ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s cabinet has approved a joint venture between the Cold Storage Company (CSC) and a United Kingdom firm, Boulstead Beef (Pvt) Limited, which will see the investor inject US$130 million into the meat processing firm.

Monica Mutsvangwa, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, revealed that the agreement will also enable the meat processor to revitalise their operations.

“Cabinet was informed by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube that the CSC is to be revitalised through a Concession Agreement under Rehabilitate, Operate and Transfer (ROT) terms,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said under the agreement, Boustead Beef would raise and invest a minimum of US$130 million into CSC over five years, reports the Herald.

The investment will be used to finance capital expenditures and working capital for the business and facilitate settling of CSC’s financial debts of about US$42 million and pay rentals of US$100 000 per annum during the first five years of the concession agreement.

Under the agreement, Boustead will take over and manage CSC ranches in Maphaneni, Dubane, Umguza, Chivumbuni, Mushandike, Willsgrove and Darwendale for an initial period of 25 years.

Minister Mutsvangwa added that Boustead will also take over and run CSC abattoirs in Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Marondera and Kadoma for an initial period of 25 years.

The agreement also entitles Boustead to manage CSC’s distribution centres and residential properties in Harare, Gweru and Mutare for the same period.

According to Minister Mutsvangwa said the investment agreement will facilitate increased capacity utilisation at CSC ranches and abattoir plants and increased prospects for restoration of the enterprise’s viability and higher throughput.

She also noted that it will also allow “stemming of further deterioration of equipment which is currently lying idle, and the growth of the local livestock and beef industry.”

Prof Mthuli Ncube, the minister of Finance in the Zimbabwe cabinet, added that the joint venture will also facilitate bringing back abattoirs to full functionality, providing raw materials to industries as well as setting up out-growers schemes.

He highlighted that the 25 years investment period would allow the investor to recoup their US$130 million adding that Boustead Beef also plans to export products to countries like China, Botswana, and Angola.