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BizDay Zimbabwe

RBZ offloads Astra stake

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JAPANESE paint manufacturing giant Kansai Plascon has acquired 49 percent of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s 63 percent stake in Astra Industries in a deal worth US$5,5 million.
The acquisition is in line with the country’s indigenisation requirements. In terms of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, foreign-owned companies are allowed to hold a maximum of 49 percent equity in a local firm. Astra Industries chairman Mr Addington Chinake said the deal was going to play a major role in the revival of the company which was on the verge of collapse.

“The deal has been subject to speculation for the past six months and today we are formally telling the nation that Kansai Plascon and Astra are now partners.

“The role played by the RBZ in making the deal successful should not be underestimated and we are proud as Astra that we have managed to abide by the Look East policy after attracting investment through our Japanese partners,” he said.

“It is a great achievement not to Astra alone, but Zimbabwe as a whole as we have managed to attract a prestigious investor who has been in the paint manufacturing industry for 95 years with a firm presence on the African continent in 16 African countries, including 10 manufacturing sites,” he said.

Kansai Plascon was founded in 1918 and is in the top 10 global paint companies with a corporate office in Sandton, Johannesburg, that supports the manufacturing sites in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Mr Mike Bimha, who graced the event for the official announcement of the deal, said such partnerships were a great milestone towards achieving positive results in the local industry.

“Our nation has been getting negative publicity in terms our investment environment, therefore it shows that many investors are willing to inject fresh capital into our industries which is a step towards an economic rebound,” he said.

The RBZ sold the stake as part of its disposal of non-core assets held through Fintrust, its investment arm, as it mobilises resources to pay off its debts.

The RBZ is in the process of selling non-core assets and in January this year disposed of its 58 percent stake in Tractive Power Holdings.

The central bank is also in the process of selling its interest in Cairns Holdings. RBZ is also the major shareholder in Tuli Coal in which it has 70 percent stake and holds the entire equity of Carlstone Enterprises, another mining entity.

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