Cairns to delist

HARARE - Embattled foods manufacturer Cairns Holdings Limited (Cairns) plans to delist from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

The group, suspended from the local bourse in December last year, will next month seek shareholders’ approval of the transaction.

Cairns is set to meet the stakeholders and creditors on June 19, 2013 at the High Court.

Apart from the delisting exercise, the firm’s judicial manager Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton said, “The purpose of the meeting is to update on potential investor and consider further proof of claims.”

If stakeholders and the ZSE approve, Cairns will joining the league of firms to be struck off the bourse’s register including Kingdom Financial Holdings, TN Financial Holdings, Barbican Holdings, TZI Limited and Red Star Holdings among others.

Last month, Cairns began the disposal of its antiquated plant and machinery among other various items in a bid to raise additional funds.

“We want to channel the cash we raise from the disposal of the items to working capital,” Saruchera told businessdaily.

“Meanwhile we have received a number of bids and some are still coming in for the acquisition of the whole of group. After the bidding process… we will be in a position to map the way forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, a consortium of Russian investors led by tycoon Nikolay Varenko is keen on investing in the loss-making firm as first reported by businessdaily in February. With the new deal initiated by Harare businessperson Wicknell Chivayo, Moscow billionaire Varenko’s Visor Holdings is aiming for a majority stake in the foods manufacturer.

Last year, the Cairns applied for voluntary judicial management after facing huge operational challenges and failing to raise $20 million in fresh capital.

As part of strategies to rescue the manufacturer of the once popular Willards snacks, stakeholders were also considering plans to implement a debt to equity swap deal, which could see banks — including NMB and Stanbic — becoming major shareholders.

Cairns is saddled by an $11 million debt — 65 percent of which is owed to banks. The debt equity deal is among other revival schemes approved by Cairns’ stakeholders and creditors in February.

Saruchera said that liquidation was not an option and efforts were being put to conclude settlement arrangements with creditors.

Although a consortium of banks is putting up efforts on the provision of funds to get going, Saruchera added that the main priority was to engage a reputable investor who is willing to come up with new and innovative ideas.

“We have already received an offer which is on my table, but I have not yet seen the ‘colour’ of their money as we are still to ascertain how much they can offer,” he said. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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