A SOUTH AFRICA-based firm has reportedly won the bid to acquire a controlling stake in suspended Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed food manufacturing firm Cairns Foods, sources close to the developments have said.
Vasari Global Holdings, one of the four bidders that were eyeing a significant stake in the struggling manufacturing concern, the sources said, won the bid with the full backing of employees.
Vasari is an international private wealth, multi-asset investment firm.
This comes after the majority of Cairns shareholders and creditors last month approved the judicial manager’s proposal for a scheme of arrangement that would bring the new investor.
The firm’s judicial manager Reggie Saruchera could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.
Sources, however, said Vasari was expected to snap the majority shareholding once held by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The central bank, which held a 67% stake in Cairns, relinquished its shareholding following a raft of measures stopping the apex bank from engaging in quasi-fiscal activities.
Other bidders included ZSE-listed Dairibord Holdings, Judah Holdings Limited and Eastern Trading Company Limited of South Africa.
Reports also show that a consortium of Russian investors led by tycoon Nikolay Varenko was also keen on investing in the loss-making firm.
The deal, according to reports, was being brokered by a local businessman.
The near collapse of Cairns last year signalled far-reaching turmoil in the country’s manufacturing sector.
Capacity utilisation in Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector has plunged to 44,2% from 57,2% recorded last year amid warnings by industry that a fresh crisis triggered by capital constraints was looming.
Official statistics show that nearly 75% of local manufacturing companies need new equipment and technology to operate efficiently.
Faced with stiff competition, the share of manufacturing output exported has fallen dramatically, further widening the country’s trade deficit.