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Abil could list as early as February - Report

Failed South African lender African Bank Investments (Abil) plans to re-list on the JSE.

FILE: Tom Winterboer told Business Day the bank had collected “well over” R2 billion from borrowers over the past month.

JOHANNESBURG - Failed South African lender African Bank Investments (Abil) plans to re-list on the Johannesburg exchange in February and may expand into secured lending and insurance, its government-appointed supervisor was quoted saying by a local newspaper on Friday.

Tom Winterboer, appointed by the central bank to restructure the unsecured lender after it faltered under a mountain of bad debts in August, also told Business Day the bank had collected "well over" R2 billion from borrowers over the past month.

The central bank stepped in to rescue the bank by placing it under external supervision last month and arranged a planned $940 million rights offering of shares underwritten by other local lenders.

It also separated Abil's good loans from a R17 billion "bad book", which it took over for R7 billion, and appointed a Winterboer, a PricewaterhouseCoopers executive, to lead a restructuring process. The "good bank" is worth R26 billion after bad debts.

"We are looking at listing in the second half of February, which means applications to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange must be in by early November," Business Day quoted Winterboer as saying.

"We are already doing vehicle and asset finance and could do that on a secured basis," he said.

The collections of more than R2 billion over the last month came from both loan books, Winterboer told the newspaper, adding that Abil was aiming to advance around R1 billion in new loans a year from now.

The central bank said this month it was investigating African Bank for reckless lending, questionable management practices and fraud.

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