In April of last year, Standard Chartered Zimbabwe made a rather startling revelation. They were leaving Zimbabwe after operating in the country for about 130 years. StanChart’s managers revealed that Zimbabwe and other markets in Asia and the Middle East only accounted for about 1% of the bank’s revenue. They were going to sell their Zimbabwean establishment. Now we have an update on how this selling process. It seems the sale of Standard Chartered Bank’s Zimbabwean branch has attracted the attention of several local and regional banks looking to expand their presence in the market. Five potential investors have submitted bids for the bank.

The bidders who are eyeing the local StanChart businesses include:

  • CBZ Holdings: A well-established player in the Zimbabwean market known for its deep pockets and interest in expanding its portfolio.
  • FBC Holdings: A rising star in the banking world, with a strong track record and ambitious growth plans.
  • FNB of South Africa: A major player in the regional banking industry, looking to expand its footprint in Zimbabwe through its shareholder Old Mutual Zimbabwe.
  • South African bank Nedbank: Another major player in the regional banking industry, with a strategic interest in expanding its presence in the Zimbabwean market.
  • A consortium of Zimbabwean entrepreneurs: A group of savvy business leaders with a proven track record of success in the financial sector, looking to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

The process of identifying potential buyers is ongoing, but sources say that the finalisation of the transaction could be delayed by the upcoming general elections. Nevertheless, the banks are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for the best. It’s not every day that a blue chip like Standard Chartered comes on the market, and the bidders are determined to not let this opportunity slip through their fingers.

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StanChart is not the first international bank to leave Zimbabwe. Barclays also sold its local banking arm to First Capital of Malawi several years ago. Whoever gets Standard Chartered Zimbabwe will probably be looking to replicate the success that First Capital has enjoyed. Coincidentally both Barclays and StanChart also left the South African market years ago and were replaced by Absa and Standard Bank respectively.