14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Zhanda Steps Down

Murray & Roberts Zimbabwe board chairman Mr Paddington Zhanda has stepped down after he was asked to resign as regulatory authorities raised "conflict of interest" concerns due to his shareholding in the firm.

The resignation also came as it emerged that Zumbani, a 47 percent shareholder in the construction company, should hold on to their stake until the completion of the investigation into how the company bought into Murray & Roberts.

Mr Zhanda and former chief executive Mr Canada Malunga lead the Zumbani consortium, a majority shareholder in the now renamed Masimba Holdings Limited.

Mr Gregory Sebborn, currently a non-executive director in the company, will replace Mr Zhanda as board chairman.

Securities Commission of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Tafadzwa Chinamo said the commission had asked Mr Zhanda to step down due to conflict of interest.

"We had asked Mr Zhanda to step down as the board chairman as he was now also a major shareholder in Murray & Roberts, and the board agreed with us that this would be done. They were supposed to discuss this at their annual general meeting," said Mr Chinamo.

A source familiar with developments said there were shareholders who had expressed concern that Zumbani should not sell its shares anytime soon, considering the discounted price of US1, 47c at which the shares were acquired.

Speaking at the AGM yesterday, Mr Zhanda said the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed firm was changing its name from Murray & Roberts to Masimba Holdings Limited.

"The change of name proposal was necessitated by the disposal by Murray & Roberts of South Africa of its 46,46 percent shareholding in Murray & Roberts Zimbabwe and the desire by the directors of the company to build an independent and neutral brand that is crucial to building alliances and partnerships in Zimbabwe and the region," he said.

M&R South Africa sold its local unit to Zumbani Capital at a discount, with the consortium paying just about US$1,5 million.

A special bargain of 99,79 million shares went through the market on May 3 this year at a price significantly below the market price.

But Mr Zhanda said there were no plans to change the management at M&R, but they would work with the existing team to explore more opportunities going forward.

The former chairman said the firm was working on capitalising on the abundant opportunities in the country and the region.

"As you know, there is bound to be a lot of construction work in Tete, Mozambique, following the discovery of gas deposits," he said.

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