THE Cold Storage Company (CSC) recapitalisation deal is expected to be finalised early next month, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement deputy minister, Davis Marapira has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Marapira told NewsDay that the recapitalisation deal, which has attracted “more than six” partners, was almost done.
“We have engaged some partners, with whom we are finalising the recapitalisation of CSC and after that, CSC would be the main buyer of cattle and it will help in restocking as well, and at the same time, each farm will do fattening and would be an exporter and wholesaler of meat for the country,” he said.
Pressed to disclose the identity of those partners, Marapira said: “In the meantime, I’m not in a position to tell you the names of the partners, but we have more than six interested parties and we are almost closing the deal.
“Just like what we did with Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda), you know we engaged in a public private partnership in Arda that is the same way we are doing with the Cold Storage Commission (sic).
“We have a lot of investors clamouring for that company and we are almost there and because we are almost there, I won’t be in a position to disclose, but generally speaking, we are almost there.”
Quizzed as to when the deal would sail through, Marapira said: “Come back to me after a month, we will have a good story for you.”
The government started scouting for fresh investors to revive operations at the ailing parastatal following the collapse of the $18 million deal between the former top meat exporter and the National Social Security Authority due to the government’s red tape and competing interests.
CSC was one of Zimbabwe’s most strategic assets, earning at least $45m annually before its current woes.
It is currently operating below 10% of its capacity and reported to be making annual losses in the region of $6m.
The parastatal is saddled with a debt of more than $25 million mainly as a result of fixed costs such as wages, rates and taxes on land and it is in dispute with its creditors, including 413 former workers, who are owed about $4 million in salary arrears.
The parastatal has abattoirs in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, and Marondera.