Atlas Mara Ltd. co-founder Robert Diamond said a tougher economic climate and lower asset valuations in Africa are a buying opportunity.
Risk appetite for investors “should be and is greater now than it was” in good times, Diamond, who’s been buying stakes in African banks as Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Mara, said Wednesday at the Bloomberg Africa Business and Economic Summit in Cape Town. “We think that the story is the same story. This is just a better entry point.”
Weaker demand from China and a slump in commodity prices have damped the outlook for economic growth in most African countries. Commodity-price dependent currencies like Nigeria’s naira and South Africa’s rand have slumped against the dollar. Nedbank Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Mike Brown and Black Rhino Group co-founder and chief executive Brian Herlihy echoed Diamond’s comments that this is an opportune time for investors.
“You’ve seen certainly some countries battling with the lower commodity prices and so you’ve got some bumps in the road,” Nedbank’s Brown said. “What it provides some long-term investors with is a wonderful opportunity to get in. We continue to look to grow our African businesses.”
After investors chastised the performance of Atlas Mara, Diamond began a $10 million share-buyback program on Nov. 3. The stock has fallen 12 percent this year.