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Business News Mon, 31 Mar 2003

Govt Moves To Finally Sell GCB

Government is intensifying its efforts in finding a strategic investor for the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB). Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Geysika Agambilla says government is pushing for a speedy deal with investors ready to take part in the sell-off this year.

Though government is yet to announce the details of its search for a strategic investor to buy the bank?s shares, the Tema Oil Refinery debt is reducing its attractiveness to potential strategic investors.

This has remained a critical issue that government, a majority shareholder with 47% shares and SSNIT the second largest shareholder with 17% have to deal with.

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Managing Director of GCB, Mrs Matilda Obeng Ansong in supporting government?s intention says it would be prudent for government to give adequate time and establish a strong working relationship with management of the bank when it secures a strategic investor willing to take up the shares.

Analysts are not particularly in favour of transferring majority ownership of GCB to foreign investors and point out that for a bank that had given tremendous support to local businesses, government should keep its shares. Issues of concern are the likely job cuts and refocusing of the bank?s mission should foreign investors take over the affairs of the bank.

Source: Business and Financial Times
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