M&R boss acquires loss-making arm


Roadwin Chirara

PADDY Zhanda, Murray & Roberts (M&R)’s chairman, has acquired the firm’s loss-making agro business, Zimbabwe Tomato Drying Company (ZTDC), in a $13 billion deal.


The acquisition follows the company board’s decision to off-load non-core assets.


M&R has resolved to focus on its core business of construction and manufacturing.


The deal, which is structured on a cash price tag, will see Zhanda acquiring the entire operations and assets of the ZTDC through his Mykol Motors company.


M&R had previously struggled to sustain the operations of the ZTDC after the division continued to register repeated losses, incurring a $4,5 billion loss in the half-year results.


In a statement this week, the company said Zhanda had recused himself, dispelling previous market speculation of conflict of interest in the deal.


It said that he had also declared his interests. The concerns came after M&R, through its financial advisors – FBC Bank – turned down bids from five other prospective buyers.


FBC is said to have shortlisted three companies which were then submitted to M&R together with submissions of their financial advisors over their financial positions.


M&R chief executive, Canada Malunga, however refuted the speculation saying the decision was reached after considerations submitted by independent evaluators and advisors.


“Yes there were six bidders but the decision on the sale of the company to Mr Zhanda was taken, independent of his influence as he recused himself from the all meetings regarding the deal,” Malunga said.


He said the M&R board had also taken into consideration the business proposal submitted by Mykol Motors.