Zupco payment plan to settle $800 000 debt

THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has structured a payment plan to clear a debt close to $800 000 it owes Parkhorse Service, following the attachment of property belonging to the bus company by the Deputy Sheriff last week.

REPORT BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

The Sheriff of the High Court attached property worth thousands of dollars over a debt of more than $763 000, forcing Zupco into agreeing to pay off the debt it owed Parkhorse Services — the official distributor of Scania buses in Zimbabwe.

Sources within the bus company said the debt is to be cleared in instalments, although they could not give full details of the terms, saying the matter was being handled at head office in Harare.

The debt emanated from a deal in which Zupco was supplied 50 Scania buses from Parkhorse Services, but allegedly failed to pay in full. Property including 20 buses and several light weight vehicles where attached by the Sheriff and ferried to the auction floors last Friday.

The attachment of property is coming when Zupco indicated this week that it would launch a new cargo division during the last quarter of this year to support its traditional passenger business.

Efforts to get a comment from Zupco were not successful, as management kept saying they would respond to queries, but did not do so over two days.

According to management, the new cargo division will be a strategic business unit within Zupco and is aimed at diversifying operations.

The company said the new development was part of its three-year strategic programme, which started in 2011 and is targeting to recapitalise the ailing company at a rate of 100 buses every year.

The company, however, has not stated how it will finance the project.

Zupco presently has a running fleet of 204 busses and recently concluded a deal for the purchase of an additional 100 buses, which include luxury coaches.

Zupco early this month also announced plans to reintroduce buses on its long abandoned urban routes.

The bus company has over the years been saddled with a huge debt and is failing to recapitalise due to on-going disputes with employees over unpaid salaries.

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