Van Hoog thwarted again over board nominations

BUSINESS tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten has once again failed to appoint his nominees to the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) board after shareholders voted against his proposal.

Shareholders also rejected the statutory redenomination of shares, a first since companies started redenomination following the adoption of multiple currencies last year.  

This is the second time the British business tycoon has failed to push his trusted lieutenants onto the board after a similar bid hit a snag last year.

RTG shareholders, at an annual general meeting held in Harare on June 14, resisted  van Hoogstraten’s bid to have three directors, namely  RM Hamilton, AS Hamilton, I Haruperi and S Chibanguza, on the board.

Management at the hotel group said they could not comment on the outcome of their 11th AGM as “it was shareholders’ issue”.

The elevation of three directors, as the Hamiltons would have been alternate directors, would have left the RTG board with 12 members.

Van Hoogstraten, who controls an effective 35% through a number of investment vehicles, has in the last two years been pushing for the inclusion of his proxies onto the board.

Van Hoogstraten’s stake in the hotel group is held through Banhams Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Messina Investments and Willoughby’s Finance (Pvt) Ltd.

At the hotel group’s AGM last year, the business tycoon pushed for the dismissal of the entire board, then chaired by Grace Muradzikwa, arguing that directors did not have the required experience and skills to drive the hotel and leisure group.

Other board members included Pascal Changunda (group finance director), Cannan Dube, Charmaine Daniels, Godfrey Manhambara, Yardim Mariuma, Elliot Nyoni and Chipo Mtasa, the chief executive officer.
Analysts say the latest rejection of nominees to the board as well as passing a resolution allowing directors to redenominate shares was “curious”.

Almost all companies are switching their authorised share capital from the Zimbabwean dollar denomination to the US dollar.

Redenomination is the conversion of the whole or part of the total authorised share capital, the total issued share capital or the total to be issued share capital from one currency to another.

In the case of local companies, it is a reflection of the switch from the use of the local unit to multiple currencies last year.

Redenomination does not change or affect any rights or obligations imposed on shareholders where such rights or obligations existed prior to the passing of the resolution.

All the other companies which have tabled the issue of share redenomination before shareholders have received overwhelming support, leaving the RTG board pondering over their next step.

RTG is the second largest tourism group in the country and it owns Rainbow Towers Hotel, Harare International Conference Centre, a number of hotels across the country as well as 60% stakes in Touch the Wild Resorts and Tourism Services Zimbabwe.

Leonard Makombe