Geocapital negotiates acquisition of 62 pct of Mozambican bank

12 July 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 12 July – Geocapital, a company owned by Macau businessman Stanley Ho, is negotiating the acquisition of 62 percent of Mozambican bank, Banco de Desenvolvimento e Comércio (BDC), which may take place in August, the local press reported.

Daily newspaper, Canal de Moçambique reported that Geocapital would replace Portuguese bank Montepio Geral in BDC’s shareholder structure and the acquisition aimed to support financing of projects in the Zambezi Valley, which Geocapital is promoting.

Geocapital is expected to become a shareholder at the bank’s next general meeting in Maputo on August 1.

The acquisition of more than 10 percent of Mozambican banking institutions requires approval from the Bank of Mozambique, and this process is already underway, the Mozambican newspaper reported.

Almeida Santos, Geocapital’s lawyer, is said to have already spoken to the Mozambican prime minister, Armando Guebuza on the subject.

If the operation goes ahead, Santos said, the BDC’s next chairman would be well-known Mozambican manager Prakash Ratilal, a former governor of the Bank of Mozambique, and would replace Hermenegildo Gamito.

Banco de Desenvolvimento e Comércio posted net profit of 27.529 billion meticals (US$1.03 million) in 2005, the first profits since it was set up five years ago.

Net assets totaled 952.734 billion meticals (US$35.6 million), or 44.1 percent more than the total for 2004.

The Montepio Geral Group owns 42 percent of the capital of the Mozambican bank, while Mozambican investors own a further 34 percent and the remaining 24 percent is owned by Portuguese private investors.

Recently, Stanley Ho announced he would open a bank in Angola focused on serving the Chinese population, businesspeople and companies operating in Angola, called Banco Angolano de Negócios e Comércio (BANC).

Geocapital, which manages the businesses of STDM in Portuguese-speaking African countries, will be the majority shareholder of the Angolan project.

Last month, Ho opened a representational office of the Seng Heng Bank in Lisbon, which is also owned by STDM, sin a ceremony attended by the head of the Macau government, Edmund Ho. (macauhub)