CFI retires CEO Kuipa, chairman in board shake-up

CFI retires CEO Kuipa, chairman in board shake-up

HARARE, April 13 (The Source) – CFI Holdings chief executive (CEO) Stephen Kuipa is set to leave the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed agro-industrial concern, the company announced on Wednesday.

The group, which has been hit by shareholder wrangling, also announced the immediate departure of chairman Simplicius Chihambakwe. His departure follows that of another board member, P Bwerinofa,who quit the company on April 11. Finance director Acquiline Chinamo also left at the end of last year.

NicozDiamond Insurance managing director, Grace Muradzikwa, has been appointed acting chairperson of one of the country’s largest agro processing firms, whose fortunes had been affected by slowing turnover, sustained losses and working capital deficits over the past two years.

“The group chairman, Mr Simplicius J Chihambakwe, has retired from the board with immediate effect to focus on his private practice. The board wishes to thank him for his leadership and invaluable contribution over the years and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” said CFI.

“The group chief executive officer Mr. Stephen Paradzai Kuipa is proceeding on leave pending his retirement on 30 April, 2016. The board wishes to register its appreciation for his role in leading the group up to the point of his retirement.”

CFI said Timothy Nyika and Shingirai Chibhanguza would take over as acting group CEO and deputy CEO respectively.

While the statement did not explain the reasons for thechanges, CFI has been at the centre of controversy since last year.

Last May, British tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten said he would initiate moves to force CFI into judicial management, after blocking an annual general meeting.

At the time, Van Hoogstraten held a 23,2 percent shareholding in CFIthrough his Messina Investments vehicle. His stake has since grown to 34 percent.

Early this month, Messina proposed a forensic audit of the group’s afairs going back six years to ascertain ‘mismanagement and corruption’ which it said had destroyed shareholder value.

CFI’s going concern status had been under threat and its operations had been undermined by high gearing and a working capital crisis, according to its 2014 annual report.

Its post-tax profits retreated by $3,3 million to $9,9 million during the full-year to September 30, 2014, from $6,6 million during the prior comparative period.

Turnover slipped 18 percent to $71,1 million, from $87,2 million in 2013.

While CFI’s current assets exceeded current liabilities by $9,1 million during the period, development land dominated current assets, stifling the group’s battle with a frustrating liquidity crisis that had triggered short-term solvency challenges.

It failed to publish its financial results for the full-year to September, leading to its suspension from the ZSE.