A GROUP of 10 potential investors interested in the proposed $400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) recapitalisation project have conducted a four-day voluntary due diligence inspection of the parastatal’s assets.
NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the voluntary tour by the group was a follow-up to the recapitalisation pre-bid conference held in Bulawayo last month.
He said the gesture shows the investors’ seriousness in the parastatal’s turnaround initiative. “The potential investors visited various NRZ installations in Bulawayo, Sawmills, Dete and Gweru to familiarise themselves with the organisation’s operations as part of the recapitalisation bid process,” said Mr Maravanyika. “The visit by the investors on what was essentially an optional exercise shows the seriousness they are taking the NRZ recapitalisation project. The visit was a follow-up to the successful NRZ recapitalisation pre-bid conference held in Bulawayo on May 30.”
The pre-bid conference was attended by more than 80 investors from various countries, including China, India, United Kingdom, Belgium, Malaysia and Dubai. During the voluntary due diligence tour, Mr Maravanyika said NRZ technocrats were on hand to answer questions and queries from the potential investors as well as providing clarification. He said the tour began on June 6 when investors visited the Bulawayo mechanical workshops, the central mechanical workshops, Mpopoma diesel running maintenance depots and Mpopoma repair siding.
“The Bulawayo mechanical workshops boast of the largest factory space in Zimbabwe and serve as the hub for repair of the organisation’s locomotives and wagons. “The investors had an opportunity to see the human skills within NRZ at work as they witnessed locomotives and wagons being repaired and refurbished in the workshops. “The next day, the visitors went to the central maintenance vehicles workshop, the bridge and structural workshop and the materials yard to see workshop facilities and their capabilities,” said the NRZ public relations manager.
He said the team also took a special train on the north section up to Dete, with stops at Sawmills to see areas that they may have interest in investing in including a re-railing (laying of a new rail) project on a section of that corridor rail. “And the centralised train control at Sawmills, which offers a lot of potential to investors interested in providing signalling equipment. The last day saw the investors at Dabuka marshalling yards, near Gweru to inspect the track condition and the electrified section,” said Mr Maravanyika.
Through the recapitalisation initiative whose tendering process closes on July 4, NRZ seeks to raise more than $400 million from the market to enable the parastatal to increase its traffic volumes and profitability.
As part of efforts to make the recapitalisation process attractive to prospective investors, the Government through Treasury, has granted the NRZ recapitalisation programme, a national project status.