Interfin Holdings Limited has acquired 12,65% of Starafricacorporation Limited through a rights issue floated by the manufacturing firm in February/March, after minorities failed to follow their rights, becoming the second single largest shareholder of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed company.
The diversified financial services company acted as underwriter in the equity offering floated to raise $10 million, while ABC Holdings handled a private placement to court institutional investors.
ABC Holdings has also sold its 22% equity interest in Starafrica to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) in rationalisation-related disposals that started with a phased withdrawal from PG Industries last year.
Together, the two entities now control 34,65% of Starafrica.
Through the minority interest, Interfin has diversified the company’s interest away from financial services, where it has also consolidated its foothold with the acquisition of a controlling stake in CFX Financial Services Limited through a similar process.
It subsequently listed on the ZSE through a reverse take-over of the disposer in June this year.
The company is already involved in commercial and merchant banking, insurance and stockbroking.
Farai Rwodzi, Interfin chairman, says the company is gravitating in a dynamic investment magnetic field and will dart to the pole where it sees value, and following a decade-long meltdown, the country’s manufacturing industry has irresistibly vast potential to decouple.
From a sugar base, Starafricacorporation has diversified to four main lines of business, namely industrial, property, wholesale and retail.
But manufacturer’s deepest roots are still sunk in its sugar business — Goldstar Sugars — the second largest sugar maker in the country to which it has committed about half of the proceeds of the equity offering to retool refineries and jostle for market share with South Africa’s Tongaat Hullett.
Interfin is currently preoccupied with the thorny and cumbersome issue of post-merger consolidation and the process is fraught with challenges related to culture divergence and contingent liabilities related to labour disputes and equity claims being made against CFX.
The company last month paid Gilbert Muponda $5,3 million for equity allegedly transferred to the acquirer irregularly during the merger, but is still to reach common ground with former CFX employees, who have sued over wage arrears and severance packages.