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Fidelity hires external lawyers over Langford Estates wrangle

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By Alois Vinga


LISTED insurance group, Fidelity Life Assurance’s (FLA) has engaged external legal services for representation in the Langford Estates ownership wrangle.

The dispute arose after FLA entered into a sale of shares agreement with CFI Holdings Limited (CFI) acquiring 80,77% shares in Langford Estates, a company whose sole asset is land measuring 834 hectares.

The purchase entailed the assumption of CFI Holdings’ Limited US$16million debt owed to a consortium of banks by the company.

Subsequently a Debt Assumption and Compromise Agreement was signed between Fidelity and CFI Holdings creditors who included Agrifoods, and FBC Bank Limited, Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe Limited, Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe Limited and CBZ Bank Limited.

Subsequently, Fidelity assumed the CFI debt and ownership of 80,77% of Langford Estates and duly paid off the debt.

In March 2018, the company received a letter from CFI contesting the Sale of Shares Agreement and Debt Assumption and Compromise Agreement.

“The parties however failed to reach an amicable resolution and CFI instituted legal proceedings against the Company in the High Court and Arbitration for cancellation of the debt assumption agreement and setting aside of the agreement of sale of shares respectively.

“Both matters are pending resolution before the two forums. The directors have engaged external legal counsel to defend the interests of Fidelity Life,” the company said in a recent update.

Meanwhile, Fidelity has managed to post a profit after tax of $274,9 million on an inflation adjusted basis for the year ended 31 December 2021 representing a strong growth.

Investment income increased to ZW$1 722,3 million and net premium written increased from ZW$611,8 million to ZW$1 070,1 million driven by aggressive premium reviews and strong organic growth of the life book as well as significant inflows from new products,” the company chairperson, Livingstone Gwata said.

Going forward, the company expects revenue to grow faster than costs on the strength of combining new financial solutions and new markets.

“High inflation places on us the responsibility to ensure that we preserve value for our policyholders and all stakeholders. To that end, investment portfolio diversification is a priority in the current financial year,” added Gwata.