Meikles, Dubai firm deal aborted

HARARE - UnitedD Arab Emirates conglomerate Albwardy Investment (Albwardy) has called off its multi-million dollar deal with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed hospitality concern, Meikles Limited (Meikles).

This was after the Dubai firm — owned by billionaire Ali Albwardy — had expressed interest to buy the entire shareholding in Meikles with a market capitalisation of $61 million.

Meikles company secretary Thabani Mpofu yesterday said negotiations between the two firms failed to bear fruit.

“Albwardy has informed Meikles that it is withdrawing its interest in acquiring a majority stake in the company,” he said, adding that the diversified conglomerate was now lifting its previous cautionary statement to shareholders.

Albwardy, which was established in the mid 1970’s, operates in over 20 countries, with a combined workforce of over 10 000.

With an annual turnover exceeding $1 billion, the conglomerate operates in a number of diverse and complementing business sectors ranging from food distribution and retail, construction, shipyards, hospitality and hotel ownership.

The group also represents many international leading brands through exclusive distribution, operating and partnership agreements.

Its business interests consist of sole ownership, joint ventures and equity stakes in leading companies across the globe with operations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America.

Market watchers said the latest development was a huge blow to Zimbabwe’s economy, which could have benefited from United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s deep-pocketed investors.

There are a number of UAE companies in different sectors of the Zimbabwean economy. These include Mondore General Trading (Mondore), owned by Tabarak Investment Bank, which is involved in agriculture and is looking at diversifying into mining and petroleum while also expanding its agricultural operations.

Mondore’s Andre Homberg executive director recently said his country relied on food imports and was willing to invest heavily in Zimbabwe’s agriculture.

Emirates is another UAE company that is prominent in Zimbabwe. In 2013, the airline introduced a 354-seat Boeing 777-300ER on its Dubai-Harare-Lusaka route, replacing the 237-seat Airbus A330-200.

The 777 became the longest passenger aircraft ever to touch down at Harare International Airport and resulted in a capacity increase of more than 50 percent.

And a reduction in economy-class fares meant that more Zimbabweans could afford to travel to the UAE.

The UAE flag carrier also increased its free baggage allowance for customers, which further encouraged travel.

Trade between Zimbabwe and the UAE last year amounted to $178,3 million.

Comments (2)

I can only surmise that legacy issues to do with dawdling on the part of the government regarding payment of the outstanding US$42.6 million debt that it owes the company scuttled the deal. Add to this the credibility gap we have us as a country that makes it difficult for any investor to do business with us, and the withdrawal by Albwardy of its offer becomes clear.

Dopori - 9 July 2017

Mpofu and Else can carry on looting "Aloota" continua!!

Bee - 11 July 2017

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.