CIGARETTE producing concern, British American Tobacco Zimbabwe Holdings Limited (BAT Zimbabwe) has moved towards complying with the government’s indigenisation and empowerment requirements, a senior company official said last week.
Report by Our Staff
BAT Zimbabwe managing director Lovemore Manatsa said that the company’s shareholders unanimously approved its indigenisation proposal following an extraordinary general meeting on October 26.
“This is evidence of shareholder confidence that the business will continue to generate shared value,” said Manatsa.
“We endeavour to continue to run the business in a responsible and profitable manner. It is important to understand that our context is based on the sustainability of our business and for all investors and stakeholders, including the people and country within which we operate.”
The company’s four-year indigenisation plan was approved by the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment ministry on October 9 this year.
Under the arrangement, 26% of the shareholding in BAT Zimbabwe would have been transferred to the hands of indigenous shareholders by end of this month.
At least 10,74% would be allocated to a corporate social investment trust focused on the development and support of indigenous tobacco growers.
An employee share trust dedicated for the benefit of permanent BAT Zimbabwe employees would be allotted 10% while the remaining 5,26% would be retained by existing indigenous shareholders.
Indigenisation thresholds applicable to the manufacturing sector were gazetted in General Notice 459 of 2011 and require companies in the sector to comply in a phased manner.
Within the first year, 26% shareholding is required to be held by indigenous Zimbabweans by October 28 2012.
In the second year, 36% shareholding should be held by the same by October 28 2013 and within the third year, 46% by October 28 2014.
Companies are required to cede 51% shareholding by October 28 2015.