Duckworth wary of banking sector crisis

Shakeman Mugari

TZI chief executive officer Hillary Duckworth has warned that plans to sell off the company’s 50% shareholding in Fresca could hit a snag owing to the ongoing banking sector problems.
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The company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in October last year to sell its 50% shareholding in Fresca back to the company.


“It was the Memorandum of Understanding for a possible sale. However, due to the present problems in the banking sector the deal might be under threat,” warned Duckworth in an interview with businessdigest.

TZI had mooted the sale of its 50% shareholding in Fresca and the two companies had signed MOUs agreeing on a possible deal.


Duckworth could not give the actual value of the deal and the monetary value of the 50% up for grabs.


The chief executive said the company was attracted to the deal because of the amount offered by Fresca.


“We decided to sell our shares in Fresca because we thought the price was attractive,” said Duckworth.


He added that although the TZI would get the cash benefit and shareholders, the company was yet to announce its intentions with funds raised from the deal.


Concerning Strategis Africa (Pvt) Ltd, the company said plans to sell a 25% stake in the subsidiary to a management-led consortium were on course for conclusion.


TZI is currently holding the remaining 75% stake in Strategis in trust of the shareholders.


The shares were distributed to AZ Trust last week.


The AZ Trust trustees review various proposals including a possible share swap with Strategis.


Strategis has since applied to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange later this year.


TZI embarked on an unbundling drive three years ago.


The horticultural group unbundled Art Corporation, which is now a separately listed entity.


Last year the company sold its remaining minority shareholding in Strategis Holdings Zimbabwe to a management-led consortium.


TZI said its subsidiary, Agriflora, has been spared by the economic problems in Zimbabwe.


Fresca’s business has however suffered a setback due to the problems with its farming activities continually being disrupted throughout the year. Agriflora’s factory remains largely under-utilised operating at 50% capacity.

TZI shares yesterday traded at $42 on Tuesday.

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