Pick n Pay keen on TM Reinvestment

SOUTH African retail group, Pick n Pay, is “anxious” to reinvest in TM Supermarkets but has been awaiting a settlement in a shareholder dispute in Kingdom Meikles Ltd (KML), John Moxon said.

Moxon told South African media last week that Pick n Pay, which holds a 25% stake in TM Supermarkets, the largest retail chain in Zimbabwe, has been holding back investment until a settlement was reached between himself and former KML CEO Nigel Chanakira.
Moxon, whose family owns 43% of KML, said: “Pick n Pay have been quite anxious to extend their investment in Zimbabwe. They want to rejuvenate the stores, starting with the equipment, but they did not
want to go ahead until this was resolved.”
Pick n Pay CEO Nick Badminton confirmed he had been in discussions with Meikles about investing more in TM, but did not give details.
Ironically, Moxon’s comments come after another South African retail group — Shoprite — announced it would not be pursuing opportunities in Zimbabwe saying the company needed to be “sure” that the economic climate was stable.
Shoprite chairman Christo Wiese was quoted as saying: “It was simply one of those cases where the buyer and the seller could not agree on terms.”
But insiders say Shoprite wanted to pay a discount to OK’s share price as the stock hardly traded and the market value does not reflect true value.
Shoprite was in talks with OK Zimbabwe in a deal worth around R375 million (about US$37 million) on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange but reports say the parties could not agree on the price for the second largest retail group in the country.
Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson said: “We need to be sure that the economic climate has stabilised and is showing good growth, and we just do not think it is at that stage yet”.
Basson says the KML saga was not the reason for pulling the plug and believes once they are positive indicators on the ground the group would consider investment.
Basson said: “The grass in Zimbabwe is not long enough for us to make an investment decision. We are not ruling it out again at all — it sits right next to our SA business after all. We just need more positive indicators.” 
Moxon was specified earlier in the year for allegedly externalising US$18,6 million and R21,2 million out of the country without exchange control authority.                                                                                        
Last week saw the end of the corporate brawl between Moxon and Chanakira after they reached an agreement which analysts believe was an amicable settlement between the warring factions.
Chanakira claimed he urged Moxon, his then chairman, to repatriate funds back to Zimbabwe before alerting the police with no success.
Moxon then attempted to remove Chanakira from the board sparking a political backlash.
Meikles Africa Ltd merged with Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd in November 2007 to form KMAL.

 

Chris Muronzi

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