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Report: Atlas Mara abandons pursuit of Moza Banco

Atlas Mara Ltd., the Africa-focused investment firm co-founded by former Barclays Plc CEO Bob Diamond, has dropped out of the race to acquire troubled Moza Banco SA.

Seven European and African banks, including Barclays Africa Group Ltd., are conducting due diligence on the Mozambican bank and preparing to submit binding bids before the May-end deadline, Zitamar reported April 3, without citing sources.

Yet Atlas Mara, whose Botswana-based unit ABC Holdings Ltd. has a retail operation in Mozambique, has opted to withdraw its interest after more than two years of pursuing Moza Banco, Zitamar said, adding that Angolan lender Banco BIC SA has also decided not to pursue its interest.

French group Société Générale SA, which has two branches in Mozambique, has reportedly submitted an expression of interest in the lender, along with BANK OF AFRICA Group SA. National Bank of Malawi and Zimbabwe-based CBZ Holdings Ltd. are also among the potential bidders, the report noted.