By NQOBANI NDLOVU
UNITED Kingdom- based Cold Storage Commission (CSC) investor, Boustead Beef Limited, last week began refurbishing the company’s abattoir in preparation for its re-opening, Southern Eye can reveal.
In 2019, government entered into a partnership agreement with Boustead Limited to revive CSC.
The investor promised to inject about US$130 million into CSC over five years to revive operations, refurbishing the industrial assets, ranches, feedlots and residential properties.
CSC employees have, however, accused Boustead Beef company officials of stripping company assets for resale, which cast doubt on the capacity of the investor to recapitalise the meat processor.
During a tour of the company premises last Friday, Boustead Beef consultant Reginald Shoko said the recapitalisation process was starting with the refurbishment of the abattoir.
“The engineers are busy with refurbishment of the Bulawayo plant, which might take around three weeks while waiting for the new condensers which were imported from China and then the plant will be commissioned,” he said.
“We are also busy arranging resuscitation of dip tanks across the ranches in order to help farmers in cattle management to contribute to the national herd.”
In December, government moved to avert the liquidation of CSC by placing it under a corporate rescue plan.
CSC has been struggling with viability challenges over the past years and faced the risk of liquidation as creditors demanded their dues.
Mounting debts, maladministration and corruption, among other factors, has dragged the company into insolvency.
Experts attributed CSC’s insolvency to several factors such as corporate governance failures, imprudent financial management, adverse changes in external factors and internal constraints such as inadequate funding or old equipment, loss of key suppliers, and loss of customers or personnel.
CSC creditors include urban councils (Harare, Bulawayo and Chinhoyi), the National Social Security Authority and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company. They are demanding settlement of their arrears.