Meikles Limited has said it is in the penultimate stages of its plans to dispose of its main hotel in Harare to Dubai-based Albwardy Investment.
The sell, which now only requires majority shareholder vote, has already obtained the thumps up of the Competition and Tariff Commission.
Two years ago, Albwardy Investment initially tried to acquire a controlling stake in the Meikles Limited group, but the deal failed to sail through, only to return, this time targeting the hospitality group’s prime asset — Meikles Hotel.
The value of the deal remains a closely guarded secret for but some reports have put it at around US$20 million.
Meikles Limited made its first public disclosure about the potential sale in February this year and has more than 10 times updated the market on the progress.
In its latest cautionary statement, the group’s company secretary Thabani Mpofu said, “ . . . the directors of Meikles Limited wish to advise shareholders that the company has engaged the relevant authorities in the process of finalising the Meikles Hotel transaction and awaits responses from the same.”
The transaction also requires the nod from institutions such as the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Once regulatory approval had been obtained, Mpofu said: “The company will be seeking approval of its shareholders for the proposed disposal at an extra-ordinary general meeting to be convened at a future date.”
The deal might either be revised or terminated in the event that it fails to garner the requisite shareholder support, company officials have said.
The Moxon Group, which is the major shareholder in Meikles Limited, is supportive of the sale. Meikles Limited chairman John Moxon at the last update said the hotel required about US$30 million to be upgraded to competitive five star international standards, which the group did not have.
“The group does not consider that it is in a position to commit the necessary funds to the hotel and it is best for the future of the hotel to place its development in the hands of skilled international operators,” he said when the group released its financial statements for the year ended March 2019.
Founded in the 1970s, Albwardy is a diversified group with operations in over 20 countries, with subsidiaries in sectors such as food distribution, retail, construction, shipyards, hospitality and hotels.
On the other hand, Meikles Limited, with operations spanning over a century, has companies in retail, hotels and hospitality as well as the financial sector.
Besides the Meikles Hotel, the group is also joint owner of the The Victoria Falls Hotel and has a shareholding in the Cape Grace Hotel in South Africa. – New Ziana.