‘Zimbabwean economic growth prospects bright’

Marc Holtzman, chairman of CBZ Holdings

HARARE – Prospects for the economy are looking up largely due to Government’s pro-business policies, CBZ Holdings Limited chairperson Mr Marc Holtzman has said.

President Mnangagwa’s vision and guidance, he added, have seen Government being increasingly supportive of business.

“The President has done the most important thing: He has basically unleashed the economy.  He has gotten the Government to be supportive of business, to get out of the way, as well as the changes to the property title.

“It is very commendable that the President has initiated a plan that is going to realise a significant amount of positives in this economy,” said Mr Holtzman after an extraordinary general meeting (EMG) held last week.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow 5,2 percent this year, after growing an estimated 7,8 percent in 2021 on the back of a good agricultural season and growth in the mining sector, among other factors.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube believes the country is on course to become an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

The successful implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) was premised on a number of factors, including higher productivity in the agriculture sector.

Government is also striving to promote private-sector led economic growth.

In terms of NDS1, the agriculture sector is fundamental to the projected economic growth, improving security, land tenure, and supporting smart agriculture strategies.

According to Mr Holtzman, the growth trajectory in the economy has seen CBZ Holdings’ market capitalisation rising from $14 billion when he joined the group to the current $100 billion.

“We have so many positives in the bank. The net USD balance is currently over US$53 million and the financial institution has been able to support its customers,” he said.

“The group has often spoken on prospects of listing on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), but that still remains an aspiration, and (we) will do it at an appropriate time.”

It is believed that such a move would enable the group to support dividend payments in hard currency.

“We are within the fraction of where the country is moving.  People are very optimistic. Every day, there are investors inquiring about investing in Zimbabwe.

“But, an overall point of view, we are very positive about the economic prospects of the country and the role that CBZ will play in the economy.”

Mr Holtzman said the acquisition of First Mutual Holdings Limited (FMHL) would create a regional financial institution capable of punching above its weight.

“We have been able to support business expand in the region. First Mutual Holdings has done well and the intention is now to create an institution that is better calibrated to take any local risk.”

He said the group has opened a Johannesburg office that will play a key role in integrating with FMHL subsidiaries.

FMHL has successful units in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

Before the acquisition, CBZHL held 3,23 percent shareholding in FMHL through a special purpose vehicle held under PIM Nominees (Pvt) Limited.

The subsequent purchase of additional shares from NSSA — 31,2 percent of the issued ordinary shares of FMHL — took CBZ Holdings Limited’s total shareholding to approximately 34,45 percent.

The transaction is a mixture of cash and equity.

“The cash portion is US$21 million and the split in terms of the cash and equity swap is 30/70 percent split.

“The US$21 million will be paid in 18 months, but an amount of US$10 million will be paid within ten days of the fulfilment or waiver of the conditions precedent, while the balance of US$11,2 million would be paid over the eighteen months period.”

Source: Sunday Mail