Govt acquires Interfresh's land

HARARE - Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed horticulture concern Interfresh could suffer major operational challenges after almost half of its Mazoe Citrus Estate (MCE) has been acquired by the Lands ministry.

The ministry allocated 46 percent of MCE’s arable land to an unspecified party.

Tawanda Namusi, Interfresh’s company’s secretary said an appeal had been lodged with the ministry to re-consider the allocation of the land, measuring 1 599,7 hectares.

“This portion of land represents…. 30 percent of its (Interfresh) budgeted revenue for the financial year 2013 and 52 percent of the value of immovable and biological assets,” said Namusi, adding that Interfresh’s board will be consulting shareholders regarding the way forward.

Namusi said MCE currently had citrus lemons, seed soya beans, commercial and seed maize and horticulture produce.

Kenias Mafukidze, Interfresh’s chairperson, declined to disclose who had been allocated the land citing sensitivity of the matter.

“We are still in consultation with the ministry and our shareholders. I am not yet in a position to comment,” he said. Analysts say the development undermines Interfresh’s balance sheet and will have a material impact on the company’s operations.

“Basically what it means is that the company’s asset base will be eroded. The notice serves to seek public sympathy and maybe also attract immediate intervention from stakeholders,” said an analyst who preferred anonymity.

This comes as Interfresh narrowed its losses in the half year to June 2012 to $933 000 from $1,5 million incurred in previous comparable period. The group registered $3,2 million revenue during the period under review up from $2,5 million driven by firming commodity prices on the regional market.

Citrus volumes grew 28 percent.

In his outlook projection, Interfresh’s chief executive Lishon Chipango said the business environment was not expected to improve in the remainder of the year.

Last year, Interfresh sold its Harare head office to Innscor in a bid to reduce unsustainable short-term debt and acquire a smaller office for its Harare-based operations, as well as meeting some working capital requirements.

The disposal was expected to raise $5,8 million.

Interfresh is in the business of producing, processing and marketing agricultural, agro-industrial and allied food products in both the local and export market. -
Kudzai Chawafambira

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Comments (1)

wakapihwa ani ma china here or some big fish ku zanu hamunyare here vanhu imimi. come voting time munowacha.

tawachips - 17 January 2013

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