Michael Tome Business Reporter
ZIMRE Holdings Limited has signalled a possibility of a disinvestment or a potential buy-out in Zupco by the Government. Government holds 51 percent of the transport company while Zimre has a 49 percent stake it acquired from United Transport Group, the original owners of Zupco, in 1995.
Zupco had been operating on a low-note since mid-2000s due to the growing private owned transportation system and has been a victim of numerous scandals and corruption.
The bus company’s revival was given a fresh impetus after January riots which followed a fuel price increase that consequently led to exorbitant transport fares (by privately owned coaches) hardly sustainable for the working population.
In an interview with The Herald Business, Zimre chief executive officer Stan Kudenga said Government had shown desire to buy-out the company and follow other potentially strategic routes.
He, however, pointed out that his firm was keen to partner Government in developing a vibrant urban transport system, a move he suggested would only bear fruit if Government stands on the same footing as Zimre.
“We have got a long outstanding shareholding in Zupco of 49 percent and we have shown our willingness to partner Government in urban transport system planning and investment.
“ . . . but obviously this can only be done with concurrence of the Government but Government has indicated that they might want us to disinvest and pursue other strategic initiatives.
“So we are at a stage where we are having to discuss a disinvestment and Government paying us out,” said Mr Kudenga.
Previously Zimre Holdings Limited revealed solid intentions to remain an active investor in Zupco despite shareholder disagreements with the Government.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Zupcoacting chief executive officer Evaristo Madangwa indicated the company’s intention to grow its fleet in order to meet the ever growing demand of their service.
Mr Madangwa said, “Countrywide we are looking at eventually having 3 000 buses to service everyone.
“That will be the full capacity of our buses that will cover all areas and all angles of the moving public.
“That is where we are heading and it’s a process to gradually build our capacity. And we can rest assure everyone that something is happening.”
The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) is a road transport company incorporated and registered in Zimbabwe with the mandate to provide rural, urban and regional passenger travel services.