HomeBusiness DigestNssa mulls minority shareholder buyout

Nssa mulls minority shareholder buyout

The National Social Security Authority (Nssa) could make an offer to minorities in ZB Financial Holdings, if shareholder conflict persists at the group, chairman Robin Vela said.

By Chris Muronzi

Vela, who has led a crusade to reform the initially corruption-ridden social security fund since taking over 20 months ago, told businessdigest on the sidelines of his update to the media that his board was looking at various options including an offer.

“Making an offer to minorities is certainly not off the table for us,” said Vela. “We are considering many options.”

Nssa and Transnational Holdings Ltd (THL), a vehicle controlled by banker Nicholas Vingirai, have crossed swords, with Nssa now demanding seats on the board of ZB Financial Holdings.

THL seconded Mike Manyika to the position of chief operating officer, although documents seen by businessdigest show he has been forced to step down after clashes over his appointment which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said was irregular and unlawful.

This comes after Nssa made another offer to Nicoz Diamond minority shareholders in line with the ZSE-listing rules.

Nssa has a 44% equity stake in listed short-term insurer Nicoz Diamond and in line with ZSE rules that any shareholder with 35% of a company’s issued capital must make an offer to minorities.

“Equity has been increased (in Nicoz) as part of an effort to consolidate holdings in the insurance sector, a strategy that will be deployed in other sectors that the authority has interests,” said Vela.

This, he added, will give Nssa a stronger voice in addressing governance of the investee companies, in particular, remunerations of boards, transparency, disclosure and to increase profitability and meaningful dividend payment.
Nssa collects around US$20 million monthly from employee contributions and spends around US$13 million on payouts, leaving a balance of US$7 million for investments and salaries.

The fund has US$640 million income earning investments.

Management says a significant portion of this is in equities and properties.

Vela said Nssa was looking at exiting some companies it is invested in. Nssa is invested in more than 100 companies, he said.

On banks, he said he was looking at how to address shareholding issues, which is spread across the banking sector, hinting at possibility of exiting some.

Nssa has significant shareholding in CBZ, FBC, ZB and the National Building Society.

He added Nssa was looking at investing US$18 million in the Cold Storage Commission (CSC).

“The authority, in line with its commitment to investment in National projects of a strategic nature such as agriculture and infrastructure, is working with government to resuscitate the CSC during the course of the year.

Indicatively, US$15-18 million will be required,” Vela said.

“We believe that this will unlock value in the livestock industry through job creation, foreign currency earnings and increased contribution to the benefit of our contributors/pensioner and the economy at large.”

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