SecZim loses Lifestyle battle

HARARE - The Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim) has lost its bid to block Lifestyle Holdings Limited (Lifestyle) from delisting on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

Yesterday the bourse approved the delisting of the furniture retailer from the local bourse.

SecZim — which had earlier indicated that it will not approve the delisting of Lifestyle until the furniture group had addressed concerns it has raised over the company’s unfulfilled delisting requirements ? said it would not stand in Lifestyle’s way.

“We had wanted to stop the company from delisting because we felt there was no full disclosure on part of Lifestyle but the High Court threw out our application. As it stands, the delisting is proceeding,” said Tafadzwa Chinamo, SecZim chief executive.

In March this year SecZim filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to have the delisting process postponed.

The application was however dismissed on the grounds that it was not urgent, giving Lifestyle the leeway to proceed with its plans.

Top among the delisting requirements SecZim wanted Lifestyle to fulfil were publication of audited financial results, fair valuation of the company by independent financial advisers and provisions to allow minority shareholders to exercise their right to immediately exit or remain part of the group.

Chinamo however said going forward the securities regulator will embark on an awareness programme to ensure that shareholders have an understanding of what is taking place in companies.

“Listed companies must know that the people are watching and must do things by the book,” he said.

The delisting of Lifestyle is expected to pave way for the company to be acquired by the Mauritius headquartered TN Harlequin International.

Economic experts say the deal is expected to enhance the Zimbabwean firm’s access to international capital markets since lines of credit have been difficult for Zimbabwean companies as a result of a high sovereign risk to access.

Lifestyle proposed to delist through a Section 191 Scheme of Arrangement as sanctioned by the High Court.

An order sanctioning the scheme was granted by the High Court of Zimbabwe and duly registered with the Registrar of Companies.

Subsequently, the company’s securities were suspended from trading on March 20, 2013 pending delisting.

Meanwhile, the ZSE — which is currently dogged with a listing drought — has announced the delisting of two more companies, Gulliver Consolidated Limited and Steelnet Zimbabwe, for failing to meet their continuing obligations.

The local bourse also recently terminated the listing of Barbican Holdings Limited (Barbican), TZI Limited (TZI) and Red Star Holdings (Red Star). - John Kachembere

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