Russian Firm Bids For Zimbabwe’s Turnall Holdings

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VENTURES AFRICA – A Russian resources company hand entered the race for the acquisition of Zimbabwe’s asbestos products manufacturer, Turnall Holdings.

This move has raised the stakes in a bid that could see potential suitors adjust their proposals. This emerged as FBC Holdings, the banking group that is at the centre of the planned sell, denied reports that a Swiss-based firm was within the cusp of clinching a deal giving it control of Turnall.

An FBC Holdings spokesperson said the Swiss consortium, which includes a local company, had only expressed interest in the company with no valuation having yet been agreed.

The Russians, said to have roped in the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), are said to be offering a cool $35 million for a controlling stake, against a $13.5 million bid by a Swiss firm reported by The Financial Gazette last week.

A spokesperson for FBC Holdings said they had received bids from several interested parties but were “currently engaged in serious discussions with a local bidder”.

The spokesperson declined to reveal the name of bidders, citing confidentiality.

“FBC Holdings has been flighting cautionary statements since November last year,” she said, denying that they had reached a deal for Swiss private equity firm Zurmont, which had partnered with a United Arab Emirates investment firm called Augan Investments, and a local company called Ryan Capital, to buy FBC’s stake in Turnall. She, however, did not deny the Swiss had bid for Turnall, saying: “As part of its efforts to meet capitalisation requirements set by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), FBC Holdings has indicated that it plans to dispose of its 59 percent stake in Turnall Holdings.

It has been involved in discussions with several interested parties over the past few months with favourable indications.