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Meikles Hotel disposal on verge


Harare, (New Ziana) – Meikles Limited has said it is in the penultimate stages of its plans to dispose of its main hotel in Harare to Dubai-based, Albwardy Investment.

The sell, which now only requires majority shareholder vote, has already
obtained the thumps up of the Competition and Tariff Commission.

Two years ago, Albwardy Investment initially tried to acquire a
controlling stake in the Meikles Limited group, but the deal failed to
sail through, only to return, this time targeting the hospitality group’s prime asset – Meikles Hotel.

The value of the deal remains a closely guarded secret for but some reports have put it at around US$20 million.

Meikles Limited made its first public disclosure about the potential
sale in February this year and has more than 10 times updated the
market on the progress.

In its latest cautionary statement, the group’s company secretary
Thabani Mpofu said “…the directors of Meikles Limited wish to advise
shareholders that the company has engaged the relevant authorities in
the process of finalising the Meikles Hotel transaction and awaits
responses from the same.”

The transaction also requires the nod from institutions such as the
Zimbabwe Investment Authority and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Once regulatory approval had been obtained, Mpofu said: “The company
will be seeking approval of its shareholders for the proposed disposal
at an extra-ordinary general meeting to be convened at a future date.”

The deal might either be revised or terminated in the event that it
fails to garner the requisite shareholder support, company officials
have said.

The Moxon Group, which is the major shareholder in Meikles Limited, is
supportive of the sale.

Meikles Limited chairman, John Moxon at the last update said the hotel
required about US$30 million to be upgraded to competitive five star
international standards, which the group did not have.

“The group does not consider that it is in a position to commit the
necessary funds to the hotel and it is best for the future of the
hotel to place its development in the hands of skilled international
operators,” he said when the group released its financial statements
for the year ended March 2019.

Founded in the 1970s, Albwardy is a diversified group with operations
in over 20 countries, with subsidiaries in sectors such as food
distribution, retail, construction, shipyards, hospitality and hotels.

On the other hand, Meikles Limited, with operations spanning over a
century, has companies in retail, hotels and hospitality as well as
the financial sector.

Besides the Meikles Hotel, the group is also joint owner of the The
Victoria Falls Hotel and has a shareholding in the Cape Grace Hotel in
South Africa.
New Ziana

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