Mwana Africa’s largest shareholder reduces stake amid legal dispute

Mwana Africa’s largest shareholder reduces stake amid legal dispute

HARARE, May 7 (The Source) – Mwana Africa’s largest shareholder, China International Mining Group Corporation (CIMGC) and Yat Hoi Ning, a non-executive director and associate of CIMGC, has sold off nearly half of its holdings in the pan-African resources group, the company has said.

Before the sale, CIMGC controlled a substantial 21.4 percent stake in Mwana while Ning owned 7.6 percent giving them a combined shareholding of 29 percent but the parties had a fall-out with Mwana over board seats, with the matter spilling into the courts.

The 2012 Chinese $21 million investment into Mwana Africa was made at a time the miner — which has significant nickel and gold assets in Zimbabwe — was looking for capital to restart its Bindura Nickel Corporation’s operations, which had been halted during the country’s economic meltdown in 2008. However, the dispute over board seats allocated to, among others, Zimbabwean non-executive directors and old mining hands – Herbert Mashanyare and Mwana veteran Ngoni Kudenga – has imperilled the partnership.

CIMGC and Ning have gone to court to contest the appointment of Stuart Morris, Johan Botha, Kudenga and Mashanyare as non-executive directors of Mwana Africa.

On Wednesday, Mwana said Ning and CIMGC had disposed of 106,254,717 and 81,424,282 ordinary shares at a price of £0,018 (three cents) per share but the company was unaware of the buyer’s identity.

Following the disposals, CIMGC now has a holding in the company of 218 million shares, representing 15.60 per cent of the issued share capital of Mwana while Ning, who is also the CIMGC chairman, now holds 454,545 Shares, representing 0.033 per cent of the issued share capital.

“The purchasers of the shares … are not parties known to the Company, the Company is establishing whether Mr Ning is still interested (for the purposes of the AIM Rules for Companies) in the Shares now held by these purchasers,” Mwana said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Requests have been made to CIMGC and Mr Ning to clarify the identities of these new shareholders, and their relationship to CIMGC and Mr Ning respectively.”

CIMGC and Ning filed a petition with the High Court on December 8, 2014 challenging the validity of a resolution passed at the company’s September AGM, relating to the appointment of the directors.

At a hearing on January 7 this year, initial directions were laid down for the future conduct of the petition including the setting of a trial window of three months from November 1 this year.