Mutapa fund gets approval to take over Rudland’s controlling stake in ZimRe

Mutapa's empire: ZimRe's Sawanga Mall in Vic Falls

The competition regulator has approved the Mutapa sovereign wealth fund’s takeover of businessman Hamish Rudland’s controlling stake in ZimRe, one of the country’s biggest insurance and property investors.

Mutapa bought 33.8% from Day River Corporation, through which Rudland controlled ZimRe. Government already held 18% of the company and has influence over the National Social Security Authority, a 15% shareholder in the group. The transaction was one of the mergers and acquisitions that the Competition and Tariff Commission approved in 2023, according to the regulator.

This returns ZimRe to the government 40 years after it was first established under an Act of Parliament. The company was listed on the Zimbabwe stock Exchange in 1999. Until 2022, ZimRe owned 49% of Zupco before selling that stake to the government.

With a controlling stake in ZimRe, Mutapa controls one of the biggest investors in the local market. ZimRe is the largest shareholder in CFI Holdings, which it holds through Stalap Holdings. CFI is a major player in the agriculture business; it owns Glenara Estate, manufacturers Victoria Foods and Agrifoods, as well as the retailer Farm & City. ZimRe also has interests in Fidelity Life, Credsure and ZimRe Properties. Among its new projects are retail developments in Mazowe and Victoria Falls.

In its 2022 annual report, ZimRe said its focus is on infrastructure. Said the company: “These activities will be undertaken through its Eagle Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to enable both local and international investor participation.”

ZimRe has regional investments, housed under Emeritus, in Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. In June last year, these regional operations contributed about half of the group’s gross premium written.

Last year, the Government rebranded the sovereign wealth fund Mutapa and gave it more power to control loss-making parastatals.  

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