this blog is spored BY reflex Eco Group
VENTURES AFRICA – Financial veteran, Bob Diamond says his investment firm, Atlas Mara, is combing the continent for financial-services companies that will offer retail, commercial and investment services to businesses on the continent.
According to Diamond, his company, which he described as a long-term investment plan, will make a number of acquisitions within a year – with the aim of tapping into its operational expertise.
He however declined to comment on potential takeovers.
“This is very, very different from a private equity fund because it gives us an opportunity to be much more concentrated and to be really running a bank … We’re operators more than investors,” Diamond said while speaking to reporters in Lagos, Nigeria.
While noting that Africa’s financial services need to be more sophisticated, Diamond said the “private sector growth is the single most important thing today that can help Africa continues to develop economically, create jobs and create economic growth.”
Diamond founded Atlas Merchant Capital in 2013 to invest across the financial services industry. By December, he and his partner, UK-Ugandan entrepreneur Ashish J. Thakkar launched Atlas Mara in an initial public offering of $325 million after they had both invested $20 million of their own wealth to the venture.
Last month, Atlas appointed David Schamis, a former Managing Director at J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC, as a Founding Partner and the person who will oversee the firm’s private equity investing.
Diamond has been making moves to see to the success of his new venture. He was seen attending meetings with African politicians, regulators and business leaders at the last World Economic Forum in Davos alongside his partner and CEO of Mara Group, Ashish J. Thakkar.
Until July 2012, Diamond was the chief executive officer of Barclays Plc (BARC). Under his leadership, Barclays Capital’s pretax profit rose from $100 million in 1997 to $1.5 billion in 2012.