Timba, Masiyiwa Team Up To Buy RTG

DEAL makers Patterson Timba and Strive Masiyiwa have teamed up again to take over the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG), businessdigest can reveal. The deal is being done through Masiyiwa’s company, Econet Wireless Capital.

 

Timba, who heads Renaissance Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL), is heavily involved through Africa First Renaissance Corporation (Afre).

Timba and Masiyiwa have a strong connection at Afre.

Together they designed a massive deal that culminated in the takeover of Afre, Zimbabwe’s second largest insurance firm after Old Mutual, two years ago.

Econet Wireless Capital, the investment arm of Econet Wireless, owns just over 20% of Afre. RFHL owns about 30% of Afre.

Businessdigest understands the two have teamed up to take over RTG over the next six months.

Some deals have already been stitched together to achieve this goal. Two weeks ago Econet Wireless Capital bought about 3% of the tourism group on the market.

On Friday last week Afre bought about 16% of RTG to bring the combined shareholding that they own with Econet Wireless Capital to 19%.

They bought the first batch of 158 million (10% of RTG) from a company called Gulshan Holdings.

Afre also bought 94 million from a company called Locket and Keenan. The two companies are owned by Zimbabweans living abroad.

The companies are represented locally by Addington Chinake of Kantor & Immerman legal practitioners.

Chinake refused to shed light on the details of the deal when contacted for comment this week. Businessdigest however understands that the deal was worth $24 quadrillion (about US$5 million) and involved a share swap.

For the 158 million shares that Gulshan gave to Afre it got 1,5 million shares in Old Mutual.

For their 94 million RTG shares, Locket and Keenan got 955 000 Old Mutual shares.

The deal was struck on June 6 and concluded on June 13. Afre Asset Management investment executive, Simplecio Chinyama, who is understood to have been heavily involved in structuring the deal, denied any knowledge of the transaction.

“I know nothing about that. That is the truth,” Chinyama said.

Sources at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) however said he was at the stock market trading floors on the day the transaction was sealed to ensure that the deal went through. Renaissance Securities did the deal.

Timba and Masiyiwa’s plan is to increase their stake in the company to between 30-35% before the end of the year.

Afre group corporate affairs executive, Ruth Ncube however confirmed the deal: “Afre is an investment company. It is continuously scouting for business opportunities in Africa. This opportunity (RTG deal) arose and it’s one that the business has considered acquiring.”

They will then make RTG their associate company. This is part of Econet’s diversification programme designed to cover the gaps left by the network which is currently bleeding from price controls imposed on the tariffs.

There is speculation that Timba and Masiyiwa might want to combine RTG’s properties with those of Pearl Properties. There is also market speculation that Afre and Econet Wireless Capital could be jointly funding RTG’s hotel construction in Beitbridge. “Now they want to take their involvement further,” said a source close to the deal.

Asked for a comment RTG chief executive, Chipo Mutasa said: “I wouldn’t know because these are shares on the market. Everyone can buy.”

Meanwhile RTG held its annual general meeting yesterday. Mutasa told the shareholders at the meeting that the group’s occupancy levels had remained steady at 34% during the first four months of the year.

She said the group could have performed better “had it not been for the uncertainties surrounding the political situation”.

RTG’s two hotels in Victoria Fall and Bulawayo Rainbow performed well, said Mutasa. Rainbow Towers, the flagship of the group, performed above average but the downturn in conferencing business slow down profits.

“We achieved a 30% return on sales. We expect volumes to go up but we don’t expect them to rise beyond our budgets because the itineraries for the second half had already been done,” Mutasa said.

By Shakeman Mugari/Jeslyn Dendere