Enos Banda.   File picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Enos Banda. File picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Shares in African Phoenix Investments Limited (formerly African Bank Investments Limited) will resume trading on February 1, after a nearly two-and-a-half year suspension was lifted by the JSE on Tuesday.

"Since I became a part of Phoenix in September 2016, shareholders have been clear that resumption of trade in the company’s shares was a very high and immediate priority," said Enos Banda, African Phoenix’s recently appointed CEO.

Banda said African Phoenix would announce a new strategy in the first quarter of 2017.

For the year to September 30 2016, African Phoenix reported profit after tax of R491m – a 62% decline on the previous year. This was mainly due to insurer Stangen, the group’s only operating subsidiary, exiting its relationship with African Bank Limited.

African Phoenix had assets of R2.2bn at September 30 2016 and a cash position of R1.8bn.

Its predecessor, African Bank Investments Limited (Abil) buckled under the weight of bad debt owed to African Bank in August 2014. The bank was placed into curatorship by the SA Reserve Bank and split into a "good" and "bad" bank, while shares in its parent, Abil, were suspended.

The "new" African Bank, which has no association with Abil, relaunched in April 2016 under new management and plans to roll out transactional banking later this year.

Abil, meanwhile, changed its name to African Phoenix Investments Limited (Phoenix) in September 2016, after its banking licence was revoked. In terms of Sarb rules, companies cannot have the word "bank" in their name if they do not have a licence to conduct banking business.

The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission registered Phoenix under its new name in December and shares in the company, which will trade on the JSE under AXL, will resume trading on February 1.

"In conjunction with the name change, the company will unveil its new brand which will reflect the new business strategy," African Phoenix said.

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