Category Archives: Business

Zireva leaves OK Zimbabwe in style

Willard Zireva, a long-time executive and larger-than-life figure at the retail giant

OK Zim new CE Alex Siyavora will need very big feet to fit into his predecessor, Willard Zireva’s shoes.

By Chris Muronzi

Zireva, a long-time executive and larger-than-life figure at the retail giant, stepped down at the end of March, the same time the company closes its financial year.

He had been CE since 2001 when the company went public. Before his appointment to that position, Zireva had been a key executive in the group since 1984.

And he left in style too. With earnings per share up by as much as 766% in the full year to March 2017 (FY17) and all major profit indicators on the up, Zireva could not have chosen a better time to retire.

Humbly, Zireva refuses to take credit for the solid FY17 numbers.

“It’s not really my results alone,” he says after the analysts briefing. “It’s team work.”
Sitting through the OK Zim briefing without Zireva in the hot seat magnified his departure and absence.

It was a bit poignant as he sat in the crowd with asset managers and investment analysts as his successor made the presentation, his forte for decades.

While trying to explain why he did not take up a board seat at OK, where he holds a significant equity stake, he unwittingly gives useful insights into his imposing role at the organisation.

“I decided not to take a board seat immediately to allow for a smooth transition to my successor,” he says.

“My presence on the board would have diverted attention to me. I wouldn’t want a situation where as a former CE questions are directed to you instead of your successor. That would have been a bit unfair.”

Although Zireva thinks he is doing Siyavora good by letting him take control and know he is in charge, he is still overseeing the transition from the terraces after being engaged as a consultant for the group for a year.

“I may consider a seat on the board after a year or two,” he says.
Zireva discounts his new role as a consultant. “I get called here and there. It’s nothing major,” he explains.

Ok posted a strong set of numbers that the group decided to pay Zireva’s outstanding and retirement benefits.

Asked how much he got from the group, he says the figure will be in the annual report due soon.
“It’s not a lot,” Zireva says.

“But we had such a good year, the group decided to pay reorganisation costs, which covers my outstanding benefits.”

Siyavora also refuses to comment on the figure. “It’s going to be in the annual report,” he says.

“It’s under a million. Wait for the annual report.”

But the big question will be whether Siyavora will continue delivering value for shareholders going forward like his predecessor. Siyavora, a CA and former FD in Zireva’s time, has begun his tenure on a firm footing, in spite of an underperforming economy.

Under Zireva’s watch, OK grew from being just a retailer to a financial services provider and investor in financial services. The group has partnered Kawena on the money transfer side and once owned equity in the now defunct Century Bank.

The partnership has proven vital as Zimbabwe struggles with depleted nostro balances. This has helped the company on its imports. Again, the company has its outgoing CE to thank for it.

Siyavora says the OK stock has a lot of upside and is currently underpriced although it is trading at 5% of price-to-book value.

“It is trading at a discount definitely. I think it should be trading around 9-10 US cents per share,” he says. “ I have not actually calculated the P/E ratios, but it’s a counter with lot of upside.”

Zireva also concurs. “OK has a lot of upside,” he adds.

Other companies with consistent dividend policies such as BAT are trading at a premium to the book value. But BAT is arguably the most profitable company on the ZSE, judging by its operating profit margins.

OK share price on Wednesday was trading at US6,74 cents, up 2,1% from the previous trade. On quarter-to-date basis, OK is up 10%. On year-to-date basis the counter is down 5%. – ZimInd

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Manufacturing sector in dire need of support

Local manufacturing companies are under capacitated to supply mining consumables, due to capital constraints, obsolete equipment and high cost structures, mining executives have said.

By Fidelity Mhlanga


Alex Mhembere, Zimplats chief executive officer and chairman of the joint suppliers and producers (JSP) committee, said while mining can provide business opportunities, the manufacturing sector was facing a plethora of challenges, making it impossible to supply mining companies.

“The subsector is not sufficiently capacitated (capacity utilisation 30%), and is largely uncompetitive due to ageing equipment, low uptake of products, capital constraints, high cost structure and unreliable power supply among other challenges,” he told delegates at a Chamber of Mines meeting recently.

