Minister Mthuli Ncube claims there is a new investor for David Whitehead
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube claims that a new investor has shown interest to take over comatose textile giant David Whitehead which has been in the doldrums since 2004.
Ncube was speaking to the Zimbabwe Government’s official news agency New Ziana but refused to disclose the identity of the prospective investor.
“I was fairly pleased that David Whitehead Textiles is coming back, and the investor is into it.
“I had a meeting last week at my office with the Chief Executive Officer of David Whitehead Textiles and I am pleased with what I heard,” Ncube is quoted saying.
“As a country, what we need to do is complete our cotton value chain. What we have done is I have allocated a portion of SDR (Special Drawing Rights) from IMF towards supporting the clothing industry for manufacture of clothes locally,” he said.
The company has been placed under three different judicial processes since 2005.
Agri Value Chain Zimbabwe (AVCZ) bought about 74 percent of the company’s shares in 2019 but work on resuscitating what was once the country’s largest textile firm was delayed due to what was then a pending court case.
David Whitehead has a spinning plant in Kadoma and a fabric manufacturing plant in Chegutu which experts say are antiquated and require investment in state-of-the-art machinery.
Before AVCZ came on board as an investor, David Whitehead was sliding into insolvency.
AVC is owned by Praduman Kumar Gaberiwal who has interests in cotton farming, ginning and cooking oil. He also owns local cooking oil manufacturer ZimGold.
David Whitehead was incorporated in 1951, with the name David Whitehead & Sons (Rhodesia) Limited. However, it changed its name to David Whitehead Textiles Limited in 1979.
When operating at full throttle, the company has the capacity to produce about 20 million metres of fabric annually.
At its peak in the 1990s, Zimbabwe’s textile industry was employing about 51 000 people.