IDC says it has ‘in principle’ secured investor for Willowvale Motor Industries


Willowvale is 60% owned by Motec Holdings, which in turn is 75% controlled by the state-owned IDCZ and 25% by Itochu of Japan.

THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) says it has in principle secured an international partner for Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) who has both financial and technical capacity.

IDC chief executive Mike Ndudzo in an interview said it was early to divulge the investor, but the prospector has committed his intention.

“At Willowvale, we think we have found a strategic partner. We are within his parameters of his statutes both on policy and at an operational level.

“We can’t divulge the details at the moment but we think we have found someone with financial capacity to partner and restructure the company,” he said.

WMMI which is currently not manufacturing stopped production in 2012 when capacity plunged to below 4 000 units from a peak of 18 000 vehicles per year in 1997.

Willowvale is 60% owned by Motec Holdings, which in turn is 75% controlled by the state-owned IDCZ and 25% by Itochu of Japan.

Last year, Chinese car manufacturer Foton Motor Group was said to have expressed interest to invest in excess of $200 mln in Zimbabwe’s two motor vehicle manufacturers Willowvale and Quest Motors.

The Foton Motor delegation visited both Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries and Quest Motors and have indicated an initial $200 mln investment in the plants.

On other hand, IDC has over the years planned to dispose of its shareholding in nine subsidiaries and associate companies as part of the company’s three pronged strategy to reduce, sell-off and entrench its positions.

The company requires significant fresh capital in excess of $104 mln in the short term to recapitalise its operations, but raising the funds has been challenging due to the current liquidity situation in the economy.

Ndudzo said in the absence of investors, the group switched to other plans which involves keeping and turning around the companies using internal resources.

“There has been no buyers for our disposals and we switched to plan B, keeping the companies viable. We are generating a turnaround with what we got, until such time an appropriate buyer comes,” he said.

He added that the group also have a responsibility to keep the companies operational and restructure them to make attractive.

Ndudzo said at Olivine Industries, refurbishments are currently underway and expected to be complete by May this year.

“We have started with the buttercup margarine plant which we have dismantled. The refurbishments are going through a phased manner and we have started with margarine. Thereafter we will upgrade canned food to global standards,” he said.

Olivine is currently producing cooking oil and soaps such as Jade.

At Sunway City Park, Ndudzo residential stands at Phase Five are already available for sale.

He said there has been a huge uptake of space on the Industrial site, but the promulgating into law of the Special Economic Zone Bill which will bring in incentives for would be tenants is the future of the park.
“Residential uptake is very high, we are almost exhausting all developed stands. On the industrial side, more than 60 companies are already present with the likes of PPC, Shoe factories, smelting companies, Tile making, Vaka Africa among others,” he said.

Ndudzo said the immediate future is the ICT hub which is waiting for the SEZ Bill.

He said at Surface Investments, the group finished upgrading the plant, laboratories, bottling plant and is now operating at full capacity with products on the market.

Ndudzo said market share for the company’s Pure Drop cooking oil has since risen to between 45% and 50%.

The Zimbabwe Grain Bag, he said is currently concentrating on bulk bags while Sino Zimbabwe cement is readily available in the market. FinX

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