First Mutual turns to SMEs to drive property income

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HARARE – First Mutual Holdings Limited (FML) is targeting increased rental income from small to medium enterprises by subdividing its industrial properties after occupancies fell significantly, the chief executive said on Friday.

Occupancies in the company’s central business district properties were very low because of company closures, Douglas Hoto told journalists.

“We have already partitioned some industrial properties into smaller warehouses to cater for SMEs.

“Actual manufacturing is low,” he said on the sidelines of the group’s rebranding of its medical aid scheme in Harare.

However, the retail properties and office parks are doing well on the back of growth in the retail sector while the latter are occupied by multinational organisations.

Zimbabwe has seen over 700 large companies close shop since 2011, costing nearly 10 000 jobs, according to a National Social Services Authority report last year.

Manufacturing has fallen to a third of capacity from 57,2% in 2010.

FML rebranded its medical aid scheme from First Mutual Medical Savings Fund to First Mutual Health as it seeks to strengthen its standing as one of the top three medical funds in Zimbabwe.

Less than one million people out of the 13 million Zimbabweans are on medical aid, giving the insurance giant scope for growth by tapping into the uninsured public.

FMH currently has over 100 000 members under its cover.

– The Source