Chanakira Lands 49% Stake in Kingdom

THAT a settlement between Kingdom Bank founder Nigel Chanakira and his rival Kingdom Meikles Limited (KML) front man John Moxon was in the offing could be seen coming a month ago.

But what few had seen coming was Chanakira emerging with a handsome 49% stake, much more than he has ever had in Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL) post KML de-merger.

It seemed on the surface, at least, that things would get a little complex for the banker given that he did not hold real control of his bank but relied largely on alliances with business associates Strive Masiyiwa and initially Moxon to call the shots at KFHL.

And without such key support, his future even post demerger seemed rather hazy.

Had Moxon opted not to sell his KFHL shares, he would have emerged as the major shareholder in KFHL as well. But Moxon possibly weighed his stake in KFHL against his holdings—hotels, agriculture and retail—and thought: “Why the hack should I keep fighting.”

The Moxon family also regains about 50% of Meikles, one of the oldest businesses in the country.

And Econet’s unclear position in the fight also fed into the speculation.  Even Chanakira himself according to his draft affidavit, could no longer tell his enemies from his friends a few weeks to the settlement.

He alleged conflict of interest on the part of his then lawyer and negotiator Tawanda Nyambirai who also doubled as his go-between with Moxon.

Now, Chanakira seems to have put the KMAL chapter behind him. He believes once the de-merger is complete, he will pursue his dream — a listing on the Wall Street.

He also wants to see KFHL shares trading on the JSE once separation is achieved.

Last month Chanakira said: “Once the de-merger is behind us, we can move forward and are looking to take the company further than just Zimbabwe. I remain confident that in the next month or two we will have a resolution on the de-merger and be able to move on.”

Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited was formed in January last year by combining Kingdom, Meikles and Tanganda.

KMAL announced on June 26 the businesses would separate after disagreements between John Moxon, who was the biggest shareholder in Meikles Africa, and Chanakira, Kingdom Meikles’ former chief executive officer.

Earlier this year, government placed Moxon and associate companies under specification amid allegations of externalisation of foreign exchange.

Kingdom is looking to raise private capital, having already put about $12,5 million in the bag, or about half, of what is needed for the company to “get back to business,” Chanakira told Bloomberg last month.

After that, the financial services group says the company wants to raise as much as $100 million so that it can expand into Africa, he added.

Kingdom got a licence to operate in Cameroon and is already active in Malawi at FDH. The group is also planning a move into South Africa where it says it “will run a niche operation for the four million or so Zimbabweans living there,” he said.

Kingdom is “positive” that it will be able to increase earnings from individual savings accounts in the next two years as Zimbabwe’s economy begins to improve.

Moxon believes the settlement was the end of a “horrific period” in his life. But is it really the end of that nightmare?

Observers are keen to see how fast government will revoke the specification. This is because Zanu PF officials could be eyeing Meikles Africa’s assets which cut across agriculture, hotels, retail and printing.

The market fears Chanakira could have opened Pandora’s box and might not have control over the specification even though he sealed a rather handsome deal that will see him emerge with more control of the bank than he has had since listing.

Moxon stands accused of “externalising” $22,3 million — banking euphemism for smuggling foreign exchange out of the country. In government circles exetrnalisation is a serious crime judging by the way offenders are treated.

The specification, analysts say, only shows how government machinery can be manipulated for political and personal ends.

Moxon is also planning.

“The general view after … negotiations was that the specification will be lifted, and fairly soon. But it has to be lifted by the courts.”

Moxon doesn’t seem worried about the specification hanging over his empire and is already looking into the future.

According to Moxon, the resolution of the KMAL dispute could pave way for South Africa retail giant Pick n Pay to invest more money into Zimbabwe.

Pick n Pay owns 25% of TM Supermarkets, which is controlled by Moxon’s family.

 

Chris Muronzi

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