BY MTHANDAZO NYONI BOUSTEAD Beef, a firm that is charged with the revival of the state run Cold Storage Company (CSC), has approached the courts seeking termination of corporate rescue proceedings for the former giant meat processor.
CSC entered administration in 2020 after the government claimed that the Livestock Joint Farming Concession Agreement (LJFCA) it entered into with Boustead in 2019 was difficult to implement.
Creditors were at the time mooting plans to attach the firm’s assets.
Ngoni Kudenga of BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants was then appointed corporate rescue practitioner, before being disqualified on conflict of interest grounds.
Kudenga was then replaced by Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners.
Majoko has since been removed.
In his founding affidavit seen by Standardbusiness, Boustead acting managing director Reginald Shoko said the government had given his company control of CSC.
He said there was no longer a need for corporate rescue proceedings.
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“Applicant (Boustead) has been managing the affairs of the Cold Storage Company (Private) Limited in pursuit of the provisions of the Livestock Joint Farming Concession Agreement concluded with the government of Zimbabwe; and as such there exists no further cause for the Cold Storage Company (Private) Limited to remain under corporate rescue,” Shoko said.
“Applicant is advised and accepts that this honourable court will set aside the court order which commenced the corporate rescue proceedings, in terms of Section 125 of the Insolvency Act.”
The application was lodged on August 15.
It cited Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka and the deputy master of the High Court as first and second respondents.
“This is an application for the termination of corporate rescue proceedings in respect of the Cold Storage Company (Private) Limited, which applicant is advised,” Shoko said.
To turnaround the CSC, the government in 2019 signed a LJFCA with Boustead.
The agreement empowered the firm to assume control of CSC ranches and meat processing facilities across the country.
It was also meant to empower the firm to manage CSC distribution centres and residential properties in Harare, Gweru and Mutare for a period of 25 years.
In the first year, Boustead was expected to invest US$45 million and US$10 million was set to be channelled towards purchasing cattle.
The other money was earmarked for investment into abattoir refurbishment and other requirements.
In total, Boustead was expected to invest about US$130 million into CSC over five years.
But so far, US$24 million has been pumped into the business, according to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who officially re-opened the beef processing plant in Bulawayo on Thursday.
Recent investigation by Standardbusiness showed that Boustead Beef UK (Pvt) Ltd director Nicholas Havercroft sold the CSC debts book to “himself” at a discounted price, prejudicing creditors in the process.
The deal was entered into by Boustead Beef UK and CSC on March 5, 2019.
Both companies were represented by Havercroft.
According to the debt purchase (DP) agreement dated March 5, 2019 and signed by Havercroft on behalf of CSC, the seller and Boustead Beef UK, the buyer, the CSC debt totalling US$33 million was bought by Boustead Beef UK for only US$330 000.