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Murray and Roberts targets lower gearing
13/12/2012 00:00:00
by Roman Moyo
Stepping down ... Paddington Zhanda

INDUSTRIAL construction group, Murray and Roberts Zimbabwe will change its name to Masimba Holdings Limited after the acquisition of a 47 percent interest in the company by a consortium of local investors.

Murray and Roberts Investments South Africa pulled out of the Zimbabwe unit after selling its interest in the company to Zumbani Capital.

The company said turnover during the quarter ended October 2012 was five percent below budget at US$19 million but still 40 percent high than the same period last year

Chief executive Stewart Mangoma said despite a slow-down in tendering in the mining sector, the group was on course to achieve its original projections for the full year while year-on-year growth had shown a significant improvement.

“The project pipeline is looking reasonably good as such we expect the current trajectory to remain. The restructuring of the balance sheet had started in earnest with short term debt of US$2,5 million to fund capex,” Mangoma told the company’s AGM Thursday.

The group secured a three-year loan facility of US$3,5 million, which is yet to be used with a longer tenor were also being arranged.

Mangoma said the construction order book currently stood at US$27,3 million with the sector benefitting from the tendering activity from government departments which accounted for 50 percent of the order book with the rest coming from the mining sector.

Restructuring at Proplastics had resulted in improved production efficiencies as the group benchmarked its costs with international standards resulting in capacity utilisation increasing to around 60 percent from about 45 percent.

Mangoma said the unit’s order book topped US$3,3 million while production tonnage in over the quarter increased 32 percent compared to the same period last year.

Overall, group operations were fairly vibrant at the beginning of the year but had slowed down towards the holiday season with electricity supplies remaining one of the major drags on operations.

Meanwhile, Paddington Zhanda who has been chairman of the group for ten years resigned at the AGM after he ceased to be independent following Zumbani Capital’s 47 percent acquisition of M & R South Africa shares.

Zhanda was replaced by former Zimplats chief executive Greg Sebborn.


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