Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
TRADING of Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has been suspended with effect from Friday (today).
The suspension is for a three-month period.
This is at the request of the cement manufacturing firm, ZSE said in a statement.
The move is a result of material developments in the sphere of activity of Lafarge following the recent finalisation of the agreement to sell 76,45 percent of its stake owned by Associated International Cement Limited to a local firm, Fossil Mines (Private) Limited.
In a statement, ZSE chief executive officer, Mr Justin Bgoni, said at Lafarge’s request, the ZSE sought and was granted permission to suspend trading in its shares by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe pursuant to the provisions of Section 64(a) (ii) of the Securities and Exchange Act [Cap 24:25].
“The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Limited (“ZSE”) hereby notifies the investing public of the voluntary suspension from trading in shares of Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited (“Lafarge”) with effect from 13 January 2023,” said Mr Bgoni.
Mr Bgoni said in terms of Section 9 of the ZSE Listings Requirements, the Company should continue to discharge its obligations to the shareholders and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange during the suspension.
He said the ZSE has requested Lafarge to provide a roadmap on how they aim to resolve the challenges they face.
“Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited will issue a public notice addressing this point in due course. Investors will not be able to buy or sell Lafarge shares during the suspension period,” he said.
In December, the firm assured stakeholders that it does not anticipate any disruption in its operations stemming from the illegal economic sanctions imposed on key people and companies linked to the majority shareholder Fossil Mines (Private) Limited by the United States of America’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
That was after OFAC designated four Zimbabwean individuals and two Zimbabwean entities and removed 17 people from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN) list.
The US government said the individuals and entities who included Fossil Agro and Fossil Contracting boss, Mr Obey Chimuka are linked to Sakunda Holdings chief executive officer Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
In June last year, Fossil Mines (Private) Limited entered into a binding agreement to buy 76,45 percent shares in Lafarge Zimbabwe, which is now owned by Holcim Group of Switzerland through its subsidiary, Associated International Cement Limited.
Prior to the disposal of its 76,45 percent stake, Holcim Group invited interested bidders to submit their expressions of interest to ABSA Corporate and Investment Banking in South Africa, the group’s financial advisors.
After the evaluation of expressions of interest on March 1, last year, Holcim then invited suitable investors to submit binding offers of interest for the acquisition.
Fossil Mines was among the five invited businesses for the acquisition through an auction system.
Fossil’s offer was backed by support from local banks, pension funds, and wealth managers, and the company’s financial advisors plus commercial attorneys locally to act on its behalf on the bid. – @SikhulekelaniM1