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Plans afoot to reopen ZSE

By Ray Ndlovu and Godfrey Marawanyika

The government may allow trade on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) to resume as early as this week, according to three people familiar with the situation.

The plans for the reopening have yet to be finalised, the people said, asking not to be identified because they are not authorised to discuss the matter.

The re-opened bourse will exclude Old Mutual Ltd and possibly PPC Ltd and Seed Co, two of the people said.

The three companies, which have dual listings on other exchanges outside Zimbabwe, may instead be automatically listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange that is set to open this year, they said.

The new bourse, known as VFEX, would offer tax exemptions including those on capital gains, share sales and corporate income tax, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube told lawmakers in the mid-term budget statement last Thursday.

It will also “seek to partner any exchanges or international investment banks”.

The government shut the ZSE on June 28 as part of efforts to stabilise the local currency.

The ruling Zanu PF party has since demanded the listing of Old Mutual, the biggest company by market value, be terminated because the insurer’s share price is used to determine a future rate for the Zimbabwean dollar.

Ncube restricted trading in Old Mutual, PPC and Seed Co’s shares in March to curb arbitrage opportunities that the dual listings and their differing exchange rates can offer.

The reopening of the Harare-based exchange will depend on progress the government makes in an investigation that began last month, one of the people said.

Government spokesman Nick Mangwana referred a request for comment to Ncube, who did not answer his phone when called on Friday and did not immediately respond to a text message.

Old Mutual declined to comment, while PPC Zimbabwe managing director Kelibone Masiyane and Seed CEO Morgan Nzwere did not answer calls seeking comment.
— Bloomberg

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