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Cambria seeks to recover Old Mutual shares

Old Mutual was suspended from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in 2020 alongside seed producer Seed Co and PPC.

MULTINATIONAL investment firm Cambria Africa Plc has applied to the government for a dispensation to return its Old Mutual Limited shares to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), where they were originally purchased.

Cambria owns 204 000 Old Mutual shares.

Old Mutual was suspended from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in 2020 alongside seed producer Seed Co and PPC.

The government accused the three companies of fuelling the parallel market rate. It suspected that fungible counters were aggravating the depreciation of the domestic currency, which has been falling since 2016. Fungible counters trade on more than one bourse.

“Prior to the suspension in 2020, fungibility of shares in dual/multi-listed companies such as Old Mutual was also suspended,” the firm said in a market update.

“This has prevented the company from repatriating 204 000 Old Mutual shares to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where they were originally purchased. The company has applied to the Finance ministry for a dispensation to return these shares to JSE.”

Old Mutual Zimbabwe chief executive officer Samuel Matsekete last year told NewsDay Business that a number of proposals have been tabled before the authorities to resolve the impasse.

“The engagements with the authorities around the lifting of that suspension have been ongoing. A number of proposals have been under discussion with authorities,” he said.

“These discussions have also involved the principals from Old Mutual Limited who are the primary authority that is listed.

“We have been assured that this matter is going to be concluded soon but that really is the prerogative of authorities and how they view the position around the shares and the fears that really triggered the suspension.”

He said the authorities feared that the return of OML would see the return of the Old Mutual Implied Rate and that this would be once again used to determine the forex rates.

“So, we are still where we were when we last reported. There still have been engagements, however, we are still to get the authorities upon the proposals that have been submitted towards either lifting that suspension or creating alternative ways to allow the 32 000 shareholders on the register to trade in their share,” Matsekete said.

Meanwhile, Cambria reported that it will not be in a position to release audited results for the year ended August 31, 2023 by February 29, 2024 as required under AIM Rule 19 of the AIM Rules for Companies.

As a result, the company’s shares will be suspended with effect from March 1, 2024 until such time as the audited results are published and sent to its shareholders.

It said its cash flow remained positive, but significantly impacted by the depreciation of the local currency.

Outside Zimbabwe, as of February 8, 2024, the company said it held about US$1,45 million in cash reserves earning an average of 4,9% per annum. In Zimbabwe, it holds United States-denominated accounts, gold coins, local currency and shares with an approximate value of US$150 000.

“The company remains steadfast in its efforts to minimise overhead and administrative expenses wherever possible to maximise and protect NAV (net asset value). The board sees value in its listing and is exploring avenues to capitalise on its listing while minimising the associated costs,” it said.

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