By Chris Muronzi
Meikles Ltd majority shareholder and chairman John Moxon has taken over day to day management of the group amid reports he is leading a restructuring exercise at TM Supermarkets, businessdigest has established.
Moxon, who recently took over the chairmanship of Meikles Ltd from respected banker Farai Rwodzi, is reportedly now executive chairman of the group. Rwodzi led the diversified group when a boardroom clash between the two principals of the then merged Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd, Moxon and Nigel Chanakira, resulted in Moxon being specified and having to leave the country.
The businessman only returned recently from South Africa after being de-specified by government as Kingdom Bank founder Nigel Chanakira had turned political. Moxon is said to have called for a meeting with TM Supermarkets management and briefed them of his plans to restructure the business.
Moxon referred businessdigest’s queries to his Financial director Onias Makamba. Said Makamba: “Meikles reappointed Mr. JRT Moxon to the Board and to his previous capacity of Executive Chairman. Mr. Moxon had stepped down at the onset of the shareholder and board disputes to facilitate resolution of the matters in a transparent manner.”
Makamba says Moxon’s reappointment as executive chairman is largely in line with the group’s plans that “the nature of leadership and direction that Meikles enjoyed before the disputes would be restored.”
He also said the previous board had allowed internal structures and controls to deteriorate, saying there was need to rebuild these critical pillars.
He said: “The new Executive Chairman’s task is to complete the return of good internal structures and controls, rebuild the Group’s integrity and provide the rock on which substantial sums of investment capital can be raised to recapitalize the group’s operations. It is envisaged that the chairman will guide the group through a period of expansion as was intended at the time of the merger with Kingdom Financial Holdings.”
Moxon would also focus on ensuring that the Meikles complied with national indigenisation laws requirements and restore shareholder value. This comes after Meikles last month announced that regulatory approval delays were hindering the recapitalisation of TM Supermarkets, through a Pick ‘n’ Pay investment.
Moxon last month said the delays had “seriously hindered” the group’s ability to recapitalize TM Supermarkets, the largest retail chain in the country. Meikles and Pick ‘n’ Pay recently concluded negotiations for the South African retail giant to purchase a further 24% stake of TM.
Should the deal be completed, Pick n’ Pay’s total shareholding in TM would be 49%. The transaction is awaiting approval by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment.
This would also be largely be in line with Meikles’ plans to raise funds through a sale of equity in subsidiaries and the retail arm becoming the major contributor to the group’s top and bottom line earnings. The retail chain presently operates 50 branches nationwide.
Meikles plans to introduce Pick ‘n’ Pay clothing in TM Stores in the coming months as a way of enhancing the supermarkets’ range and value.
The group recorded an Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA) of US$3,9 million for TM Supermarkets for the fifteen months ending March 31 2011 compared to a loss of US$5,9 million in 2010. Zimbabwe Independent