The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Cairns Requires U.S.$ 40 Million for Recapitalisation

Cairns Holdings said yesterday it required in excess of US$40 million in fresh capital to retire its debt and to replace obsolete equipment. Cairns was suspended from trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on Wednesday after management voluntarily applied for judicial management.

Mr Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton Camelsa has since been appointed judicial manager.

The food and beverages manufacturer owes suppliers about US$3 million, another US$15 million to banks, and considerable amounts to Zimra and workers.

The ZSE suspension is for six months, after which the situation will be reviewed.

The company's last trading price was 0,5c, and had lost 50 percent of its market capitalisation this year. It was operating at 20 percent.

Once capital is secured, Cairns Holdings expects to quickly come of the woods.

But it faces stiff competition from imports, especially from South Africa. Cairns' biggest assets are its brands such as Chompkins, Cashel Valley and Sun Jam, although inconsistent supply and quality have been a major concern.

Finance Trust, an investment vehicle owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, owns 64 percent of the group and plans are at an advanced stage to dispose of the equity.

New Ziana

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