UAE conglomerate to buy Meikles Ltd


UNITED Arab Emirates-based conglomerate, Albwardy Investment, has been revealed as the investor seeking to buyout Meikles Limited shareholders, after having initially made an offer to the latter’s minority shareholders.

Founded in 1892, Zimbabwe’s oldest retail and hospitality group in Zimbabwe announced earlier this year that it was considering a “possible offer to minorities.”

But the group yesterday published a further cautionary highlighting that the Dubai-based company had extended the offer to all Meikles’ shareholders.

“Shareholders are advised that the offer now under consideration has been made to ‘all shareholders’ by Albwardy Investment, an entity based in Dubai, with business interests in hospitality, retail and agriculture,” said Meikles company secretary Thabani Mpofu.

Meikles had initially intimated at a possible exit from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange following an awry temporary suspension from the local bourse on February 16, 2015 (over allegations that the group had overstated the debt it is owed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe).

“Meikles will be addressing the implications of the suspension, the manner in which it has been implemented and whether there is any purpose to a listing on the ZSE,” said Meikles executive chairman Mr John Moxon in a statement issued at the time.

And it seemed it had found an easy path when the Dubai-based conglomerate made an offer to buy-out its minority shareholders early in March this year, but it now seems Meikles may have to consider a full divestment from Zimbabwe.

According to Albwardy Investment’s activities comprise retail; hotels; commerce; logistics; industrial engineering and construction; entertainment services; fast moving consumer goods distribution; lifestyle; and more.

Information gleaned on the group’s website says:

“With a current annual turnover exceeding one billion US dollars, the individual companies within the group are run as totally autonomous units with their own dedicated management team while their board at all times contains at least one of the company directors with Mr Ali Albwardy always being in the chair himself.

“This structure enables the company to operate with an extremely small but efficient head office mainly containing the internal audit team and management accountants together with the chairman and directors.

“The companies within the group, many of whom hold an ISO accreditation, are therefore monitored closely whereby any necessary action or decision making is consequently extremely prompt.”

Albwardy Investment was founded in 1976 by UAE businessman Ali Saeed Juma Albwardy. Its subsidiaries in the food, distribution and logistics sector includes Nestle UAE LLC and Pavilion Foods among others, and in the hospitality sector the group owns a number of hotels and resorts in Sub Saharan Africa including Four Seasons Hotel and The Westcliff (South Africa); Hyatt Regency (Tanzania) and Four Seasons Resort (Seychelles) among others

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