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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  Atlas Mara Ltd    ATMA   VGG0697K1066

Delayed Quote. Delayed  - 02/24 10:24:46 am
2.1 USD   -2.33%
02/21 ATLAS MARA : Anand speaks out on changes at Atlas Mara
02/17 ATLAS MARA : All change
02/16DJATLAS MARA : Bob Diamond's African Dreams Start to Unravel
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Atlas Mara : Bob Diamond's African Dreams Start to Unravel

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02/16/2017 | 05:53pm CET
By Margot Patrick 

LONDON-- Bob Diamond is looking like the last person standing at Atlas Mara Ltd., the troubled African banking group he co-founded three years ago.

Atlas Mara's chairman left in December and its chief executive, John Vitalo, abruptly stepped down Wednesday. On Thursday, the bank said it was cutting costs and had raised $13.5 million through a share placement to invest more in financial technology and a markets and treasury business.

In a show of support, Mr. Diamond bought a chunk of the new stock, raising his stake to 3.28% from 2.5%. He is acting chairman at the group while it looks for a replacement chairman and CEO.

The company didn't say why Mr. Vitalo left and he didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The former chairman, Arnold Ekpe, left last year to concentrate on other interests.

Atlas Mara was Mr. Diamond's big project after resigning as CEO of Barclays PLC in a 2012 scandal over alleged interest-rate rigging by bank traders. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange at $10 a share in December 2013, and in two shares offers raised $625 million to buy banks in seven African countries.

Mr. Diamond's co-founder in the company is Ashish Thakkar, a Dubai-based entrepreneur. They didn't foresee that commodity price falls would hit many African economies, pushing up bad loans at some of Atlas Mara's banks and causing its share price to fall. That stymied Atlas Mara's original plan to buy more banks by raising additional equity. The new shares were placed at $1.91 apiece and the stock traded at $2.12 Thursday.

The group's latest acquisition, of Finance Bank Zambia Ltd. in July, was paid for with cash from a loan to an Atlas Mara subsidiary by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. government's development finance agency. Atlas Mara qualified for the loan because some of its biggest shareholders are based in the U.S., although it is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

With a market capitalization now of around $164 million, some Atlas Mara shareholders have privately urged Mr. Diamond and the board to consider selling or breaking up the group, people familiar with the matter said. Private-equity firms have been approached about a potential transaction involving Atlas Mara, according to people familiar with those discussions, but nothing has been firmed up.

Write to Margot Patrick at margot.patrick@wsj.com

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Latest news on ATLAS MARA LTD
02/21 ATLAS MARA : Anand speaks out on changes at Atlas Mara
02/17 ATLAS MARA : All change
02/16DJATLAS MARA : Bob Diamond's African Dreams Start to Unravel
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Financials ( GBP)
Sales 2016 171 M
EBIT 2016 -
Net income 2016 3,75 M
Debt 2016 -
Yield 2016 -
P/E ratio 2016 30,48
P/E ratio 2017 19,03
Capi. / Sales 2016 0,77x
Capi. / Sales 2017 0,68x
Capitalization 133 M
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Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 2
Average target price 2,95  GBP
Spread / Average Target 72%
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Managers
NameTitle
Robert Edward Diamond Chairman
Arina MacDonald Chief Financial Officer
Ashish J. Thakkar Non-Executive Director
Tonye Patrick Cole Independent Non-Executive Director
Rachel F. Robbins Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
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