Mugabe supporter mulls tightening grip on Hwange

Godfrey Marawanyika

NICHOLAS van Hoogstraten, one of President Robert Mugabe’s most vocal supporters, is planning to consolidate his grip on Hwange Colliery in the company’s upcoming $1,5 trillion rights iss

ue due year-end.


Van Hoogstraten, who is the single largest individual investor in Hwange Colliery, recently spent two days in the mining town where he was assessing progress of investments.


His visit came ahead of the intended rights issue where Hwange plans to raise between $1,5 and $2 trillion, making it the biggest fundraising project by a stock-listed firm.


Van Hoogstraten is the largest individual shareholder in Hwange Colliery with a 12,66% stake through his company – Messina Investments.


The Briton is also understood to be a significant shareholder in Willoughby Consolidated, a UK-registered firm which has a 1,41% stake in Hwange, while government has the largest stake of 38%.


The recent visit could be an indication that he is planning to increase his stake.


Managing director, Godfrey Dzinomwa, confirmed that van Hoogstraten spent some time at the complex recently.


“He was there (Hwange Colliery) for sometime,” Dzinomwa said.

“Just like any other investor, he was assessing his investments at the company.”


Hwange Colliery Company, will soon come to the market with a $1,5-$2,5 trillion rights issue, becoming the biggest fundraising project by a stock-listed company.


A month-and-a-half ago the rights issue was said to be around $1 trillion but analysts said due to devaluation of the local currency on the official market, the rights issue might rise almost $2 trillion.


They said the rights issue will mostly be handled by a number of banks to minimise their risk exposures.


Currently, the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group have been shortlisted to handle the rights issue.


Dzinomwa said there were some issues which were still to be resolved.

“There are a few things that are still to be sorted out, but I cannot disclose the outstanding issues since it won’t be procedural,” he said.


“That’s all I can say at the moment as I cannot say anything on how much we intend to raise or who will be our underwriters.”


Since the beginning of the year, a number of firms have gone onto the market seeking to raise cash through rights issues.


Hwange Colliery has two mines – an open pit and an underground one – with the open pit producing 85% of the total output.