CBZ mulls Victoria Falls Stock Exchange listing

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ZIMBABWE’S biggest bank, CBZ Holdings Limited, plans to list on the United States dollar-denominated stock exchange in Victoria Falls, as part of efforts to ignite foreign interest in the lender.

The banking group is “actively exploring” a listing, which could address concerns for foreign investors of having funds stuck in the country, chief executive officer Mr Blessing Mudavanhu said in an interview at the lender’s headquarters in Harare on Friday.

The financial institution is currently only listed on the main Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in Harare. CBZ Chairman Marc Holtzman, a 30-year banking veteran who has worked at Barclays Plc and ABN Amro Bank NV, said the Victoria Falls listing will take place this year.

“If the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange does everything we believe and think it can do, there’ll be no need to list dually,” Holtzman said during the interview.

A listing on the so-called “VFEX” will also provide the banking group with an avenue to also explore growth opportunities, particularly within the southern African region.

“We still have a huge appetite for the local market, however, we cannot rule out expansion outside of Zimbabwe when the opportunity arises,” said Holtzman.

CBZ has signed on to two U.S.-based correspondent banking relationships since the U.S. Treasury Department cleared the lender of a $385 million penalty for processing transactions on behalf of ZB Bank Ltd., which was then under American sanctions.

“This has improved our operations significantly,” Holtzman said.

The lender on Friday reported that full-year 2020 profit jumped more than sixfold to Z$6.15 billion, from Z$920 million in 2019.

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