History of the sugar refinery company starafrica corporation can best be told hand-in-glove with the history of sugar production in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.
Sugar production in Zimbabwe is in turn reminiscent of British capitalist fortunes through sugar trade’s sickening associates of slavery and labour exploitation during the colonial era.
Southern Africa with such plantations where labour exploitation by colonialists ruled the roost, provided a principal source for the sugar empire Tate and Lyle. For this reason, Tate and Lyle’s allegedly made great fortunes out of what some quarters perceive to be “sugar in the blood.”
Interestingly, however, credit still remains an asset for enslaved locals who worked on the Carribean plantations. Some contributed immensely as conscripted workers under the prazo system in Mozambique, dominated by John Hornung’s Sena Sugar Estates.
Henry Tate and Sons, and Abram Lyle and Sons merged in 1921 to form Tate and Lyle before establishing links with the Directors of the South African sugar company, J.L Hullets and Sons.
In 1935, Rhodesia Sugar refinery (RSR) was founded in partnership with Sena Sugar Estates. Until then, sugar was received from Mozambique via the Beira and Lourenco Marques railways
George Hornung, (John Hornung’s son) sought to expand the refinery and with limited capital he engaged Vernon Tate, (Henry Tate’s son) after which Tate and Lyle acquired 50 percent stake.
In 1947, RSR got listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), which development led to the subsequent launch of Harare Refinery in 1956.
In 1974 the company acquired a wholesale division and this ignited interest in the diversification route. Accordingly, Country Choice Foods was established in Bulawayo in 1978 to focus on sugar specialty products like icing sugar, caster sugar, syrups and others.
After 1980 Rhodesia Sugar Refinery (RSR) changed name to Zimbabwe Sugar Refinery to show a transition into the independence era.
More acquisitions and formations ensued in accelerando, in tandem with the new diversification route; Polyfilm Plastics 1979, Arthur Garden Engineering (1991), Bluestar Transport (1992, later disposed of in 2006) Sugar Industries, Botswana (1994), Highfield bag (1995), Marathon Tyres (1996), Advance Wholesalers (2003), ZSR Transport, South Africa (2004), and West Beverages (2006).
ZSR became overtly local in 2002 when Tate and Lyle plc withdrew through a Management Buyout (MBO).
Re-branding formed part of the growth strategy. The Wholesale division was re-branded to Red-Star in 1986 before its separate listing as Red Star Holdings Limited on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2006. 2006 was also the crucial turning point as ZSR Corporation re-branded to the current starafrica corporation Limited (SACL.zw).
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company, (ZAMCO) is the Group’s major shareholder with a 58 percent controlling stake. Shareholders had in 2016 approved the conversion of debt to equity as part of restructuring the company’s balance sheet. ZAMCO then assumed the $32 million debt owed to different companies in 2018.
The ZSE counter’s market capitalisation stood at $84 871 513 with a share price of $1,80 as at 16 July 2019. Regis Mutyiri is currently the Group Chief Executive Officer.