Implats finalises 51% Zim share handover

By Alex Bell
11 January 2013

International mining giant Impala Platinum on Friday finalised a deal with Zimbabwe to ‘sell’ a controlling stake of its local unit, in a multi million dollar deal that has raised eyebrows.

Implats, which owns the Zimplats mining firm in Zimbabwe and is the country’s largest single foreign investor, last year conceded to the ZANU PF led indigenisation campaign and agreed to a 51% share handover.

The deal finalised Friday will see Implats ‘sell’ its shares for US$971 million to Zimbabwe, with 10% of the shares going to a Community Trust, 10% to an ‘employee share ownership trust’, and 31% to the State’s National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund. The fund, which officials say now has US$2 billion of assets, is headed by a former army general and administered by Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

The Implats agreement followed months of sparring with Kasukuwere, who repeatedly threatened the platinum miners with unspecified action, unless they complied with the Indigenisation Act. Some observers have since criticised Implats for giving in to what has been described as ‘bullying tactics’, while others have argued that the mining group had little choice but to give in, or lose its lucrative footing in Zimbabwe.

Whatever Implats’ reasoning, the group insists it is in a ‘win-win’ situation, despite needing to pay a ‘loan’ for its new majority shareholders to buy the shares. Zimplats will reportedly provide the loan at an annual interest rate of 10 percent and the debt is to be repaid through dividends over 10 years. Zimplats management meanwhile will stay on at the group.

Economic analyst Masimba Kuchera told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the Zimplats deal was not surprising because of the pressure it was under. He said that, while Implats is “making the right noises” by ‘welcoming’ the deal, it only happened while the group was “weakened.”

“I think that Implats has publicly supported the indigenisation programme, hoping it will mean security for them in the future. But the problem with these deals is there are issues on how the resources are managed and used,” Kuchera said.

He explained that there needs to be more commitment and explanation about how the indigenisation plans are going to benefit all ordinary Zimbabweans.

“Certainly ordinary people in the areas where companies are ceding 51% will benefit. But I think it needs to be broader than that and should include more people. And discussions should continue about how this will benefit more people than it is right now,” Kuchera said.

Last month, Implats and the Aquarius group signed another deal with Zimbabwe to sell 51% of shares in their joint venture, Mimosa. Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest platinum producer, has also agreed to transfer a majority stake in its Unki mine to locals in a $142.8 million deal made last November.

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4 Responsesto “Implats finalises 51% Zim share handover”

  1. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    This is great news for Zimbabwe. I was for a 100% takeover for the platinum mines but this is still a good start.

    • Common Sense says:

      Time will tell if it is good news for Zimbabwe. Why don’t Zimbabweans start there own mining concerns and make them succeed? Truth is they are broke and they can’t…. so they have to take….. this is killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

      Why should foreign firms have to GIVE their shares and capital?

      This is all about vote-buying and not about having the peoples interests truly at heart…..

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        My friend, the primary responsibility of this inclusive government is to move wealth and power from those who dominated and controlled our economy to the previously abused and denied black people of this country. Unless this is done, the blacks of this country will remain hewers of wood and drawers of water for white capital, 33 years after the country has been a sovereign and independent state. Sovereignty and independence of a country is not only about political independence, but implies we should have economic independence as well. This is what nationhood is all about and it has nothing to do with vote-buying as you have indicated above. You need to be cured of that slave and colonial mentality where the people of this country have been conditioned to the notion that white expertise and capital will bring salvation to Zimbabwe. You should consider the question of putting your own people first before you can talk of foreigners. We have to act to win all the time instead of being manipulated by foreigners because we are in the majority. As is the case everywhere in the world, the majority should win and the minority who are foreigners in our country should loose. But in Zimbabwe, the opposite is true. The minority that is composed of foreigners still owns close to 95 per cent of the economy while the blacks who are in the majority owns a meager 5 per cent of the national wealth. Can you tell me why?

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is Kasukuwere `s cheap politics. Let`s see where it will end.

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