ART appoints new CEO

HARARE - Amalgamated Regional Trading Corporation (ART) has appointed Tapiwa Murad Ameer as chief executive following the resignation of long-serving Richard Zirobwa.

His appointment is with effect from next month.

Prior to his new appointment, Ameer was the group’s chief operating officer and managing director of its batteries division.

“He has been with the group for 20 years in various senior capacities in the paper division culminating in his appointment to chief operating officer and an executive director in 2004,” said ART.

Zirobwa resigned from the group “to pursue other interests”, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed group said.

Abisai Chingwecha, a chartered accountant, has also been appointed as the group’s chief finance officer.

This comes as ART, at the beginning of this month, appointed renowned economist Moses Chundu as board chairman after Passmore Matupire quit last December.

He has been a non-executive director of the group since the beginning of last year.

Analysts say the board and management changes are meant to cement the interests of South Korean investor Taesung Chemicals Company Limited (Taesung).

Already, ART plans a mandatory offer to minority shareowners after Taesung upped its stake in the group beyond the prescribed 35 percent.

According to sources, Taesung increased its stake in the stationery and batteries maker from around 33,85 percent to 41,9 percent.

Taesung held the 33,85 percent through two investment vehicles, Cranbal Investments Private Limited and Silverline Investments.

ZSE’s listing rules dictate that a single investor that raises their stake above 35 percent must make an offer to buy-out minorities.

“Pursuant to the ZSE listing requirements, the shareholder is obliged to make a mandatory offer to minorities,” Art said in its financials for the year ended September 30, 2014, adding that “the offer will be made in due course”.

During the period under review, the group incurred a $1,1 million loss compared to a $399 000 profit recorded in prior comparable period.

Revenue went down five percent to $28,7 million while overall capacity utilisation fell to 59 percent from 65 percent.

“Sales and revenues were lower across most of the business units with an average volume decline of 11 percent in batteries and 17 percent in tissue operations while Eversharp volumes grew by five percent, the group said.

Although the group incurred the loss of $1,1 million, it ended the year better with the second half posting earnings of $91 000 compared to a first half loss of $1,2 million.

“Cash of $3,1 million was generated from operations down on last year by five percent. This was utilised to reduce debt and finance interest burden amounting to $2,3 million.”

Comments (5)

It was a public secret that Passmore and Richard had failed Shareholders, their departure is a welcome development

Chihota - 1 February 2015

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