By Alois Vinga
TEXTILE making giant, National Blankets (Pvt) Limited has been placed under liquidation following years of poor performance and failure to find a good investment suitor in yet another blow to Bulawayo’s industrial revival.
The development has been necessitated by an order granted by Bulawayo High Court Judge, Nokuthula Moyo after being satisfied that the company could not continue operating normally due to serious financial constraints.
“It is ordered that the applicant National Blankets (Pvt) Limited is provisionally wound up, pending the grant of an order referred to or the discharge of this order. Subject to subsection 27 (1) of the Companies Act, Phillip Ndlovu of PNA Chartered Accountants is appointed provisional liquidator,” ruled the judge.
Justice Moyo ordered any interested parties to appear before the court sitting at Bulawayo on the 13th of June, 2019, to prove why the granting of a final order to place the company under full liquidation should not proceed.
The company’s products have been experiencing a drastic fall in demand as the market for woven blankets declined.
National Blankets still uses equipment that was first installed in 1940, early into the Second World War that can only manufacture woven blankets and cannot be configured to produce highly knitted blankets currently on the market.
The liquidator is expecting to facilitate the purchase of the company by a potential investor or the disposal of assets.
The company appeared to be on its way to recovery in 2014 after creditors agreed that all debt should be converted to equity at a rate of $0,50 per ordinary share.
The creditors, however, were not keen on putting new money into the company, which had borrowed heavily.
It received a US$500 000 loan facility from CABS under the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund in 2013, but the money failed to change the company’s fortunes.
The firm also sold off some of its property to pension fund, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and settled its debt to the now-defunct Capital Bank and service providers such as Bulawayo City Council, paying a combined total of $2, 6 million in 2013.