Russian billionaire in Zimbabwe for fertiliser deals


That a company the size of Uralchem is looking at Zimbabwe for investment is therefore reason for hope that Mnangagwa’s pro-business drive is working.

However, the scary part is that Mazepin has been accused of ruthless business practices and cutting corners in other markets.

In the rush to welcome foreign money, how much should that be a concern to Zimbabwe?


In 2016, Mazepin was accused of “a raider attack,” a business move in which a minority shareholder works from the inside to devalue a company and buy it on the cheap.

Mazepin was accused of trying to bring down a fertiliser firm, TOAZ, which holds 20 percent of the global ammonia market.

Past reports also point to Mazepin’s conflicts at Russian gas firm Gazprom and other brutal takeovers.

It is not a coincidence that a Russian fertiliser billionaire is arriving in the country just as Zimbabwe has put its key fertiliser operation, Chemplex, up for sale.

Chemplex, a unit of the Industrial Development Corporation, owns the companies that are at the centre of the fertiliser business; Chemplex owns half of the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company, 36% of Sable Chemicals (some reports have suggested that Masawara’s Shingi Mutasa now controls 90 percent of the company) and wholly owns ZimPhos and Dorowa Minerals.

Dorowa Minerals is the country’s only phosphate mine.

In a notice last week, the IDC said it was looking for a new investor for Chemplex.

“The investor is expected to inject additional capital into the business, bring in new technology and access to wider markets for the business,” said IDCZ.

An offer to Mazepin to take over Chemplex is on the cards. Chemplex is already also in the sights of Robert Gumede, a South African businessman, and also those of South Africa’s IDC.

Amid all the hopes brought by Mnangagwa’s open-door policy for investors, there will be many questions over the types of investors Zimbabwe is attracting.

There will be fears that an over eager Zimbabwe might end up with investing partners that it may find hard to deal with eventually.

However, in this rare window of international goodwill that the country is enjoying, Zimbabwe barely has the luxury to wait and pick and choose.

“The country will go with those brave enough to step up no0w. But we will obviously do our homework and due diligence, to make sure we get the best deals out of those making themselves available,” a senior Government official involved in the Mazepin visit said today. –The Source


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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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