Meikles suspended

MEIKLES Limited, the Zimbabwean partner of Pick n Pay in the country’s TM Supermarkets, has been suspended from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) after a row erupted over its alleged “erroneous” financial accounts for the full half-year period to the end of 2014.

With diversified interests in city and resort hotels, agro-processing, supermarkets, departmental stores and recently mining, Meikles is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest conglomerates. It declared a 2c dividend per share for the interim period to the end of September 30.

“Meikles Limited was suspended from trading with effect from February 16 2015,” the ZSE said in an update on Monday afternoon.

Pick n Pay owns 49% in Zimbabwe’s TM Supermarkets, with some of the stores being branded into Pick n Pay outlets.

Although the ZSE did not specify why Meikles had been suspended, market information is that the company was suspended over its financials.

Former advisor to the central bank, Munyaradzi Kereke, told Parliament this month that Meikles had inflated the amount of money it was owed by the central bank in its latest financials.

“Meikles was today suspended from trading on the ZSE as regulators seek clarification on F2014 financials,” tweeted brokerage and research company, Efe Securities.

Kereke told parliament that “Meikles published completely erroneous information” and alleged that the company “created a stock exchange bubble  to  uplift the stock price or keep it where it is when in effect it was supposed to fall”.

Alban Chirume, the ZSE’s chief executive officer, did not immediately respond to calls to his mobile while John Moxon, chairman of Meikles Limited, could not be not reached for comment.

Kereke, a parliamentarian who sits on the Finance and Economic Planning Portfolio Committee, said Meikles was owed by the RBZ an amount of $34,1 million as at the end of December 2008.

He argued that this could not have reached the $90 million figure Meikles said it was owed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in its 2014 financials.

Trade dealings on the Zimbabwean stock market have remained subdued.

Lynton Edwards Securities said “in the short to medium term, we adopt a sceptical view towards the equities market as the country has not done much with regard to economic, institutional and political”.

However, it said there were a “few bright spots” emanating from projected resilient performance by some of the ZSE-listed big caps which include Delta Corporation, Seedco, National Foods and spirits maker, Afdis.

— Fin24

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