Simba Breweries shuts down

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Kwekwe City Council-owned traditional beer producer, Simba Breweries, has shut down less than a year after council sold 60% of its shareholding to a private company Limsol Trading throwing over 60 workers out of work.

Limsol Trading closed down Simba Breweries citing high operational costs and liquidity challenges, just a few months after they had won a tender to refurbish and operate Simba Breweries while paying royalties to council.

The deal would have seen the new player settling salaries and wages bills owed to workers by the local authority.

Council is now alleging Limsol Trading ripped off the local authority after stripping movable plant machinery and vehicles from the brewery which it allegedly sold for a song.

Insiders said the company’s representatives sold the delivery vehicles worth around $50 000 for just $13 000.

Limsol managing director, Ken Connelly, was not taking calls as his mobile phone went unanswered for two days, he did not even respond to text messages sent on his mobile.

However, Kwekwe Mayor, Shadreck Tobaiwa, confirmed Limsol Trading had temporarily closed shop to sort out some logistical problems and would be back soon.

“Simba Breweries is temporarily closed but it will be open after Limsol sorts out some logistical problems they are facing. We heard that they sold some of our plant and equipment but at the moment I don’t have full details. I will furnish you as soon as I come back from (MDC T) congress, that’s when investigations will be complete,” said Tobaiwa.

Workers who refused to be named said their salaries were yet to be paid despite Limsol Trading taking over operations over six months ago.

“We still have unpaid salaries and wages back-dated to January and at the moment we are in the dark over our future or when or if company will open again,” said the worker.

Councillor Weston Masiya, a member of the audit committee confirmed the brewery had shut down and allegations of asset stripping had reached the committee which would now investigate the matter.

“Limsol failed to run the brewery and it’s now closed, we also heard reports that they stripped assets from Simba Breweries and the committee will soon open investigations,” said Masiya.