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Meikles in talks with foreign investor to inject $25 mln in gold mine

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RETAIL and hospitality group, Meikles Limited says it is in talks with a potential foreign investor who wants to inject $25 million into the company’s gold mine in Bulawayo, a company official has said.
The group, which holds 49 percent shares in subsidiary Meikles Centar Mining Limited – a joint venture with Centar Mining, a Guernsey-based investment group created by former JP Morgan banker, Ian Hannam has been planning to expand its mining portfolio by acquiring a 51 percent stake in a group of gold mines in Matabeleland at an estimated cost of $3 million.
“We have got some visitors right now in Bulawayo they may commit up to $25 million for the gold mine,” chairman John Moxon told journalists after the company’s annual general meeting to which the media was barred.
Moxon said the investor was from eastern Europe but declined to give more details.
On the $89 million worth of Treasury Bills which the company is set to receive from government next month to retire the central bank’s debt, Moxon said the terms would be disclosed by the state.
The debt was accrued since 1998 from transactions related to the group’s dual listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
“All I can say is that the terms on the first half – the $49 million are being changed to make it more competitive,” said Moxon.
He said the group was talking to international financial institutions that were interested in buying the TBs.
On the performance of the group, Moxon said TM Supermarkets were performing well while the hotel business was better than last year “but not quite where we would like it to be.”
“Overall the hotels were up 17 percent in the second quarter (to September),” he said, adding that its Victoria Falls and Cape Town hotels were performing well.
Meikles Stores and Mega Market managing director, Phil Ellse said the divisions were  enjoying a growth phase with month-on-month growth averaging between 10 to 12 percent.
“We want to expand into different towns throughout the country but it will take time. Before year end we should have opened eight branches,” Ellse said.Advertisement