Subsectors that were identified include engineering, iron and steel, belting, chemicals and protective clothing.

The JSP committee, which comprises the Chamber of Mines and a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries committee, was established to improve the availability of local products in mining, with an exclusive mandate to develop linkages between the mining industry and the upstream sector.

“While the mining industry can provide opportunities to local producers, the sector has little capacity to meet the local producers’ financial requirements for working capital and retooling,” Mhembere said.

The committee, Mhembere said, has already identified key manufacturing subsectors with strong linkages in the mining sector with a view to assessing their current capacities and requirements to adequately service the mining industry.

“Where products are available, they remain highly uncompetitive in prices, quality, reliability of supply and poor back up services,” he said.

“The study, however, reveals that the mining sector offers an immediate market for local producers of mining sector input requirements.”

Mhembere said findings of the assessment programme point to the need for adequate support programmes for the local manufacturing sector through various initiatives.

He said the mining industry, despite its current challenges, is committed to supporting government policies by pursuing the beneficiation agenda through building more beneficiation plants.

“Thus, there is need for all stakeholders (government, mining sector, local producers and bankers) to agree on strategies to implement the current local content development initiatives,” Mhembere said.

“In the long term, there is need for medium to long term financing frameworks to support retooling and replacement of ageing and obsolete equipment with a view to improving efficiencies and competitiveness, through engaging the financial sector to participate in the development of linkages.”

Delta injects $1,3m into sorghum farming

DELTA Beverages injected $1,3 million into its beverages sorghum contract farming scheme (BSCFS) during the 2016/17 financial year and expects to receive about 12 000 metric tonnes of both red and white sorghum, an official has said.




Delta requires 15 000 tonnes of sorghum annually and sources it locally through contract farming.

Sorghum beers have grown in importance within Delta’s product mix, as demand for clear beers and sparkling beverages continues to weaken due to the sluggish economy.

The company’s corporate affairs manager, Tsungie Manyeza, told NewsDay that Delta continues to run the sorghum contract scheme, which provides inputs for their flagship Chibuku traditional beer and Eagle lager.

“We are expecting to take delivery of about 12 000 metric tonnes of both red and white sorghum over a combined excess of 13 000ha of land,” she said.

“The scheme provides inputs, mainly seed, to communal farmers, who provide up to 70% of output. Selected commercial farmers may access other inputs such as fertilisers. The total financing is around $1,3 million.”

Manyeza said farmers were spread across the country in areas such as Chiredzi, Buhera, Mutoko and Muzarabani.

It provides livelihood to more than 9 000 communal families.

The company also contracts farmers under the winter barley scheme, but the programme was scaled down from around 7 000 hectares to 2 400ha in 2017 due to the failure to access malt exports, Manyeza said.

“The company requirements vary every season depending on the projected domestic beer volumes. There was also increased competition for irrigable land from the command agriculture wheat scheme in 2017, which is offering a very high guaranteed intake price,” she said.

“We resumed a limited maize contract scheme in 2016/17 summer season. Delta is a relatively small user of maize compared to the indicated national consumption. We, therefore, target to participate through marketing contracts.”

Manyeza said the barley contract scheme has managed to improve crop yields from 3,4 tonnes per hectare in 2009 to 6,7 tonnes per hectare achieved in 2016.

This has also ensured that the company relies on local raw materials, she said.

Manyeza said commercial users’ agro inputs were impacted by the high producer prices decreed by the government.

“These make the cost of production in Zimbabwe very high and uncompetitive, thereby, giving room to imported finished products. The price of maize at Grain Marketing Board pegged at $390, for example, is considerably above parity,” she said.

Massive boost for diamond mining

Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company Private Limited has received heavy duty plant equipment procured from Belarus under a $32 million Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe financing facility granted last year.

The first batch of the equipment which comprises seven dump trucks arrived at Forbes Border Post in Mutare on Tuesday and were being cleared by Zimra officials en-route to the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

ZCDC will receive a total of 21 dump trucks and five dozers which it procured from the eastern European country. The company’s chief executive officer, Dr Moris Mpofu, said all the equipment will be in the country in three months’ time.

