Richest Kiwi quits Africa now

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 16:03 26/02/2013

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Stephen Jennings, the Taranaki-born man once reputed to be the richest New Zealander, has suddenly quit his African interests three months after losing the Russian investment bank he founded and made him a billionaire.

Jennings, through Renaissance Capital founded 17 years ago, made about US$5 billion ($6 billion) before falling on harder times. Last year he made the National Business Review's rich list with $900 million.

Jennings, 52, stepped down from Renaissance last year after billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov rebuffed his requests for more cash for the money-losing investment bank.

Jennings left Moscow and was believed to be in Nigeria, but Bloomberg news agency said it could not contact him on his latest moves.

Now the Moscow business daily Vedomosti said Jennings resigned as chief executive of Renaissance Group - a relic of Capital - on January 1.

Group deputy CEO Hans Jochum Horn wrote to the staff announcing Jennings' departure.

"Stephen is in the same situation as many of you - a shareholder who has left the group," Horn said in a Reuters News Agency translation of the letter.

Horn said in the letter as saying he had carried out a preliminary analysis of the group which showed it had assets of US$221m but that these were opaque and illiquid.

Vedomosti asked the holders of three issues of Eurobonds in total worth US$250m to agree to restructure those notes.

Horn would make no further comment.

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