The competition watchdog, the Competitions and Tariff Competition (CTC), is conducting extensive consultations in order to assess whether the proposed merger between leading financial services institutions CBZ Holdings and ZB Financial Holdings won’t undermine competition while simultaneously bolstering its ultimate decision, Business Times can report.
This week, analysts said the planned merger has the potential to usher in a behemoth in the financial services sector.
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This week, Business Times was informed by well-placed sources at CTC that the competition watchdog was carrying out comprehensive consultations in order to make a final decision.
They said this could be the biggest decision that CTC has to make in years.
“We are seized with the matter and we are reviewing the case [potential merger between CBZ and ZB] to make the final decision. It’s the biggest decision that CTC has to make in years, hence we don’t have to rush things but involve a lot of experts to come up with a final decision.
“It’s a delicate matter as the potential merger could not only change the financial services sector but the whole country’s business landscape,” a source close to the developments told Business Times this week.
It comes at a time the two financial institutions are already engaged in serious negotiations to form a market dominating behemoth. The proposed merger might be the biggest Zimbabwe has ever seen.
Significant changes have already been made at CBZ, including the replacement of Marc Holtzman as chairman of the ZB board by Luxon Zembe, in an effort to hasten the combination of the two financial institutions.
At the end of this month, Mudavanhu, the Group CEO of CBZ Holdings, will also step down from his position. Since then, Lawrence Nyazema has been named CBZ Holdings’ acting CEO.
Zembe’s appointment to the dual position of chairman of the boards of ZB and CBZ is thought to have been made with the intention of accelerating the planned merger.
Experts said that the heavyweight would be more competitive in both domestic and international markets and that its strong financial position would draw in foreign investment to the nation.
Should the merger be successful, the group will have assets worth more than US$2.5 bn.
As a result of the merger, a substantial balance sheet will be created, allowing the behemoth to collaborate with other major players on the world stage and grow financial institutions. BusinessTimes