CABINET this week approved a 25 years-long joint venture between the Cold Storage Company (CSC) and a United Kingdom firm, Boulstead Beef (Pvt) Limited, but records from the British companies registry show that Boulstead is a broke shelf company with exactly £2 in its bank accounts as of 30 April, 2018.
The State media says will see the investor injecting US$130 million into the meat processing firm, yet Boulstead has not been trading since 2012.
But the so-called U.K. meat “giant” which will supposedly inject US$130 million into CSC has been exposed as a mere briefcase company with a £10,000 share capital and a cellphone for its main contact number, and has been dormant since 2012.
Boulstead also has a three-member Board of directors, two of them with the same second name plus the IT Manager who sits on the board. The directors also trade as Rhodesian Meat company.
Asked if 25 years was not too long while CSC was being operated by the private investor, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the period was sort of a standard across the world, and can stretch to 35 years, since they are funded by debt.
Prof Ncube said 25 years would allow the investor to recoup their US$130 million and then give the CSC back to Government.
This particular company has also been dormant since 2012.
Records from the UK companies registry show that the nature of Boulstead Beef is “Growing of vegetables and melons, roots and tubers, and well as mixed farming”.
According to Mthuli Ncube, Boustead Beef also plans to export products to countries like China, Botswana and Angola, said Prof Ncube.
“So the benefits are incredible for the economy. We are happy with the progress so far and as Government are supporting them to make sure that they can really resuscitate CSC to its former glory,” said Prof Ncube.
He reckons that in the first year, Boustead is expected to invest US$45 million, with US$10 million set to be channelled towards the purchase of cattle to replenish the stock.
“How on earth can it manage CSC? This is beyond belief. Nothing to look at in terms of accounts.
“Basically, it’s a briefcase business. Let’s be serious if we need to build our country,” said one Zimbabwean close to the deal.
The Boulstead Beef (Pvt) Ltd balance sheet as at 2018 had a mere £10,000 share capital, and the company had not been trading since 2012.
Mthuli Ncube also said Boustead will invest US$6 million into abattoirs’ refurbishment, canning factory, distribution infrastructure, working capital and IT systems while US$500 000 plant equipment has been ordered and paid for.
The equipment is ready for shipping and would be installed upon arrival, Ncube said, adding that the investor has started paying employee salaries from February this year and is also cleaning its facilities.
Boustead will also take over and manage CSC ranches in Maphaneni, Dubane, Umguza, Chivumbuni, Mushandike, Willsgrove and Darwendale for an initial period of 25 years.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Boustead will take over and run CSC abattoirs in Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Marondera and Kadoma for an initial period of 25 years.
This is a developing story. More to follow …