Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
LEADING crocodilian skins and meat producer Padenga Holdings Limited has listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) making it the second company to trade on the off-shore biased financial services centre.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube officially launched the VFEX in October last year, and Seed Co International became the first company to trade on the exchange.
Prof Ncube officially launched the listing of Padenga on the VFEX here on Friday, saying attracting two big counters within the first nine months marks a milestone achievement for the bourse.
Padenga is also listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), on which VFEX is a subsidiary.
Prof Ncube said come December this year, VFEX could be having four listed companies as two more are eyeing the exchange platform that is a vehicle for raising capital in foreign currency.
“We convened here just nine months ago to launch the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange and I am delighted to witness the growth of VFEX in terms of listings. Those who are familiar with capital markets will understand that ordinarily a new listing takes time, typically anything from six to 18 months or even longer and for VFEX to have achieved two listings is nine months is certainly commendable,” said Prof Ncube.
He said the establishment of the VFEX is one of many initiatives being implemented by the Government to stabilise and grow the economy and make it attractive to foreign direct investment as well as domestic investors.
He reiterated Government support for VFEX saying since the launch of the centre which creates a globally competitive platform for the trading of stocks in hard currency last year, concerted efforts have been done to promote the VFEX.
The Minister said Government was guided by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), successor blue-print to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) to revitalise the domestic and foreign investments which are critical to growing the economy.
He said Government has put in place various incentives to stimulate listings including the recent announcement on the increased export retention for issuers that list on the VFEX.
Prof Ncube encouraged more businesses, local and international, to list on the VFEX.
“The incremental export incentive scheme that the Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, put in place seeks to boost productivity and generate sustainable growth in export revenue and ultimately encourage listing and participation of firms on VFEX.
“The key word is vibrancy and for the capital market to be vibrant it needs more issuers who in turn will attract investors. As your Minister of Finance and Economic Development, let me make this call — we need more listings on the VFEX and I urge all the unlisted corporates in the mining, manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors of our economy to consider listing,” he said.
The Minister said listing is one way to ensure that sustainable operations, taking a leaf from big economies that have robust capital markets. He said all capital markets do not only serve as conduits for investments especially pension funds, but they also serve as capital raising platforms for the productive sectors.
“As such it gives me great pleasure when firms such as Padenga Holdings realise the value of the incentives we have introduced and actually grab the opportunity to benefit from the incentives.
“In addition to the incentives I believe Padenga will also be able to raise capital in foreign currency for its capital projects and the investment community will benefit from investing in a hard currency denominated asset.
“As we continue to pursue the ideals of Vision 2030, My Ministry will continue to play its role of creating an enabling environment. We are aware that we have a lot of work to do, in light of expectations from both the local and international community, but I am here today to reassure you of our commitment to continue building on investor confidence and deepening our financial markets,” added Prof Ncube.
Capital markets complement policy initiatives and provide the transmission mechanisms through which Government can gauge the vitality and effectiveness its policies, said Prof Ncube.
He said revitalising domestic industrial value chains and enhancing value addition are game changers for Zimbabwe hence the Finance Ministry will continuously explore strategies that promote value addition across the different sectors of the economy.
He reaffirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment towards building a robust, resilient and growing economy through private sector led investment, riding on President Mnangagwa’s ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra.
The Minister applauded Padenga shareholders and management for believing in Government efforts, as he reiterated that Government’s vision for a middle income economy by 2030 remains on course and having a vibrant capital market is a major milestone towards that.
Padenga board chair Mr Themba Sibanda said the company listed on ZSE in 2010 after its demerger from Innscor Africa, and more than a decade later it is joining the VFEX, a significant milestone as the company looks to grow.