernard Pouliot, chairman of GAP and of the Quam Group based in Hong Kong, said Imara joins the alliance at a very opportune time when Chinese interest in Africa is growing: “Imara is good for the alliance and for China. Alongside other members of GAP, we are committed to hit the ground running when an umbrella investment scheme by African countries is developed and eventually implemented.”
The other GAP members are Quam Financial Services Group for Hong Kong and China, Capital Partners Securities for Japan, KT ZMICO for Thailand, Thanh Cong Securities Company for Vietnam, and Westminster of Hudson Securities in USA.
In December, Imara Holdings announced it had recently acquired a majority equity stake in the Botswana stockbroking company Capital Securities (Pty) Ltd., one of 4 licensed stockbrokers on the Botswana Stock Exchange, established in March 1999.
“Shareholders are advised that negotiations relating to a further regional acquisition, which was announced in a Cautionary Announcement published on 31 July 2009 and in subsequent renewal announcements, are still ongoing. Shareholders are therefore urged to continue to exercise caution in their dealings in Imara securities,” says the Botswana announcement published in December.

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