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Atlas Mara's Botswana-based ABC Holdings bank posts 2014 loss

GABORONE (Reuters) - Botswana's unlisted ABC Holdings, a unit of Africa-focused lender Atlas Mara's (ATMA.L), recorded a loss of 438 million pula (29.8 million pounds) in 2014 after impairments nearly doubled.

Bad debt charges rose 98 percent to 650 million pula following an effort to clean up the lender's balance sheet, acting Chief Executive Blessing Mudavanhu told reporters.

"The loss was largely due to increased impairments as well as reduced margins compared to the prior year. The new shareholders would want to start on a clean slate," he said.

Trading as BancABC in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, the lender said it registered a 35 percent drop in total income to 892 million pula while operating expenditure rose 18 percent to 1.3 billion pula.

Atlas Mara has injected $100 million into ABC Holdings since it took over the lender in August, Mudavanhu said.

(Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by James Macharia)