“This is part of the recapitalization process we are undertaking at ZCDC in order to increase our operations at the mines. We are going to receive 21 dump trucks and 5 dozers that were procured from Belarus using the $32 million we got from the RBZ last year,” he said and added:

“In the next three months we would have taken delivery of all the equipment. We have since set up an assembling platform at Chiadzwa where we are going to put the machinery components together since we are receiving them in pieces”.

Dr Mpofu said by procuring the machinery, ZCDC would sustain itself and do away with contract mining which is costly.

“When we have our own machinery we will do everything on our own. What it means is that we will declare more dividends to Government by minimizing costs related to contract mining. The new mining equipment will also help us expand our operations and thereby increase production. All portals in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani will have enough equipment to operate a t full capacity.

“We have started to engage the contract miners on the new developments. What is more important is that with the new equipment we will be able to do conglomerate mining which will increase our yield both qualitatively and quantitatively. It means that we will get more refined gems that fetch higher prices unlike the industrial diamonds which we being mined through alluvial processes,” he said.

Shamed Zimra boss Pasi resigns

SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general, Gershem Pasi, who was facing 45 charges of misconduct, has resigned.

By Wongai Zhangazha

Gershem Pasi

Gershem Pasi

As first reported by our sister paper, the Zimbabwe Independent last year, an audit into the goings-on at Zimra exposed massive corruption, fraud, poor corporate governance and tax evasion scandals within the tax authority, with shocking revelations that the revenue collector was prejudiced of more than $20 million.

According to sources, Pasi resigned halfway through a disciplinary hearing on Monday.

The hearing, which kicked off in November last year, was chaired by former High Court judge, Justice Moses Chinhengo.

Pasi pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

“My employer has without just or lawful cause preferred unfounded charges against me. The charges ring hollow being based as they are upon an incompetent audit report prepared by auditors, who abdicated their most basic functions and responsibilities,” reads Pasi’s resignation letter dated May 22.

“I terminate the relationship the very same way that it was consummated, with peace, tranquility and restraint. I clothe myself in my dignity, as I put off my title and call time on the long and gratifying association that I have had with the authority. I have decided to walk. I do so with effect from today. I do so with effect from today, May 22, 2017.”

Pasi was expected to answer to several charges of misconduct, which include the signing of a $14 million contract with a company called AVIC International for the supply of uniforms and tollgate equipment, allegedly without following tender procedures.

He was also accused of allocating himself excessive vehicle allowances amounting to $374 451 between 2014 and May 2016 without approval from the board, among other charges.

In a statement yesterday, the Zimra board confirmed receiving Pasi’s resignation.

“As all stakeholders are aware, the Commissioner General has been on suspension and undergoing disciplinary hearings,” the statement read.

“He has, however, opted to resign with immediate effect prior to the conclusion of the hearings. The board has accepted his resignation.

“The Zimra board, together with senior management and staff, would like to acknowledge the service that Commissioner General Pasi rendered to the organisation and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

The Zimra board-sanctioned probe came after a whistle-blower’s report on irregularities in the importation of executive cars, which saw Pasi and several executives sent on forced leave.

The audit began on July 3 last year.

OK Zimbabwe profits jump 800%

OK Zimbabwe’s profit after tax grew by 800,9% to $6,1 million from $700 000 in 2016 due to improved customer service, product mix, efficiencies, margins and better management of cost.


Revenue grew by 8% to $472,4 million from $437,5 million in the prior year.

Speaking at the company’s analysts’ briefing in Harare on Tuesday, OK Zimbabwe Limited chief executive officer, Alex Siyavora, said manufacturing of local products improved the supply situation in the country against a background of shortages of foreign currency.

“Despite the difficult operating environment, the group delivered a significantly improved performance. This was a result of sharpened focus on customer service and product mix improved back office efficiencies, improved margins and better management of costs as a result of initiatives rolled out in the prior year,” he said.

