CFI Holdings has its history intricately linked to the Farmers’ Co-operative Society that evolved adjacent to white agricultural policy in 1908 when white settler minorities shifted interests from mining to agriculture.
The society was mainly into maize marketing.
With the acquisition of the Co-operative followed its evolution into an agro-based industrial holding company with three major operational divisions of retail, poultry and specialised farming. Poultry became the flagship division and the nucleus around which other operations create synergies.
CFI got listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in 1997.
Over the years the conglomerate walked through fortunes until its operations were threatened by debts.
In 2015 it sold Langford Estates (1962) Limited to Fidelity to raise money to settle debts with five financial institutions, FBC Bank, Agribank, NMB Bank, IDBZ and Standard Chartered.
With ZIMRE Holdings acquiring an interest in the conglomerate in 2009, a sigh of relief ensued. The acquiring company is mainly into property development and management, hence fortunes for conglomerate’s property segment.
Property magnate, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, had his Messina Investments holding around 40 percent shareholding in the diversified conglomerate.
NSSA also held a significant stake but later withdrew shareholding in 2017, resulting in Zimre Holdings becoming the largest shareholder through its investment vehicle STALAP after acquiring 13 percent of the company’s shares.
Shareholding has already increased to over 40 percent. Farm & City and Vetco Animal Health are among its retail outlets.
Further misfortunes ensued in the form of suspension from the bourse, ZSE.
In 2016, it was suspended for failing to publish the audited financial results for the year 2015, which was lifted in May of the same year after it complied.
In 2018, again the company got suspended for failure to comply with listing requirements.
Current Group structure is composed of the Farming division, Retail division, Milling division and Properties division.
Within the farming division falls Glenara Estates and the poultry concern Suncrest Chickens.
The retail subsidiary is composed of Farm & City Vetco, Habbard Zimbabwe and Crest Breeders. Victoria Foods, Agrifoofs, Agrimix and of late Saturday Retreat Estate, all fall under the Milling division.
Agrifoods operates maize and flour milling plants while the other two are mainly concerned with the production of stock feeds, hence synergies with the flagship poultry business.
The property division is composed of Maitlands (45 percent owned) and Reston developers.
Fresh lease of life had recently been breathed into the conglomerate through an awaiting combined investment of US$33 million for recapitalisation of Victoria Foods and Agrifoods.
The courted investors are expected to pump into the divisions US$18
million and US$15 million respectively.
Thus the company‘s journey reflects, though, that headwinds seldom debar efforts to achieve.
Profit-After-Tax of $7,2 million in the half year to March 31 2019 was a positive gain compared to $2,1 million posted over the comparative period, a pointer the company is eyeing to wean itself off the hooks.
The suspended counter last traded on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $75 023 919 and a share price of 70,75 cents as at July 17, 2018.
Shingirai Norman Chibanguza is the acting Group Chief Executive Officer.