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Zambia Sells $79 Million Mines Company Stake to Pension Fund

Zambia sold a 571 million kwacha ($79 million) stake in its mining investment company to the national pension fund as the government seeks to plug a growing budget deficit.

Zambia’s National Pension Scheme Authority bought the 15.9 million shares the government sold in ZCCM Investments Holdings on Tuesday, David Chewe, investment director at the fund, said in an e-mailed response to questions on Wednesday. The Lusaka Stock Exchange announced the government’s sale of the shares yesterday.

The deal is the first step in Zambia’s planned reduction of its stake in ZCCM-IH from 87.5 percent to 60 percent. The proceeds will help to cover a fiscal gap forecast by the International Monetary Fund to climb to 7.7 percent of gross domestic product this year.

It’s a milestone in our country’s history,” ZCCM-IH Chief Executive Officer Pius Kasolo told reporters in Lusaka Wednesday. The company’s shares are “the best performing on the Lusaka Stock Exchange,

he said. “They’re really sought after.”

ZCCM-IH, based in Lusaka, the capital, holds minority stakes in the local units of companies including First Quantum Minerals Ltd., Glencore Plc and Vedanta Resources Plc. The company is the successor to Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, which held the government’s stakes in the country’s copper operations after they were nationalized.

NAPSA bought the shares at 36 kwacha each, according to calculations by Bloomberg, representing a 10 percent discount to the price of ZCCM-IH shares on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. NAPSA added to its holding of 8.3 million shares it acquired in July through underwriting a rights issue the company held. Its combined shareholding amounts to 15 percent of ZCCM-IH’s ‘B’ shares, according to calculations by Bloomberg using data on the mining investment’s company’s website.

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