Siyavora said in spite of the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64, which banned imports of products with local equivalents, they had received adequate import permits issued for goods that were not available locally, as a result their stores were adequately stocked with a mix of local goods and imports from South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

He said in support of initiatives to resuscitate local industry, the group continued to support the Buy Zimbabwe campaign.

In the period under review, overheads remained at the same level as the prior year, as the group continued to enforce measures to contain costs.

Siyavora said the group further reduced its costs of borrowing from $300 000 to $100 000.

Capital expenditure for the year was $10,9 million up from $4,4 million in the prior year as the group continued its refurbishment exercise to improve existing facilities.

“The forecast, the economy is expected to grow by 3,7% and International Monitory Fund forecast growth of 2%, we expect to benefit from part of the growth,” Siyavora said.

“The retail sector will remain competitive and we intend to sustain and raise our game.”

During the period under review, OK First Street, OK Kwekwe and OK Gwanda stores were refurbished, while OK Chipinge and OK Houghton Park stores moved to bigger sites.

“The group continued to expand its foot print countrywide. Three new stores were opened during the financial year and these are OKMart Gweru, OKMart Victoria Falls and OK Norton,” Siyavora said.

“OK Herbert Chitepo and Bon Marche Parklands, both Bulawayo, were closed on November 12, 2016 and March 31, 2017, respectively, as the group continues to rationalise its operations to improve efficiencies.”

He said the group will refurbish six stores this year and will open a new store in Harare in the next two months.

Siyavora, however, said the retail sector remains competitive and the group expects to continue growing sales, manage overhead costs and further improve profitability.

ZPA plots to curb illegal poultry imports

THE Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) is in the process of setting up an anonymous tip-off initiative to curb the proliferation of illegal imports threatening viability of the industry.




Chicken imports, particularly from Brazil and South Africa, have continued to flood the local market, choking the local poultry industry.

For instance, in 2015, between January and September, the country imported about 1,5 million kilogrammes of chicken valued at $800 000 from South Africa, figures not captured in official statistics.

This is despite the fact that Zimbabwe imposed a duty of $1,50 per kilogramme on imported chicken in 2012 in a bid to protect local producers.

In an industry update, ZPA chairperson, Solomon Zawe said reports of illegal imports of chicken offals, gizzards, heads and feet continue to be received.

“ZPA and its sister organisations under the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council are in the process of setting up an anonymous tip-off initiative to try to curb proliferation of illegal imports,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zawe said despite a slight improvement in broiler breeder trends in the last quarter of 2016, breeder chick retentions and growing birds in the first quarter of 2017 were 18 and 16% lower than the same period last year and the lowest first quarter figures since 2013.

And while breeders in-lay were 15% up on 2016, these are the second lowest first quarter stocks since 2013, he said.

“The number of birds processed and broiler meat production in the formal sector in the first quarter of 2017 was 3% and 6% lower than the same period in 2016, respectively,” Zawe said.

“Wholesale prices have continued to firm over the past nine months with the whole bird price increasing from a four-year low of $2,74 in July 2016 to $3,25 in March 2017.”

He said, together with a decline of 6% in large-scale meat production in the first quarter of 2017, small-scale production is estimated to have declined by 19% resulting in a 15% decline in total meat production to 7,965mt per month.

Zim pooly ranked in providing financial services

ZIMBABWE is ranked fourth from last in sub-Saharan Africa in terms providing financial services to people living in the rural areas, a World Bank report said.


The World Bank released a report on Enabling Business of Agriculture (EBA) earlier this week, which measures and monitors key elements of countries’ regulatory framework that affect agribusiness value chains.

Under the financial indicators, Zimbabwe’s ranking in sub-Saharan Africa was against 21 countries.

“EBA finance indicators measure laws and regulations that promote access to a range of financial services, with a focus on areas that are particularly relevant for potential customers in rural areas,” the report said.

“These customers are partially or fully excluded from traditional financial services due to factors such as their geographical location or available type of collateral.”

Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, and Zambia made up the top four in that order.

Three indicators were used for these financial rankings, namely, branchless banking, movable collateral, and non-bank lending institutions.

Branchless banking covers agent bank and electronic money, movable collateral (warehouse receipts, doing business and getting credit) and non-bank lending institutions (such as the operation and governance of financial cooperatives).

