No Risk In Zimbabwe: Shoprite
SHOPRITE chairman Cristo Wiese said his company will go ahead with its R167 million deal to buy OK Zimbabwe Limited, their investments would not be at risk as perceived in some quarters.
South African investors have been making inroads into Zimbabwe following the formation of the inclusive Government, which has seen the country starting to regain its image as a good investment destination.
Wiese told SA media at the weekend his company would proceed with plans to enter Zimbabwe despite the perceived risk on investments saying "we have never had threats ourselves." Wiese told SA media at the weekend his company would proceed with plans to enter Zimbabwe despite the perceived risk on investments saying "we have never had threats ourselves." Wiese was responding to questions from South African media on whether Shoprite did not feel threatened investing in Zimbabwe considering the crisis at Kingdom Meikles Limited, which foreign media claim is a Government bid to nationalise the company.
"We are like good Africans, we are confident a solution (regarding KML) will be found and we believe the whole of southern Africa will enter a new era over the next five to 10 years," said Wiese.
Shoprite, SA's largest retailer, is targeting a controlling stake in OK Zimbabwe Limited. Talks between the two have been going on for three months
Shoprite officials were in the country recently to finalise the deal.
The South African retailer announced plans to enter the Zimbabwean market early this year after the adoption of the the South African rand, the euro, the US dollar and the British pound as legal tender.
The retail industry in Zimbabwe has been the fastest to recover from years of economic decline, prompting Shoprite to seek an early foothold in the market.
The JSE-listed company entered Zimbabwe in 2000 with the opening of a Shoprite shop in Bulawayo, the only branch in the country.
Any purchase in OK would throw it into competition with its SA rival Pick 'n Pay, which has a 25% stake in TM Supermarkets.
Another SA grocery shop, Mr. Price, has already established branches in Harare as the country's retail sector gradually recovers.
Shoprite Holdings Limited is an investment holdings company that, through its subsidiaries, constitutes a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) retail operation on the African continent.
Its primary business is food retailing to consumers of all income levels.
The company is organised into two main business segments: Supermarkets, including fresh produce, franchise, furniture and insurance.
Today the Shoprite Group trades with 1 068 corporate and 275 franchise outlets in 17 countries across Africa, bringing the total number of stores in the group to 1 343.
Shoprite is in Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambiaque, Mauritius, Malawi, Madagascar, Ghana and Angola.
Invest in Zim, Swedish companies urged
Swedish companies should seize investment opportunities in Zimbabwe now and be on an advantageous position when normal relations between the country and the European Union resume, an official has said.
Swedish Ambassador Stan Rylander said nothing could stop Swedish firms from investing in Zimbabwe.
"If you are following the sanctions debate, you might get the impression that something is preventing Swedish companies from investing in Zimbabwe," he said.
He said the Swedish embassy was stepping up efforts to convince more companies to come and invest in the country.
Rylander was speaking on the sidelines of a signing ceremony of a US 200 million deal between Zimbabwe's biggest telecommunications firm Econet Wireless, Ericsson of Sweden and ZTE Corporation of China on Friday.
The Swedish firm has been involved in the supply of equipment for virtually all the country's three mobile telecommunications firms that include NetOne and Telecel.
Rylander said the embassy was encouraging Swedish firms to invest in Zimbabwe in anticipation of normalisation of relations between the Southern African country and the EU.
Relations between the two have been strained for close to a decade now over political and economic policy differences, with the EU imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe which have seriously hurt the economy.
High level talks to normalise relations between the two have however started in earnest. - New Ziana
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