BULAWAYO, July 17 (The Source) – Property worth millions of dollars belonging to the state-owned meat processor, Cold Storage Company (CSC) is set to go under the hammer today over unpaid debt to the Bulawayo City Council.
Early this month, the company’s two thirds of its estimated 600 head of cattle was auctioned in a court-sanctioned auction to settle unpaid wages.
According to a notice on Thursday, Hollands Auctioneers will auction CSC industrial property including drilling machines, cutters and ammonia compressors. Other property include computers, desks and chairs in a case pitying the company against the city fathers.
CSC’s debts have ballooned to over $25 million from $9 million in 2009, mainly from fixed costs such as wages, rates and taxes on land.
It owes its 413 employees $3,5 million in salary arrears.
The company has capacity to slaughter 700,000 animals per year but last year the country slaughtered 284,000 animals.
The CSC is reportedly making an annual loss of $6 million, stretching over the past ten years.
Recently, CSC chief executive, Ngoni Chinogaramombe told a parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture that the company has secured an investor to inject $80 million into its struggling business but government is withholding approval, demanding a forensic audit to ascertain the state of the company.
CSC, at one time the largest meat processor in Africa, handled up to 150,000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products a year and exporting beef to the European Union, where it had an annual quota of 9,100 tonnes of beef.
The CSC also had a $15 million revolving payment facility with the EU and used to earn Zimbabwe at least $45 million annually.
The firm is now operating at less than 10 percent of its capacity, employing 500 workers down from 1,500 in the 1990s.