“Data for the finance indicators are obtained from three main types of respondents: financial sector supervisory authorities, financial lawyers, and legal officers of financial institutions,” the report said.

“Data collections include interviews conducted during country visits directly with respondents, followed by rounds of follow-up communication via email and conference calls with respondents as well as with third parties.”

The country’s poor financial score placed it in lowest income bracket in the overall ranking, which surveyed 62 countries in the EBA 2017 report.

This comes as the 62 countries were divided into four groups, namely, high income, upper middle income, lower middle income, and low income of which Zimbabwe came in at 60.

In terms of overall financial rankings, the EBA 2017 report put Zimbabwe at 49 out a total of 62 countries surveyed for the report.

People living in rural areas have long struggled to access financial services due to their location and not having tangible assets in terms of accessing loans.

Early last month, Treasury proposed the Movable Property Security Interest Bill, which will compel banks to accept movable assets such as machinery, automobiles, inventory, account receivables and even livestock.

When he presented the Bill, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the draft law was crafted with farmers and those living in the rural areas in mind.

Zim splashes $155m on food, beverages for Q1

CASH-STRAPPED Zimbabwe splashed $155 million between January and March on food and beverages imports, at a time the country is suffering from severe liquidity challenges, latest trade data from the national statistics agency shows.


Figures released by the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat) show that the country imported food and beverages worth $155m in the first quarter of 2017, up 11% compared to the same period last year, mainly for household and industry consumption.

In March alone, the country imported food and beverages worth $52m, up 5% from the previous month.

Some of the food stuffs imported were maize ($119m), durum wheat ($34m) and rice ($24m).

In the period under review, total imports amounted to $1,3 billion against $724 million exports, which remain heavily skewed towards consumptive products.

In the same period last year, the country’s imports were $1,3 billion against exports of $617 million.

Most of the imports in the first quarter of 2017 were consumptive products such as maize, rice, bottled water, sugar, soap, cellphone handsets, electronics, vehicle spares, vehicles, generators and second hand vehicles.

In June last year, Zimbabwe banned the importation of hundreds of items to rein in its ballooning trade deficit, which stood at $3,3 billion and shore up local manufacturers.

The list included furniture, baked beans, potato crisps, cereal, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, mahewu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese.

However, the ban seems not to be taming the country’s appetite to import.

In 2016, the country’s trade deficit dropped to $2,4 billion after exporting goods worth $2,8 billion against imports of $5,2 billion.

Rebranding, strategic realignment initiatives in Q1 2017

In an ever-changing, competitive environment in which providers of goods and services have to constantly vie for the attention of clued-up and tech-savvy consumers, rebranding or refreshing one’s public image or brand ceases to be a luxury.


National Social Security Authority head office at Corner Selous Avenue and Simon Muzenda Street in Harare

National Social Security Authority head office at Corner Selous Avenue and Simon Muzenda Street in Harare

Instead, it becomes a strategic imperative, without which, brands eventually get tired and give up the ghost of popular appeal, leading to loss of market share. Even strategies that appear well-thought-out today eventually get overtaken by events due to strategic drift, making some sort of realignment necessary.

This instalment reviews such activities, which some financial sector players embarked on in the first quarter of 2017 in order to stay relevant. Notably, a third of the activity during the quarter was driven by acquisitive moves, while 62% were rebranding initiatives and 38% were strategic realignment manoeuvres.

January 2017

Collarhedge Finance (Private) Limited — rebranding

Pursuant to its licensing by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as a deposit-taking microfinance institution — authorising the institution to conduct deposit-taking microfinance business in terms of the Microfinance Act [Chapter 24:29] and offer a broad range of financial services — Collarhedge Finance (Private) Limited changed its name to Success Micro-finance Bank Limited. The institution also changed its logo and opened a new branch at Shop 8 and 10 Karigamombe Arcade in Harare.

