Elephant vs Dragon – Mwana Africa tiff with Chinese partners dampens recovery

HARARE – Mwana Africa’s fallout with its largest shareholder China International Mining Group Corporation (CIMGC) and Yat Hoi Ning, a Non-Executive Director and associate of CIMGC, over board seats could drag on to February 2016, the company said on Thursday.

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Elephant vs Dragon – Mwana Africa tiff with Chinese partners dampens recovery

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The fight, which has spilled into the courts, also dampens the prospects of Mwana’s ongoing rehabilitation of its nickel business in Zimbabwe.

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Mwana CEO Kalaa Mpinga heralded the 2012 Chinese investment into his company as a sign that “Mwana is really on the move,” but a dispute over board seats allocated to, among others, Zimbabwean non-executive directors and old mining hands – Herbert Mashanyare and Mwana veteran Ngoni Kudenga has brought the “exciting times” to an abrupt end.

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Mwana’s romance with the Chinese started in 2012 when CIMGC came in with a million investment to restart Mwana’s Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) which had collapsed at the height of the country’s economic meltdown.

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CIMGC controls a substantial 21.4 percent stake in Mwana while Ning owns 7.6 percent giving them a combined shareholding of 29 percent.

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The relationship soured last year, with CIMGC and Ning disputing the appointment of Stuart Morris, Johan Botha, Kudenga and Mashanyare as non-executive directors of the company.

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CIMGC and Ning filed a petition with the High Court on December 8 2014 challenging the validity of a resolution passed at the company’s September AGM, relating to the appointment of the directors.

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In a statement on Thursday, a combative Mwana Africa said it would defend its position.

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“The Company’s position remains unchanged in respect of these court proceedings. Whilst it will continue to attempt to work with the Petitioners to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution to their complaints, the Company will defend its position vigorously in court if required,” the statement reads.

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The company added that the initial directions were laid down for the future conduct of the petition including the setting of a trial window of 3 months from 1 November 2015 at a hearing on Wednesday today at the Companies Court.

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Meanwhile BNC, Mwana’s Zimbabwean nickel unit, traded 0.2 cents lower on the ZSE on Thursday. BNC, which opened the year at 6,5 cents closed at 5,8 cents on Thursday. – The Source