Listing drought persists on ZSE

EARLY this year, ZSE CEO Emmanuel Munyukwi was hoping to pop champagne corks and have a good excuse to drink during office hours more than once.

Six months later, he has only managed to pop  champagne corks twice, following two reverse listings.
Interest to list among local and foreign investors has somewhat slowed down, with the only listings on the ZSE being reverse listings. First it was TNFH Ltd that reverse-listed Tedco Ltd and then Interfin’s reverse listing of CFX Bank. Back then, it seemed the ZSE bosses would cheer more after three companies expressed interest in floating shares on the market.

ZSE boss Munyukwi says though there is interest in floating shares on the bourse among foreigners, enquiries have not been converted into a single IPO.

He says: “Foreigners have always shown interest in our market but we are not seeing that of late.”
Munyukwi says he is not despairing nonetheless. “In my experience, there are those (companies) that keep everything close to their chests until the last minute.”

Earlier in the year, Imara Capital Holdings, a Pan-African investment banking and asset management group, Telecel Zimbabwe and little known Aquiver Wireless showed interest in coming on board but are no longer pursuing those plans.

Had the companies come aboard, the development would have broken an IPO dry spell that has characterised the market for years.

Apart from a series of unbundlings that saw Dawn, Red Star, ZPI and Pearl being listed in the last six to seven years, new listings have been rare.

In the past three years only Philip Chiyangwa’s Zeco Holdings has come on the market.
Analysts say a combination of bad policies such as indigenisation and empowerment laws have not played in favour of the bourse.
Sources said the Telecel listing was never assured as the phone operator needed to negotiate around legal and corporate minefields littered around the local operation- Telecel Zimbabwe. Though the situation has improved to an extent with the de-specification of James Makamba, other shareholders are still fighting to stop the listing.

Telecel International, 60% shareholders in Telecel Zimbabwe, must sell a disputed 11% stake to its local partners. Under Zimbabwe’s laws, foreigners are not allowed to control telecommunications firms. 
By getting a listing on the ZSE, analysts say, Telecel International shareholders felt they could have some sleep insulated from ownership headaches should government follow through on plans to compel foreign businesses to own minority shareholding in local companies.

Last year, Imara Capital organised investor conferences urging foreigners to take the risk and invest in the country. 

The group has offices in Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, the UK and associate offices in Malawi and Zimbabwe and working relationships with Stockbrokers in Zambia, Namibia Equity Brokers and Mac Capital in Dubai. 

Chris Muronzi