10 January 2013

Namibia: Ramatex Lease in Final Stages

THE City of Windhoek says it is in the final stages of signing an agreement to lease out the old Ramatex building near Otjomuise to a company called Namusa.

City of Windhoek's chief executive officer, Niilo Taapopi, yesterday told The Namibian that the municipality issued the lease agreement to attorneys of Namusa to sign, and they are still waiting for feedback from them to conclude the deal.

The deal with Namusa, a company that promised to establish a garment manufacturing factory, and to employ about 20 000 people, was approved by the city council at the end of last year.

The Malaysian textile company closed down in 2008 and left about 7 000 employees without work.

Taapopi confirmed that investors offered to pay N$20 million to the city for the land.

"Due to the holidays, the agreement was not finalised," Taapopi said.

The CEO dismissed talks that the entire land occupied by Ramatex will be leased out, saying they only agreed to lease out a portion of the land.

"We [council] will decide later about what the other portion of the land will be used for," he added.

Namusa is co-owned by retired former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Vitalis Ankama and a group of United States of America investors. Ankama told The Namibian yesterday that the matter is with the lawyers and he thus could not comment of the progress of signing the lease agreement.

He also said it will be premature to announce their plans since the deal is yet to be rubber stamped.

The former civil servant also decline to reveal the names of the American investors saying he will do so at the later stage.

Alfred Copper, a business man who is one of the co-owners from the USA declined, to name other shareholders.

He said 30 per cent of the shares will be for a selected group of Namibian shareholders, while the other 30 per cent will go to the USA group of business personalities.

Copper said the 40% will be up for public to take up shares in the company.

While the factory was closed, part of the venue was used for various events while some suggestions was that Grade 10 and 12 pupils in the Khomas Region could soon be writing their final examinations in one of the Ramatex factory buildings.

"Namusa brings high quality and value-priced cotton clothing, made in Namibia, to the US. You, our valued customer, benefit from the quality, custom clothing made to your specification and incorporating your label," is the brief introduction on their website which has been under construction since last year.

Namusa has long over the years shown interest in taking over Ramatex.

In 2010, Namusa claimed they were in the process of taking over the assets of Ramatex, however, the Malaysian owners at that time rebuked such claims.

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