Investors face Zimbabwe despite dwindling economy
Zimbabwe’s economy might have been driven to its knees by political instability, drought and collapse of industries, but the southern African country is not out yet, as new investments encouraged by expected marginal growth in 2015 and a fall in inflation, have continued entering Harare.
Private equity investment company, SPEAR Capital is the latest investor to have shifted focus to Zimbabwe in recent months. The Scandinavian-backed private equity firm announced yesterday that it has acquired 27 percent of Zimbabwe’s second largest dairy producer, Dendairy in a combined debt/equity transaction valued at $6 million.
The deal was brokered by MNCapital Africa Advisors (MNCAA) which introduced the opportunity to SPEAR and assessed it as viable.
“Dendairy’s unique footprint in Zimbabwe, is well positioned for growth in Zimbabwe and we are targeting export markets within the region. There is growing demand for dairy products and the improvement in the political and economic environment are reasons that will provide numerous scalable growth opportunities for Dendairy,” said Martin Soderberg, a SPEAR Capital Partner.
Commenting on the transaction, MNCAA Managing Partner, Mr. Mansur Nuruddin, stated: “Our combined 100+ years’ experience in the industry has ensured that we have access to numerous funders and are a ‘go to’ partner for sourcing capital. Assisting in this transaction has enabled us to participate in the growth of a local Zimbabwean owned entity. The funding will go a long way to assist Dendairy’s expansion plans, and we are pleased to have helped to facilitate this growth.”
Prior to SPEAR’s investment, PPC Zimbabwe said in March it planned to invest $75 million this year to expand its cement mill in Harare, as part of ways of developing its export market. South African billionaire, Allan Gray also last year increased his stakes in the Zimbabwean sorghum beer and mobile phone markets.
While some investors are warming up to Zimbabwe, others remain skeptical about the possibility of a recovery anytime soon. Zimbabwean economist, John Robertson’s view about the southern Africa lays supports the skepticism. “Here[Zimbabwe], efficiency is low due to power cuts and the inability to modernize manufacturing methods, and costs are high because wages are out of line with productivity levels.”
Zimbabweans also fear that there is no end in sight for the economic decline in the country. When southern African government officials met at a summit in Harare last month to discuss industrialization, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Japhet Moyo described their discussion as ironic, as the country was experiencing the opposite.