EFFORTS to revive struggling Bulawayo firm, Marvo Stationery Manufacturers, are still ongoing with indications that the judicial manager was in talks with an unnamed local investor wishing to pour in $1,5 million to revive production.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Marvo Stationery was placed under judicial management in September 2014, as it struggled to settle a debt of about $2,5 million accrued after failing to pay its creditors and a huge wage bill backlog.
Several efforts to revive the company fell through, with judicial manager, Chrispen Mwete of C Mwete and Company, saying foreign investors were pulling out because of lack of clarity on dividend repatriation.
“We are waiting for another investor after the one we had fell through (sic). The one we are engaging now is a local investor and is talking about giving us what we are looking for, that $1,5 million,” Mwete told NewsDay.
“This one is a local one, so probably dividends will not be an issue because the outsiders had a challenge with the issue of dividends repatriation.
“They were concerned about how they were going to get their dividends.
“It then becomes difficult to give the straight answer, but this one is a local investor so maybe that issue will not arise. If it is agreeable, we will do business.”
In a report prepared in April 2015, Mwete alleged that Marvo Stationery directors swindled the company of more than $150 000, leaving it insolvent.
The report also showed that the directors had failed to account for over $100 000 from the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund loan.
Mwete’s report revealed that of the $750 000 loan given to Marvo in 2012, $437 000 was used to settle a debt with ZB Bank, which in his view was abuse of the loan, which was meant for working capital and not to transfer risk from one bank to another.
Marvo, which was established in 1966 and employed 600 people at its peak, has struggled to compete with imported stationery largely because of its obsolete machinery.
Zimbabwe is going through a severe liquidity crunch, which has seen foreign companies struggling to repatriate their funds.
In 2016, a leading Botswana company, Lexus Stationery, which had promised to inject more than $150 000 to revive production, pulled out of the deal at the 11th hour.