Tycoon forges ahead with aggressive CFI buys

Tycoon forges ahead with aggressive CFI buys
Published: 24 August 2017
BRITISH investor, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, said his investment vehicle, Messina Investments (Messina), has been buying from CFI Holdings (CFI) minorities rival since bidder Stalap Investments' offer flopped.

As the battle for control at the agro-industrial group escalates, van Hoogstraten last week told The Financial Gazette that he had so far secured about two million CFI shares with more expected to be acquired.

"I cannot yet answer your question as to how many shares Messina has purchased as my son is dealing with this and he is not here until Friday morning. Last week he told me that our agents had already paid for around two million shares with several more in the pipeline," he said.

Just last week, CFI announced that the mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders by Stalap had found no takers after the firm's share price skyrocketed amid aggressive buying by van Hoogstraten.

Stalap is an investment vehicle owned by Zimre Holdings (Zimre) and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).

Stalap and Messina have been jostling to get controlling shareholding in the agro-industrial concern, whose stock has risen from 18 cents on the day Stalap's offer was announced, to 61 cents on August 21.

Van Hoogstraten hopes to secure the remaining 17 percent of the total issued shares in CFI.

Despite charges by both the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SecZim) that Messina had violated market rules with its unorthodox counter-offer to CFI minorities, the British businessman insists his outfit did nothing wrong.

The ZSE claimed it was unaware that Messina qualified to make a mandatory offer to the company's minorities after increasing its stake in the agro-industrial counter.

But van Hoogstraten dismissed the ZSE's statements, saying his purchases were legitimate.

"…There is no law in Zimbabwe, or any other country, that prohibits owners from selling their shares, property, motors or any other asset to whoever they choose. The ZSE is a trading platform and all the Messina purchases will be put through the ZSE, in due course, after the paperwork and payments have been completed," he said.

At the moment, van Hoogstraten's investment vehicles are believed to hold a combined interest of up to 42 percent in CFI, making him the largest shareholder, ahead of Stalap's 41 percent stake.

The battle for control of the firm escalated after NSSA and Zimre consolidated their separate shareholdings into Stalap earlier this year, in a bid to assert control of CFI, which they plan to recapitalise through a $12 million rights issue.

- fingaz
Tags: CFI,


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