Jaggers assets go under the hammer

HARARE - Embattled Jaggers Wholesalers (Jaggers) and its subsidiary Jaggers Trador assets will be auctioned next Tuesday to repay creditors.

Jaggers owes creditors $13 million plus.

This comes on the back of the High Court granting a final order of liquidation of the retailer, finalising the disposal of its remaining assets.

Liquidator Regis Saruchera, of Grant Thornton Camelsa, appointed Hammer and Tongues Auctioneers to dispose the assets which include supermarket shelving, steel-framed tables, air conditioners, kitchen furniture, dismantled coldrooms and food warmers among other goods.

The total value of goods could not be ascertained at the time of going to print although viewing is now in progress.

This development comes as Cecil Muderede, the major shareholder in Jaggers through his investment firm Borlscade Investments, unsuccessfully applied for the rescission of a High Court order for the final liquidation in order to secure a new investor.

Creditors owed by Jaggers, including Marondera Foundry Manufacturers, vehemently opposed Muderede’s application and a decision was granted by the High Court in their favour.

Muderede acquired Jaggers from Metcash, but failed to turn around its fortunes despite the adoption of a multi-currency regime in 2009.

In 2011, Jaggers assets went under the hammer to pay off $443 795 that the company owed to Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed blue chip firm Delta Corporation.

Zimbabwean companies, particularly retailers and manufacturers, are struggling to survive in the dollarised economy with several shutting down or going under judicial management.

For instance Cairns Holdings (Cairns), which was fortunate to be placed under provisional judicial management, has already adopted a debt to equity swap deal as part of strategies to rescue the financially-troubled food processor.

If implemented, the transaction could see banks — including NMB and Stanbic — becoming major shareholders in Cairns.

Cairns, the manufacturer of once popular Willards snacks, is saddled by an $11 million debt — 65 percent of which is owed to banks.

“We want the restructuring and re-organisation of the group by negotiating debt to equity swap arrangements and organising appropriate loans facilities and where necessary encumber the assets of the group,” said Saruchera who is also the firm’s judicial manager.

The debt equity deal is among other revival schemes approved by Cairns’ stakeholders and creditors a fortnight ago.

The company is also considering bringing in a new investor.

This comes as a group of Russian investors led by tycoon Nikolay Varenko is reportedly keen on investing in the loss-making firm. Saruchera recently pointed out that the company urgently needed $700 000 in working capital and to kick-start operations.

With the new deal reportedly initiated by Harare businessperson Wicknell Chivayo, Moscow billionaire Varenko’s Visor Holdings is aiming for a majority stake in the foods manufacturer. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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