MicroKing Finance (Pvt) Ltd — rebranding

Microcred Zimbabwe, formerly MicroKing Finance (Pvt) Limited, was officially rebranded on January 10, 2017 at an event at which Finance and Economic Development minister, Patrick Chinamasa, was the guest of honour. This followed a 70% and 30% shareholding acquisition by Microcred SAS and AfricInvest Financial Sector Limited, respectively, which was concluded on May 23, 2016.

Microcred SAS Africa chief executive officer, Ruben Dieudonne, said the group saw an opportunity in Zimbabwe and acquired shares. “We saw the market opportunity and took it. Every country in Africa has challenges and Zimbabwe does as well. But the market potential here is high when we see market potential against the competitors, I am confident of that potential,” he said.

PTA Bank — rebranding

The Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank was rebranded, leading to the launch of the Trade Development Bank (TDB) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Trade and Development Bank is an African regional development financial institution established in 1985. The bank is a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) institution, and membership is open to non-regional countries and institutional shareholders.

February 2017

Standard Chartered Bank — strategic realignment

Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe said it was consolidating its property division to create one single external supplier and improve operational efficiencies. “In line with the bank’s global strategy to streamline business operations and improve operational efficiencies, Standard Chartered’s property division is consolidating its multiple real estate service providers to one single external supplier, across all markets. The benefits of such a partnership enables standardisation of processes, efficient governance, and streamlined communication, auditing and reporting,” head of corporate affairs, brand and marketing, Lillian Hapanyengwi said.

She said, in Zimbabwe, the realignment process was still in its early stages, adding the bank looked forward to enhanced efficiencies and delivery within its property division, with minimal impact on staff.

Ecobank Asset Management Company (Private) Limited — rebranding

Akribos Wealth managers issued a notice to the public advising of its change of name.

“Members of the investing public are hereby advised that following regulatory approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe of the transfer of Ecobank Asset Management Company (Private) Limited to Akribos Capital Incorporated (Private) Limited, we are rebranding and changing our name from Ecobank Asset Management Company (Private) Limited to Akribos Wealth Managers (Private) Limited,” said the company in the notice published on February 9, 2017.

IDBZ — strategic realignment

State–owned Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) abandoned commercial banking to focus on the infrastructure development business. Chinamasa said the bank, which had adopted a commercial banking model to ensure that it survived a harsh economic environment, had returned to its original core mandate, which is medium to long-term infrastructure development in key sectors of energy, transport, water and sanitation, information communication technology and housing.

March 2017 Zimnat — rebranding

Zimnat, which has interests in insurance, life assurance, asset management and microfinance officially rebranded all its subsidiaries to reflect its partnership with pan-African shareholder, Sanlam Group, which in 2015 acquired a 40% stake in Zimnat at a value of $11, 6 million through its subsidiary Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM).

Speaking on the side lines of the official launch of the new brand on March 29, 2017 in Harare, Zimnat group chief executive officer, Mustafa Sachak said Sanlam would give assurance to clients of their capabilities.

“If you look at it, it is a new fresh look that signifies a partnership with Sanlam. We want to be in the top two and that is also Sanlam’s position that wherever they go they want to be the dominant company or in the top three.

Zimnat is associated with one of the largest groups, so when they (Zimnat clients) want to insure their life or want their money looked after by an asset management firm, they know we will be safe,” he said. For its clients, Zimnat said the partnership meant “products of international standards, excellent technical support, superior customer experience, security and peace of mind”.

National Social Security Authority (NSSA) — strategic realignment

The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) said it was working on a strategy for its investments in the banking sector, which might see it divesting from some entities or consolidating others. Board chairperson, Robin Vela, told the media on March 29, 2016 that the strategy was still work in progress, but “all I can say to you is certainly we do not believe that our holding will be the same at the end of the year. There is a strategy that we are trying to roll out … which talks to say: Is it appropriate for NSSA to have 10 banks, 10 insurance companies?

“As a shareholder, we are the ones who are suffering because we have got our capital competing against each other and we have got to change that. We are saying we shouldn’t have invested in 10 banks, 10 insurance companies. We want to try and streamline our involvement in some of these companies.”

Omen N. Muza is the founder and editor of the MFSB. You can view his LinkedIn profile at or initiate contact on

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