HCCL shareholders to approve debt-to-equity conversion

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Hwange Colliery Company

HWANGE Colliery Company Limited will hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to give more details about the conversion of $78 million government debt to equity, a move that would free the coalminer’s balance sheet and allow the company to borrow from banks.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Speaking after HCCL’s annual general meeting (AGM) held yesterday, managing director Thomas Makore said the government approved the conversion of the company’s debt to equity.

“We will hold an extraordinary general meeting where we will go into detail, it is just an announcement. Yes, government as the shareholder has approved, more details will follow. What’s remaining is the approval at an EGM that will be held soon,” he said.

The company’s acting chairperson for the AGM Jemister Chininga said the conversion of government’s debt to equity means that the other shareholders must match that contribution in proportion to their stake in the company.

“Government is saying don’t pay the money you owe us, give us additional stake that is equivalent to that amount of money,” he said.

Currently, the government is the major shareholder in the company with 36,76% stake followed by foreign companies with 31,43% and new non-resident that hold 11,37%, pension funds that hold 8% and the others.

At the commissioning of HCCL’s new equipment recently, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa said the company’s other significant shareholder Nicholas van Hoogstraten had agreed to inject funds into the coke and coal miner during the capital raising exercise.

If shareholders approve the move, government will even have more shares in Hwange.

HCCL recently commissioned equipment worth $31,2 million.