Bright Madera Senior Business Reporter
A LOCAL consortium has gained control of Murray & Roberts Zimbabwe after acquiring a 46,6 percent stake from M&R South Africa and Trinvest. The deal was concluded through a special bargain on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange yesterday, with 99 792 515
shares valued at US$1,4 million changing hands at US1,47c a share.
This represents a huge discount of 79 percent on the last traded price of US7c, raising questions on why the SA investors were exiting at such a heavy loss.
The takeover has been linked to Zumbani Capital, reportedly controlled by ex-M&R chief executive officer Mr Canada Malunga, and businessman-cum-politician Mr Paddy Zhanda.
This latest development will enable Murray & Roberts to rebrand, despite the strength of the international brand. The deal has received regulatory approvals from all the relevant authorities.
Analysts yesterday said it was surprising why M&R South Africa was exiting the country when the construction sector was showing strong signs of recovery.
However, some analysts said the timing was perfect for the local consortium as business in the sector was picking up.
The construction sector, often used as a barometer of economic performance, is expected to grow by 1,5 percent this year, up from 1 percent growth last year.
The construction sector has been negatively affected by liquidity challenges which have resulted in most projects being halted.
Government is the major client and against the background of infrastructure development, more funding would be channelled to the construction sector.
Murray & Roberts was listed on the ZSE in 1974 and boasts contracting and manufacturing divisions.
The contracting divisions are Murray & Roberts Construction Zimbabwe and Pro-Plastics.
Meanwhile, the industrial index continued to weaken, dropping a further 0,46 percent to 128,95 points while the mining index was up 0,12 percent to 97,27 points.
OK Zimbabwe was unchanged at US10c despite news of the fire, which destroyed warehoused stock whose value has not yet been ascertained.
Econet was among the biggest gainers, adding US6,33c to US385,03c. Other big companies, however, continued in the negative, with Seed Co losing US5c to US80c, Innscor dropping a cent to US54c and Old Mutual down US$1,01c to US$153,99c.
The industrial index has lost 4 percent in the past seven trading days, it has lost 7 percent in the last 30 days and since the beginning of the year the index has lost 12 percent.
The mining index has shown some recovery, gaining 8 percent in the past seven trades and 14 percent in the last 30 trades. But the index has lost 3 percent since the beginning of the year.