Mauritius has asked a bank in South Africa to help find a buyer for a near 25 per cent stake in Kenya's British-American Investments Co (Britam) which was seized from a disgraced tycoon, the finance minister said on Thursday.
Finance Minister Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo told Reuters that alternatively the stake could be bought by a Mauritian sovereign fund due to be set up next month if the right price could not be secured.
The Indian Ocean island seized the assets of Dawood Rawat, a Mauritius citizen, in April after accusing him of running a Ponzi scheme through a Mauritian insurer.
"We have given an option to a bank in South Africa to look for a buyer for the whole lot, ... but at a price that is much higher than the level today," Lutchmeenaraidoo told Reuters in an interview, without naming the bank.
Britam's shares, which were trading at around Sh28 in April before the assets were seized, closed on Wednesday at Sh15.75 ($0.15).
Mauritius aims to raise Sh12 billion ($118 million) from selling the stake to help repay those who lost money in the Ponzi scheme, the minister said, adding this would mean securing a price of about Sh21 a share.
"If this doesn't come ... then the legacy sovereign fund will buy it," he said, referring to a fund he said would be set up in November to hold long-term investments.
He did not give further details about the fund.