Takura eyes majority stake in Cairns

Cairns has made significant recovery  as its bottom line has been growing steadily

Cairns has made significant recovery as its bottom line has been growing steadily

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
INVESTMENT holding company, Takura Capital, is reportedly set to acquire controlling interest in fast moving consumer goods manufacturer, Cairns Foods Holdings Limited.

An industry source said Takura Capital was tipped to acquire the majority stake in Cairns, manufacturer of popular brand products such as Cashel Valley baked beans and Chompkins potato chips.

It is understood that workers may get up to 20 percent shareholding in the company. Takura Capital appears to have pipped a number of suitors including forerunner favourite, Vasari Global.

“There is some positive progress to secure an investor. One of the prospective investors has been selected and has been holding negotiations with all the stakeholders,” an industry source said.

The source intimated that an agreement for the acquisition and injection of fresh capital into the highly promising manufacturer was most likely and on the horizon now.

“After an agreement is secured, the next step would be to proceed with the transaction in terms of the scheme of arrangement (approved by the High Court in 2012),” the source added.

Efforts to get a comment from Cairns Holdings judicial manager, Mr Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton Camelsa, were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Takura Capital is an investment holding company established in 1997 to invest solely in Zimbabwe. It has evolved into a Zimbabwean focused firm, which also invests in other SADC countries.

The Takura team has a mix of complimentary investment, due diligence, transaction execution and business management experience gained in Zimbabwe, southern Africa and globally.

According to its website, Takura Capital harnesses its strong networks and those of its investors to provide value adding solutions to its portfolio companies in Zimbabwe and the region.

It is an active and transformational investor focusing on companies well positioned in growing sectors with scalable business opportunities that have clear and defendable core competencies.

The inaugural Takura fund, was set up to support economic liberalisation in the 1990s by investing in growing Zimbabwean businesses with clear potential for above average growth and profitability.

Takura achieved a realised United States dollar 32 percent internal rate of return in Takura I, the investment holding company’s inaugural fund, in a very challenging environment in Zimbabwe.

Takura said it had recently successfully raised its second fund, Takura II, with capital commitments of $50 million to take advantage of the sustained growth in Zimbabwe and the region.

The company seized the opportunity to acquire Cairns after South African investor Vasari Global failed to commit to investing by December 2014, 12 months after negotiations had started.

The opportunity was opened to other interesting investors in December last year after creditors grew impatient with Vasari Global’s excuses, stripping the suitor of the exclusive right.

Takura Capital, if an agreement is finalised, will be expected to provide funding to clear in excess of $20 million in liabilities, including about $11 billion owed to at least four local banks.

Company sources said Cairns had made significant recovery efforts, has turned the corner as its bottom line has kept growing steadily, but remains in need of fresh capital to clear legacy debts.

Cairns turnaround, leveraged by strong brand equity, good management, supportive creditors and skilled work force, started when it obtained $1 million from the State’s distressed firms fund.

It had been constrained by serious capital limitations and suffocating debt liabilities prior to dollarisation.