HARARE, December 11 (The Source) – The Zimbabwean government has taken over CAPS Holdings, the country’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer which collapsed four years ago, in a bid to revive its operations, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Friday.
At its peak, CAPS accounted for 75 percent of the local healthcare products market and was involved in the manufacture, wholesale distribution, and retail of pharmaceutical, consumer, and veterinary products.
At the time of its closure due to undercapitalization, huge debt and allegations of mismanagement, CAPS was under the control of key shareholder and chairman, Fred Mtandah.
In an update on the economy presented at the ongoing ZANU-PF annual conference in Victoria Falls, Chinamasa announced that government had taken over CAPS. He did not provide details.
Mtandah has, however, previously hinted at government involvement in CAPS.
A 2013 statement by the businessman spoke about Cabinet-driven plans to resuscitate the stricken firm.
Under the plan, the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation would lead government’s intervention in CAPS.
Zimbabwe’s pharmaceutical industry has experienced a massive decline, with an estimated 90 percent of all pharmaceutical products being donor-funded and imported.
CAPS has ceased manufacturing drugs and failed to have its 15-year lease of Harare’s upmarket St. Anne’s Hospital renewed in 2013, while its QV pharmacy chain has only recently returned to good health under judicial management.
Government has also recently taken over Cottco, a cotton marketing firm which was privatized in 1998, in a bid to revive the ginning industry.