Zimbabwe stock exchange demutualises

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Patrick Chinamasa Reuters. Zimbabwean Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa.

Harare - The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has been transformed into a company from a mutual society, opening the way for a public listing on the bourse it operates, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Monday.

The ZSE has been owned and run by stock brokers since 1946, but after demutualisation the brokers hold 68 percent while the government owns the remaining shares.

Chinamasa said stockbrokers and the government would sell half their shares when the ZSE lists.

He did not give a date for the listing, but an official from the local bourse said this should happen within three years.

“I am hoping and expecting that we can excite our banking sector, our pension funds, insurance companies to take up equity in the stock exchange and I hope the work starts now to try to sell that idea to them,” Chinamasa said before signing the demutualisation agreement.

The ZSE, which has 65 listed companies, had a market capitalisation of $4.9 billion on Monday.

The main industrial index fell 7.7 percent during the first half of the year, in tandem with an economic slowdown.

Foreign investors made up more than 55 percent of activity on the bourse, according to ZSE data.

Foreign fund managers are attracted to consumer-oriented firms such as mobile phone service provider Econet Wireless, brewer Delta Corp, and food retailer Innscor, which are all seen as well managed and with an expanding consumer base. - Reuters

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