ZB, Canadian firm in solar deal

AFRICAN Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Fund is in talks with ZB Financial Holdings for a deal to work on solar power projects, in a move that will see the bank offering loans for energy generation in the country.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

ZB Financial Holdings CEO Ron Mutandagayi
ZB Financial Holdings CEO Ron Mutandagayi

In an interview, ZB Financial Holdings chief executive officer, Ron Mutandagayi, said the company was working towards renewable energy and the funder was a Canadian-based firm. He said the fund will be underwritten by United Nations.

“Regarding deal closure, we are still in negotiations with counter parties. We are also looking at a possibility of constructing a mini power station at a local university, since we have plenty of sunshine. We will be looking at a range of between $5 million to $100 million to fund construction of a mini power station,” he said.

Mutandagayi said the group has piloted a project on backbone electricity infrastructure with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, and 3 000 houses were being connected to the national grid. He said the group had spent over $100 000 on the project.

The group will focus on sovereign paper to preserve cash, with ZB official, Fanuel Kapanje saying they will concentrate on Treasury Bills, as they were immune to impairment and also that the government was meeting its obligations when they matured.

Mutandagayi said the group’s limit on Treasury Bills was $120 million and they were still below that figure.

He said the group will not be forced to lend for the sake of lending, as they have not been able to attract customers that deserve the loans that they are offering.

Non-performing loans for the group were at $27 million and the NPL’s ratio was 24%, which is higher than the 10,8% announced by the central bank in January. Mutandagayi said the group was working towards reducing the NPL ratio.

Meanwhile, ZB Financial Holdings group has taken a step back on its investment in Mozambique due to undisclosed issues that have risen from that country. The group had obtained approvals for the setting up of a reinsurance unit in Mozambique.

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