BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
A UK company, Boustead Beef, which had pledged US $ 130 million to resurrect the Cold Storage Company (CSC) has a net worth of £ 4, it has been learned.
CSC, which faces viability issues, is looking for investors to revive its fortunes after several years of looting and dismemberment of assets.
Ngoni Kudenga of BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants was appointed Acting Corporate Rescue Practitioner by Land Minister Anxious Masuka last year to implement the rescue plan.
Boustead Beef was supposed to raise and invest a minimum of US $ 130 million in CSC over five years, both for capital expenditure and working capital of the business; as well as to repay CSC debts totaling US $ 42,530,597, and to pay rent of US $ 100,000 per year for the first five years of the agreement.
She was also supposed to take over and manage the management of the CSC ranches, including Maphaneni; Dubai; Umguza; Chivumbuni; Mushandike; Willsgrove; and Darwendale for an initial term of 25 years
Boustead would also take over the CSC slaughterhouses in Bulawayo; Chinhoyi; Masvingo; Marondera; and Kadoma; and distribution centers for an initial period of 25 years.
But the documents presented to NewsDay Weekender disclosed that the company had its Certificate of Incorporation, number 9860820, upon the name change, issued on January 18, 2021, to the Registrar of Companies in England and Wales, from The Rhodesian Beef Company Ltd, to Boustead Beef UK Ltd .
Boustead’s balance sheet as at November 30, 2019 showed its net assets, including cash in bank and on hand, and the share capital of four ordinary shares of £ 1 each to be £ 4.
Although it promised to inject US $ 130 million into CSC, the company which registered itself as a small company, was exempt from tax under section 480 of the Law on companies (2006) relating to dormant companies.
Part of the document that was signed by Boustead directors Harald Torbjorn Gabriel Jakob Kinde and Nicholas Antony Havercroft read: “The members did not demand that the company obtain an audit in accordance with section 476 of the Companies Act. (2006).
“The directors recognize their responsibility to comply with the requirements of the Law in matters of accounting and preparation of the accounts. These accounts have been drawn up in accordance with the provisions applicable to companies subject to the small companies regime approved by the Board of Directors on October 30, 2020. ”
However, the Boustead deal fell apart after failing to fulfill its promised obligations in the first year. He had promised to invest US $ 45 million in the first year.
About US $ 6 million of the US $ 45 million pledged was for the renovation of slaughterhouses, cannery and distribution. Slaughterhouses, cannery, distribution working capital received US $ 5 million. The logistics fleet, vehicles, distribution slaughterhouses received US $ 2 million, among other financial pledges.
However, none of the promised obligations have been fulfilled. Although it did not contribute anything, the company allegedly stripped CSC’s assets.
It is reported that the company recently sold over 200 CSC cattle to Umguza and earned over $ 6 million, slaughtered gum trees at Bulawayo headquarters and sold them. He also reportedly collected rents from CSC properties over the past 20 months and laid off dozens of workers.
Contacted for comment, Masuka directed all questions to Vonanai Majoko who replaced Kudenga as the new Company Rescue Practitioner.
“It’s administrative. Refer all your questions to the Company Rescue Practitioner, ”Masuka said.
But Majoko said, “As you know I am still new as a corporate bailout practitioner, I will have to call a meeting with the creditors as I am required to do so by law.
“After the meeting, I’ll be able to give you the right information. Cold Storage Company has several ranches scattered across the country, so I need some time to take inventory of the livestock. I can’t even tell you if there is any cattle sold, I need some time to take inventory.
He added: “Regarding Boustead what I know is that we are dealing with Boustead Beef Zimbabwe Ltd. I am not qualified to tell you about their relationship with Boustead Beef UK Ltd.”