THE Bank of Nevis International Limited, a commercial bank operating on the West Indian island of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, has bought a 24 per cent shareholding in Investrust Bank Plc, becoming the bank’s latest shareholder.

According to a market announcement released via Stockbrokers Zambia Limited, the bank’s broker, the Bank of Nevis, otherwise referred to as BONI, acquired over 1.9 million ordinary shares, representing 24.08 per cent stake in Investrust in a move driven by the country’s long-term positive economic outlook.

“In compliance with Section 157 of the Securities Act No. 41 of 2016, Investrust hereby notifies its shareholders and the market that, that between 5th and 15th March, 2021, BONI acquired a total number of 1,966,199 ordinary shares, representing a 24.08 per cent shareholding in Investrust, which is a significant acquisition that requires a market announcement. BONI’s decision to acquire the stake and invest in the bank is driven by the long-term positive economic outlook for Zambia and reflects its confidence in the investment climate of the country in a post-COVID-19 world,” Stockbrokers said in the statement.

“BONI was incorporated under the Nevis Companies Ordinance, Cap 7.06 of the laws of St. Christopher and Nevis, on 29th April, 1998, and commenced operations on 1st July, 1998. BONI is a financial institution regulated by the regulator of international banking in Nevis and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission. BONI has a 23-year legacy position and is the Island of Nevis’s first international bank and carries the island’s name with an acute sense of responsibility.”

According to the announcement, BONI is a highly profitable institution, which offers a modern inclusive banking experience to its global customers from all over the world, including Africa.

BONI joins ZCCM-IH who also hold shares in Investrust Bank, among others.

The mining investment holding company so far remains the bank’s majority shareholder with a 71.4 per cent shareholding.

Investrust has been incurring losses in at least four consecutive financial years, with K50.9 million being the largest losses recorded in 2015.

In 2017, the bank recovered a total of K105 million in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), compared to K56 million in 2016, according to its official results.

Investrust also fell short of meeting the Bank of Zambia’s (BoZ) minimum capital requirement of K104 million by K53 million, despite having raised over K100 million in 2016, which was aimed at recapitalising the bank at the time.

But in December, 2016, Investrust successfully raised over K100 million following an overwhelming approval by its shareholders to issue cumulative shares to Meanwood Financial Services Limited.

And in April, 2018, a mandatory offer by ZCCM-IH to Investrust’s minority shareholders was accepted for the former to increase its existing shareholding from 45.4 per cent up to 71.4 per cent, which made it the current majority shareholder.