Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
FAST-food service group Simbisa Brands Limited is set to be the fifth giant business to list on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) after announcing its intention to delist from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
The USD-denominated VFEX is a subsidiary of the ZSE launched in 2020 as an off-shore biased financial services centre as part of efforts to attract global capital and restore foreign investor confidence in Zimbabwe’s capital markets and help companies raise capital in foreign currency.
Its setting is largely expected to go a long way in buttressing the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone. At its inception VFEX began trading with leading seed producer and distributor, SeedCo International Limited with mining giant Caledonia Mining, skins and meat processor – Padenga and Bindura Nickel Corporation coming on board later.
In a cautionary statement to shareholders dated 27 September 2022, Simbisa Brands said the board has approved delisting from ZSE. Soon after delisting, it would list on VFEX, it said.
“The directors of Simbsa Brands Limited wish to advise all stakeholders and the investing public that the board has approved the delisting of the company from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, immediately followed by its listing on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange,” reads part of the statement.
The firm advised shareholders to exercise caution and consult their professional advisers when trading in the company’s shares. Simbisa Brands operates popular brands such as Nando’s, Steers, Haefelis, Baker’s Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn and Chicken Inn.
In its latest financial report, it outlined plans to invest US$23 million in opening 87 new stores in the 2023 financial year in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Of the 87, the restaurants operator is eyeing 45 outlets in Zimbabwe and 30 in Kenya, the firm said in its latest annual financials for year ending 30 June.
Already, 27 new outlets were opened in the year and served 28 percent more customers in the year to June than it did in the previous year. By listing on VFEX, firm is expected to raise capital to fund its proposed expansions.
VFEX, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ZSE, was issued with a trading licence by regulatory authorities in September 2021 before President Mnangagwa launched the forex-denominated platform in December of that year.
The firms participating on the VFEX have been seeking foreign currency to fund their expansion initiatives or improve capacity utilisation levels. VFEX offers a raft of incentives including tax exemptions on capital gains and the ability to repatriate funds from a country where foreign exchange is in short supply to attract global capital.
Recently, VFEX launched an online trading platform designed for retail investors, a development said to be a convenient way to buy and sell securities.
Officials said the move was in response to clients’ needs.