Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
GIANT agro-processing company, National Foods Limited, has listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), becoming the 8th issuer on the foreign currency-denominated bourse.
VFEX is the only exchange in Africa trading in the United States dollars and was established as a pioneer offshore financial services center by the Government in 2020 to attract global investment.
It has attracted eight listings in its third year. Others include giant seed producer and distributor, SeedCo International Limited, mining giant — Caledonia Mining, skins and meat processor, Padenga, Bindura Nickel Corporation, Nedbank Zimbabwe, pan-African fast-food group, Simbisa Brands Limited, and Karo Holdings Limited.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza was the guest of honour at the listing ceremony held in Victoria Falls on Friday.
She said the tremendous growth of the young bourse is testimony to the industrial growth taking place in the country through value addition.
“Government is excited to see the listing of National Foods Limited, the first food processing giant on the VFEX,” said the minister.
“This exemplifies the primary function of our capital markets to mobilise and channel investment capital into productive sectors of the economy and create downstream opportunities for the prosperity of the nation.”
Dr Nzenza said in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS-1), National Foods has embarked on a strategy to move up the value chain through value addition in its portfolio of basic cereal products.
As such, she said the listing on the VFEX will provide National Foods with greater opportunity to raise capital against a dollarized balance sheet while also improving regional profile and commercial standing.
For the first time in the history of VFEX, three ministries attended the listing ceremony. Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development and Finance and Economic Development Deputy Ministers, Vangelis Haritatos and Clemence Chiduwa, attended the event and urged more companies to list while commending VFEX for working hard to attract issuers.
National Foods chairman Mr Godfrey Gwainda said the listing signals a new chapter as it marks a significant milestone for the company.
He said the company remains positive on the outlook and the future of the Zimbabwean economy hence it is making substantial investments to both existing and other categories.
“The move was not taken without careful thought and consideration. The move to the VFEX will unlock value to both local and foreign shareholders,” said Mr Gwainda.
“Although our current focus is to capatalise on the many opportunities we see on the local market, we believe that our presence on the VFEX will facilitate easier access to possible regional opportunities in the long run.”
VFEX chairperson, Mrs Caroline Sandura, said the listing of National Foods was a great start to the year.
“By listing on VFEX, National Foods Limited will be able to raise United States dollar capital, which in turn enhances the potential of the company to grow both organically and inorganically,” she said.
“Government’s increase in retention ratio for exporters listed on the VFEX to 100 percent will enhance National Foods’ ability to settle its foreign currency liabilities and preserve value in an inflationary environment.
“We are hopeful that 2023 will be one of the best years for the VFEX in terms of new listings and product diversification.”
National Foods is the country’s largest food manufacturer, producing a broad range of fast-moving consumer goods, as well as animal feed with an international distribution network.
Over the years National Foods has embarked on a growth strategy with entry into a number of new categories as well as significant investments into existing categories. — @ncubeleon