HomeBusiness DigestMasholds to go on $32b shopping spree

Masholds to go on $32b shopping spree

Ngoni Chanakira

INTERMARKET Life Towers, one of Harare’s most prestigious buildings, will be snapped up by Mashonaland Holdings Ltd (Masholds) for $11,5 billion as the company transforms itself into a fully-

fledged property investment firm.

Intermarket Life Towers is currently owned by Property Development Associates (Pvt) Ltd.

Property Developments Associates is 79,29% owned by Intermarket Life Assurance Ltd (IMH), 4,855% by Anglo American Associated Companies Pension Fund (AAACPF), 4,855% by Anglo American Corporation

Zimbabwe Pension Fund (AACZPF) and 11% by Meikles Consolidated Holdings Ltd.

Masholds change-over into a fully-fledged property investment firm listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) will result in about $32 billion being splashed out acquiring various buildings and stands in upmarket areas countrywide.

Masholds still however, needs to get shareholder approval at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) next Thursday for the ambitious transaction.

According to a list of the properties to be acquired at “open market values” as at September 1 as determined by leading independent property valuers Knight Frank, Masholds will have to fork out $31 815 990 000 for 14 upmarket properties and stands spread countrywide.

Prominent businessman Godfrey Gomwe who also sits on various boards including that of mining giant Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe Ltd, chairs Masholds.

In an interesting twist Masholds intends to purchase Charter House along Harare’s Samora Machel Avenue which houses the Anglo head office in Zimbabwe for $3,65 billion.

Charter House was owned by Charter Properties (Pvt) Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of Anglo American Zimbabwe Ltd.

However, top of Gomwe’s property shopping basket list are Intermarket Life Towers where he intends to splash out $11,5 billion.

The tenants of Intermarket Life Towers include IMH, blue chip counters listed on the ZSE such as Dairibord Zimbabwe Ltd, and Barbican Holdings Ltd.

British Airways, donor organisations such as the Africa Capacity Building Foundation and Japanese Volunteer Cooperative also occupy office space in the high rise building adjacent to the five-star Meikles Hotel.

Masholds also intends to spend $4,79 billion purchasing Chiyedza House in Harare, originally owned by Southampton Properties (Pvt) Ltd.

Southampton Assurance Compa-ny of Zimbabwe and Southampton Properties (Pvt) Ltd, which subsequently changed its name to Intermarket Properties (Pvt) Ltd, are controlled by IMH.

Business tycoon and banker Nicholas Vingirai heads Intermarket Holdings Ltd, the owners of Intermarket Properties.

The diversified company is involved in banking, insurance and asset management. It took over Founders Building Society, one of the country’s premier building societies.

Chiyedza House has as some of its tenants the ZSE, Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd and Econet Wireless Holdings.

Other prominent buildings on the Gomwe list include West End Clinic in Harare ($1,1 billion), Express Stores in Harare ($1,1 billion), and Intermarket Centres in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare ($5,2 billion, $440 million, and $220 million, respectively).

Masholds also intends to purchase a stand in the upmarket Borrowdale Brooke for $1,2 billion, Borrowdale Estate ($1,9 billion) and in Southerton ($535 million).

It said the properties would be acquired in terms of a memorandum of agreement between itself, Anglo, IMH, AAACPF, AACZPF and Richard Ellis Real Estate (Pvt) Ltd.

The company said property minorities would be offered either cash or shares, on the same terms and conditions for the value of their shares in the respective properties such as in the commercial, industrial, residential, leisure and retail sectors.

Gomwe has made a dramatic change at Masholds, once a troublesome stock on the ZSE.

The company’s turnover for the six months ended March 31, at $15, 1 million, was generated from rentals received.

Masholds’ operating loss from continuing operations of some $27 million was reduced to $12,5 million. The company has a market capitalisation of $15 billion on the stock exchange.

Management said Masholds’ objective was to grow to a point where the portfolio would be representative of a satisfactory spread of properties in all sectors.

“Property remains grossly” undervalued vis-a-vis neighbours to the north of Zimbabwe, therefore scope for both capital uplift and income growth for the properties being acquired is significant in the short to medium term,” the directors said. “The enormous gap between the depreciated replacement cost and the open market values clearly demonstrates this point.”

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