Businessmen Farai Matsika and Phibeon Zimuto have taken over the country’s oldest funeral services group, Doves Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, businessdigest has established.
Zimuto has since assumed the role of CEO at the group.
In an interview this week Zimuto confirmed acquiring Doves from Munyaradzi Kereke, the former advisor to ex-Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, in late 2012.
“We acquired doves in November 2012,” he said. “Doves had lost its market share, but we have worked very hard for the past one year to have a strong brand presence in the market and regain market share.”
Zimuto said the company has invested in hearses and new buses.
“We have brought new buses which we launched in one of our branches in Chitungwiza. Our services are second to none. We have the best and most experienced morticians to the extent that most funeral parlous bring in their morticians for training,” he said.
Zimuto said its funeral assurance business was booming.
“Our funeral assurance business is booming because our range of products are very affordable. They cover almost everyone in society. We have the biggest branch network in the country,” he said.
Doves Holdings has a life assurance business, Doves Funeral Assurance, Doves Funeral Services, Doves Silkwood engineering and Doves Silkwood manufacturing.
Its assurance business is largely driven by group synergies which allows the firm to come up with competitive products, while its funeral service business was established in 1902 and offers professional funeral homes.
The group has 23 branches in Zimbabwe. Located in the timber-rich eastern Highlands, Silkwood manufacturing is one of the largest manufacturers of wooden coffins and caskets in the region, while Silkwood engineering, located in Bulawayo, is involved in the manufacturing of a wide-range of steel caskets.
In June 2003, Doves group changed from being a family business to a corporate entity following its acquisition by Ecofin Venture Capital Finance owned by businessman Newton Madzika.
Madzika toyed with the idea of listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange before selling the business to Kereke a few years later.
Doves was established in 1902 by David John Morgan as the first professional funeral service establishment in the country.