CEO of the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments has maintained that the company deliberately walked away from Ubank bidding process in 2015. This is to clarify the “speculation” that it allegedly bid for a stake in Ubank.
Reports spreading on Thursday said that the Guptas who have strong political connections in South Africa were “aggressively wooing” the shareholders of Ubank as part of their attempt to buy the bank.
According to the recent reports, the Guptas were meeting and calling leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for weeks, trying to convince them to sell. There were speculations that suggested that the Guptas’ need for a bank became urgent after South Africa’s four biggest banks closed their doors on them.
Oakbay Investments management refuted the claims in a statement on Thursday, saying it had not accessed any due diligence data or made any binding offer whatsoever to acquire any stake in Ubank, and definitely had no direct contact with the bank since August 2015.
“We did express an early interest in Ubank a couple of years ago, but voluntarily walked away from the process at an early stage — without even going through the due diligence process — and that’s where direct contact with Ubank ended. It’s as simple and unexciting as that,” CEO of the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments Nazeem Howa said.
However, Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa acknowledged the fact that the company had earlier express an interest in Ubank a couple of years ago, but deliberately removed itself from the process at an early stage.
“That’s where direct contact with UBank ended. It’s as simple and unexciting as that.”
He emphasied on the fact that they did not even go through the due diligence process.