VENTURES AFRICA – AIM listed Cambria Africa is seeking to expand into Zambia and diversify its investments from Zimbabwe, its primary focus. The company announced on Tuesday that it had secured additional funding to grow its operations in the region although immediate focus will be on Zambia.
In Zimbabwe, Cambria Africa operates the Leopard Rock resort hotel; Millchem, a chemicals distribution company; Payserv, a transaction-processing firm; and Celsysis, a printing company.
The company said on Friday that it had disposed of its 51 percent shareholding in ForgetMeNot Africa, a mobile texting venture for $250, 000.
The company said on Friday that its shareholding in ForgetMeNot Africa had become a “significant financial drain” at a time when it has written off its investments in the unit.
The finance that Cambria will use in its bid to expand into Zambia has been raised from an agreement to increase the AIM listed investment company’s debt secured from Consilium Investment Management. Consilium is said to control a significant interest in Cambria and has agreed to increase its debt from $1.5 million to $4.5 million.
“We remain excited and impressed with the developments at Cambria and, as already stated in December, we are committed to playing a supportive role in providing debt and equity finance for the company,” said Jonathan Binder, Consilium Investment Management’s managing director.
Cambria’s expansion will see the company grow its Millchem unit into Zambia. Millchem already enjoys a significant market share in Zimbabwe’s chemicals distribution industry. It supplies solvents, metal treatments, and alkyd resins and is a stronger revenue generator for Cambria, with gross profits having surged by 95 percent in the past year.
“Millchem has increasingly explored opportunities in the region on the back of stellar growth achieved in the Zimbabwean business,” chief executive Edzo Wisman said on Tuesday.
“After the success of initial sales into Zambia, Cambria will now invest in a more structured presence for Millchem, including a Lusaka office and warehouse,” he added.
He said “various existing suppliers, encouraged by Millchem’s rapid growth in Zimbabwe, have already offered to extend Millchem’s Zimbabwe agencies” into the Zambian market.
Cambria’s other business unit, Payserv has already established an office in Zambia and analysts said this points to the company’s preparedness to enter the Zambian market.
Payserv, according to the company, will venture into the Southern African country through its electronic data interchange switching technology as well as making its other outsourcing products available to the country’s growing financial and business sector.