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Tunisian tycoon Mehdi Tamarziste’s UBCI grants $52.5-million loan to Enda Tamweel

UBCI is a leading Tunisian commercial bank and an operating subsidiary of BNP Paribas.



Mehdi Tamarziste.

The Tunisia-based financial services provider, Union Bancaire pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (UBCI), has signed a medium-term financing agreement worth TND150 million with the Tunisian micro-finance institution, Enda Tamweel.

UBCI is a leading commercial bank and an operating subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a French global banking group ranked as the largest bank in Europe and the seventh-largest globally by assets.

The Tunisian bank operates under the leadership of Tunisian banker and multimillionaire businessman Mehdi Tamarziste, who controls a substantial 12.9-percent stake in the lender.

According to the deal terms, Enda Tamweel will receive TND150 million ($52.5 million) in the form of a medium-term loan disbursal in three tranches at a rate of TND50 million ($17.5 million) annually.

The credit facility, which has a five-year maturity period, will make it possible for Enda Tamweel to render support through microcredits to micro-entrepreneurs excluded from bank-financing offers and operating in rural areas. This is expected to drive-in positive growth in the economy.

The financing reflects UBCI’s commitment to reach individuals and businesses in Tunisia with limited access to loans and other credit facilities.

While commenting on the deal, UBCI Managing Director Mohamed Koubaa said the strategic partnership not only makes sense in terms of business, but will allow the two institutions to better serve the Tunisian economy.

“Even more today, with the ambition of the UBCI to be at the service of this Tunisian economy in all these social and professional levels,” Koubaa said. “The success of Enda is a factor major factor for the country’s social and economic stability. This same stability will ultimately contribute indirectly to improving our risks.”

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Benin seizes assets of exiled chicken tycoon Sebastien Ajavon over alleged tax fraud

Ajavon is the founder of Cajaf-Comon, Benin’s largest supplier of frozen chicken.



Sebastien Ajavon.

Law enforcement agencies in Benin on Fri., July 1, seized household items from the Contonou residence of Beninese chicken tycoon and 2016 presidential candidate Sebastien Ajavon.

On March 22, the Supreme Court ordered the seizure of the businessman’s house and gave him one month to sell his property and start paying a fine amounting to more than 160 million CFA francs ($934,800) for alleged VAT fraud. He was also sentenced to five years in prison.

On Friday, local television stations in Benin broadcasted videos of movers taking furniture from his house, including armchairs and golden tables. A black luxury sedan was also seized from the property and loaded onto a truck. The movers were accompanied by security forces and a bailiff. The seizure of the property was requested by Beninese government.

Ajavon, who came in third after the first round of the presidential elections, has since lived in exile in France where he obtained political refugee status. He has granted numerous interviews in the past and noted that he considers himself the victim of legal harassment.

While Ajavon has been sentenced to five years in prison for VAT fraud, he has also been sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison in another case for alleged international drug trafficking. He is listed as a wanted person on a website of the Beninese Justice Ministry and an international arrest warrant was issued against him on Oct. 18, 2018.

Ajavon, 52, built his fortune in the food and media industries. He is the founder of Cajaf-Comon, Benin’s largest supplier of frozen chicken, and he owns the Sikka TV station and Radio Soleil FM, among other ventures.

In 2016, he ran for president and received almost one-quarter of the votes in the first round of the election. He subsequently dropped out of the race and supported fellow businessman Patrice Talon, who ultimately won the elections. The two have since fallen out with each other.


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Burkinabe tycoon Mahamadou Bonkoungou’s IB Bank plans to crash interest rates in Togo

Bonkoungou acquired IB Bank in Togo last December.



Mahamadou Bonkoungou.

IB Bank, formerly known as the Togolese Bank for Commerce and Industry, plans to contribute to the development of the Togolese economy by offering the lowest interest rates on the market.

The bank, which is owned by Burkinabe construction tycoon Mahamadou Bonkoungou’s IB Holding, wants to support companies in the agro-industry, transport and infrastructure sectors.

The bank’s CEO Nabil Tahari made the statement on Friday to the Togolese press during a meeting with President of the National Council of Employers of Togo Laurent Coami Tamegnon.

“Our credit rates will remain very reasonable between seven and 11 percent, maximum,” he said, according to a news report by Republic of Togo. “We have not come to do a spot operation with young companies and not see them tomorrow, we are going to help them develop and prosper.”

“We cannot operate in a country and forget the SMEs-SMIs which constitute 90 percent of its economic fabric,” he said. “We are not a selective bank.”

Last year, IB Holding acquired the Togolese Bank for Commerce and Industry. It was renamed IB Bank Togo, and marked the entry of the Burkinabe construction and aviation tycoon into Togo’s commercial banking and financial services industry. Bonkoungou’s company owns a 90-percent shareholding in IB Holding, while the Togolese state owns 10 percent of the bank.

Bonkoungou, 52, is the founder and chairman of EBOMAF Group, the largest construction company in Burkina Faso. The company builds and maintains roads, bridges, runways, and other infrastructure. He also owns Liza Aviation, a private jet charter company.

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Malawian banking mogul Hitesh Anadkat gains $40 million from stake in FMB Capital

Anadkat owns 35.51 percent of the Port Louis-based firm.



Malawian banking mogul Hitesh Anadkat.

Malawian banking mogul Hitesh Anadkat has recorded a MWK41-billion ($40 million) boost in his net worth since the start of the year, as shares in FMB Capital Holdings (FMB Capital) increased by nearly 60 percent following a stellar performance at the end of 2021.

FMB Capital is the Mauritius-based investment holding company of FMB Capital Group, which operates in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Anadkat, who founded the leading financial services firm in 1995, owns 35.51 percent of the Port Louis-based firm, which translates to 872,924,575 ordinary shares.

At the time of writing, FMB Capital shares on the Malawi Stock Exchange were worth MWK126.93 ($0.124) per share, giving the Mauritius-based investment holding a market capitalization of MWK312 billion ($304.5 million).

Shares in the financial services group have risen from MWK80 ($0.078) at the start of the year to MWK126.93 ($0.124) at the time of writing, representing a 58.7-percent gain for shareholders.

As a result of the double-digit surge in the shares of FMB Capital, the market value of Anadkat’s 35.51-percent stake has increased by MWK41 billion ($40 million) in the past 184 days, rising from MWK69.84 billion ($68.1 million) to MWK110.8 billion ($108.1 million) at the time of writing this report.

The surge in the group’s shares since the beginning of 2022 has largely been driven by investor reactions to its 2021 financial results, which showed solid performance during the fiscal year.

According to data retrieved from its annual report, profit increased to $40.4 million in 2022, up from $21.3 million in 2022. The solid financial performance reflects the underlying robustness of FMB Capital’s banking operations.

During the period under review, the group’s loans and advances increased by 35 percent during the period under review, with all operations contributing to the growth.

Anadkat, who owns a significant stake in FMB Capital, is one of the wealthiest investors on the Malawi Stock Exchange.

Apart from FMB Capital Holdings, the Malawian businessman has a beneficial interest in Botswana-based microfinance corporation Letshego Holdings and Malawi’s pioneer telecom operator, Telekom Networks Malawi Plc.

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