INDIGENISATION and Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has commended the takeover of the Costain Group’s Zimbabwe interests by a management consortium saying the deal shows that the country’s empowerment programme is not an “asset grabbing” exercise.
In a statement issued early this month, London-based engineering and construction firm, Costain Group announced the disposal of its Zimbabwe interests for US$500 000 to a management consortium led by executive chairman, Tendai Phineas Chimuriwo.
“Costain announces the sale of its interests in the Zimbabwe contracting business, Ceezed Construction ('Ceezed'), which was formerly known as Costain Zimbabwe (Private) Limited. Costain's interests have been sold to a (local) consortium for £0.5 million in cash. Costain confirms that it will have no future involvement in Ceezed,” the statement read.
The consortium assumed complete control of the company from an initial 15 percent interest and also includes chief operating officer Dave Martens, finance director, Nozipho Guzha and technical services director, Kennedy Sakuhuni.
“As Zimbabweans who have run this business without any expatriates for the last sixteen years, local ownership was now overdue. We are very happy that the former shareholders in London have been proactive and supported our bid to purchase the business outright,” Chimuriwo said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
He added that a staff share ownership trust was being worked out to ensure that all members of staff also benefitted from the local ownership of the business.
Indigenisation minister Savior Kasukuwere said the deal was a positive development in the country’s empowerment programme which is aimed at seeing locals take-over control of the country’s economy.
“It’s a further cap in our programme for indigenization and economic empowerment. This transaction demonstrates that the programme is not a grabbing exercise as our detractors have been saying,” he said.
Costain is the country’s largest construction company and has build some of the country’s landmark buildings including the Reserve Bank headquarters, Karigamombe Centre and Eastgate
It is also involved in mining and infrastructure development programmes at Unki platinum mine in Shurugwi.
The company also recently won the tender to build a new hotel for NSSA in Beitbridge for USD20 million and is currently working on five State University projects in Zimbabwe. Its current order book stands at more than US$50 million for 2011.