Investment holding company African Phoenix Investments (API), which rose out of the ashes of African Bank, said on Friday that it has terminated merger talks with financial services group Zarclear by mutual agreement.

API said that while there were strong operational and capital market benefits to the merger, it had instead decided to proceed with delisting from the JSE, after engaging with its shareholders.

The two had said in 2019 they were considering merging. Earlier in 2019, Zarclear had paid R246m to get a 22% stake in API.

Under the deal, API would have acquired the entire share capital of Zarclear, in an exchange determined by the ratio between the net asset values of the two companies.

API said on Friday it still intends to delist from the JSE, citing the costs and expenses of listing, while its private equity strategy would be best served in an unlisted environment.

This is still subject to shareholder approval.

In afternoon trade on Friday API was 5.71% to 37c, having fallen 32.73% over the past 12 months.