Astra deal awaits CTC nod

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ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed manufacturing concern Astra Industries is awaiting approval from the Competition and Tariff Commission following the acquisition of a controlling stake in the company previously owned by the Reserve Bank.

Report by Bernard Mpofu

Astra yesterday announced that a Japan-based firm with operations in the region had snapped a significant stake in the firm. The transaction, according to the statement released by the company, has partially complied with the country’s empowerment policy compelling foreign-owned companies to sell 51% stakes to locals.

The Reserve Bank, through its investment arm Finance Trust of Zimbabwe, disposed the 63% equity of Astra as the central bank winds up its quasi fiscal operations.

The transaction was executed as a special bargain on the ZSE on July 18 at a price per share of $0,06213. Following the change in shareholding, the board has recently been reconstituted.

“The company and Hemistar Investments (Private Limited) wish to advise the company’s shareholders that Finance Trust of Zimbabwe (Private) Limited (Finance Trust) has agreed to sell its aggregate 88 526 968 ordinary shares of the company, being 63,25% of the issued share capital of the company, to Hemistar,” said Astra.

“The transaction has received the provisional approval of the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, as well as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Exchange Control Division and the External Loans Co-ordinating Committee. An application to the Competition and Tariff Commission is pending approval.”

The mandatory offer to minorities, according to the statement, would be made within a period of 12 months from the date of the transaction (July 18). ZSE listings requirements require that an acquirer of ZSE-listed shares of a minimum of 35% by a person or group acting in concert will have an obligation to make an offer to the minority on a basis agreed with the committee, which in aggregate amounts to a change in control, should make an offer to the minorities unless this requirement has been waived by the ZSE.