SA firm eyes stake in Chemplex

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Tinashe Makichi
South African firm, Foskor, is angling to acquire a significant but unspecified stake in Zimbabwe’s biggest fertiliser producer, Chemplex Corporation.

IDC Zimbabwe chief executive Ben Khumalo said besides Foskor there was huge interest in the Zimbabwean fertiliser manufacturing giant from South African investors, including IDC SA.

“The group is receiving expressions of interest from various investors and we will consider options that accelerate the revival of Chemplex Corporation.

“We will consider either loan capital or equity options. We have not yet received any offer we can say will be the path we will follow.

“Foskor SA has expressed interest in investing in Chemplex and that transaction will likely be funded by IDC SA,” he said.

Khumalo said the intention was to have IDC Zimbabwe’s shareholding diluted in Chemplex, as it currently holds 100 percent.

“The amount of shareholding by the investor will be determined by the amount of working capital to be invested by the investor. The current plan is to see IDC being diluted to around 26 percent,” added a well-placed source at IDC Zimbabwe.

IDC South Africa has already made and pledged significant equity and debt investments in Zimbabwe and will kick-start the process with a $50 million loan to its Zimbabwean namesake for rehabilitation of the firm’s fertilizer value chain.

IDC SA is a State owned conglomerate and one of the biggest industrial investors on the continent. Its officials visited Zimbabwe recently to discuss investment into IDC Zimbabwe’s fertilizer value chain and other deserving areas in and outside IDC.

Lines of credit from IDC SA are structured differently to loans by commercial banks, which provide short-term and expensive facilities.

The company’s previous investments in the country including funding support to Meikles Hotel, Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, Econet Wireless, Agribank and the mining sector.

Founded in 1940, IDC SA has implemented South Africa’s industrial policy for more than 70 years and participated in the establishment, among many other areas, companies in the petro-chemicals and minerals beneficiation industries.

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