This development has seen Mr Nyambirai’s growing business empire spread its tentacles into Mr Moxon’s Meikles, Greatermans and Barbours departmental stores.
Highly placed sources from the Nyambirai and Moxon camps confirmed to this paper that TN Bank sealed the deal with Meikles Africa Limited last year, adding that the deal is strategic to both parties.
The deal has left the market stunned as it comes hot on the heels of a marriage that turned sour between Mr Nigel Chanakira and Mr Moxon.
Mr Nyambirai was, at one time, the mediator between Mr Moxon and Mr Chanakira when the fight between Mr Chanakira and Mr Moxon turned dirty and nasty.
His interest, as chairman of Econet Wireless, was mainly to protect Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s 11 percent interest in the enlarged Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited.
Many sceptics are questioning if Mr Nyambirai will not get his fingers burnt in the new deal and end up fighting Moxon like what his brother Nigel did.
Did Nyambirai betray Brother Nigel by jumping into bed with Mr Moxon or he is just a smarter businessman? In this era of indigenisation, the deal could raise eyebrows, observers have said.
Credit is, however, being given to Mr Nyambirai that he is just a smart, witty businessman who will not sign any deal until he is absolutely certain that his interests are catered for and his back covered.
While major players in the banking sector are cutting down on their branch networks against the backdrop of unsustainable cost structures, Mr Nyambirai is, on the contrary, expanding by opening in-store banking branches all over the country.
“We have set up a joint venture company with Meikles Africa Limited, that is why you are seeing TN Banking in-store at some of Meikles depart-ment stores,” confirmed a highly placed official from the TN camp.
Meikles Africa Limited company secretary Mr Andy Lane-Mitchell refused to talk to this paper on the matter, electing to say he was in a meeting with his lawyers.
However, the ongoing renovations at Meikles departmental stores confirm that TN Bank and Meikles are now bedfellows.
It is understood that the deal has helped Meikles restock its shops with household furniture from Nyambirai’s luxury furniture manufacturing division — TN Harlequin.
Under the deal, TN Bank purchases furniture for all Meikles departmental stores from its TN Harlequin arm.
Meikles, in turn, then offers its customers credit facilities to access furniture under enticing payment terms.
Customers then open TN Bank accounts upon purchase of furniture and it is these accounts in which they will deposit their monthly instalments until they have cleared.
The deal, according to Mr Nyambirai, provides a win-win situation for both parties.
Mr Nyambirai acquired Tedco Stores, which was a departmental store with 51 branches countrywide.
After gaining a 70 percent controlling stake in the company, Tedco was rebranded and incorporated into the TN Holdings Group.
Tedco branches were cut down to 37 and all rebranded into banks. Mr Nyambirai’s banking model is different as it offers financial services, Econet Wireless products, furniture and pharmaceutical products, all under one branch.
He has expanded the model into Meikles departmental stores’ branch network.
Mr Nyambirai has also taken advantage of his relationship with Meikles Africa to deploy a number of point-of-sale devices at all TM Supermarkets, and at other shops in Harare.-The Sunday Mail