Meikles, ZSE talks collapse

HARARE - Meikles Limited (Meikles) says it is proceeding with its $50 million lawsuit against the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) after talks of reconciliation between the two parties reached a deadlock.

In an update to shareholders on Thursday, Meikles chairman John Moxon said the company had made efforts to interact and perhaps reconcile with the ZSE but the negotiations did not yield any result.

“The company representatives who met with the ZSE regrettably found that there may initially have been some common ground but subsequent inconsistencies from within the ZSE have placed doubt on this process,” he said.

“It is now appropriate that the company proceed with litigation,” added Moxon.

Meikles recently slapped the local bourse with a $50 million lawsuit over the manner in which its share was temporarily suspended in February this year.

Moxon also said the diversified conglomerate was rethinking on its continued listing on the bourse after failing to reach a lasting solution to their dispute.

“The company will now consider how best to advance the group’s interests in the best possible manner and which may perhaps be outside the framework of the ZSE.

“The company will examine and move towards implementation of methods aimed at ensuring the financial well-being of shareholders in their capacity as owners of shares in the group and that they would be advised of developments in due course,” he said.

In the statement, Moxon also blamed the local bourse, an unnamed lawmaker and other detractors for the delay in the repayment of a $90 million debt the listed concern is owed by the central bank.

The Meikles debt accrued in 1998 from transactions related to the group’s dual listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

Information before Parliament, which is set to pass the Reserve Bank Debt Assumption Bill, is that the Meikles debt stood at $25 million in 1998 but shot up to $47 million at the end of 2013 after the inclusion of interest.

Meikles’ half-year results to September 30, 2014 showed the balance with RBZ as $43 738 million and TBs of $38 431 million totalling $82 169 million, a decrease in value by $8,63 million.

But Moxon insists that the group had gathered information through its intelligence systems that there were individuals working against the company’s interests.

“These efforts that began in October 2014 overtly, but earlier in practice, are a concerted effort by individuals, including at least one Member of Parliament, some but certainly not all ex-employees who are unhappy following their removal from office, which in fact was well deserved, and now more recently the ZSE, to disrupt negotiations on the settlement sums due to the company, the placing of TB’s on the market and generally to damage the company’s reputation and well-being,” he said.

The Meikles boss noted that the delay had resulted in further damage to the group.

“Implications arising from the delay will only become apparent in their severity in future months and will, where necessary, be communicated to the public,” he said.

Moxon, however, said a substantial part of the funds had been committed to the group by RBZ in writing but pointed that the agreed timeline had not been adhered to.

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