Zimbabwe-based conglomerate Innscor Africa Limited has relocated its headquarters to Mauritius as part of a calculated move to enhance access to cheaper finance to support its domestic and foreign expansion programme.
The company’s move to Mauritius is part of a larger exodus as Zimbabwean firms have been finding it increasingly difficult to raise offshore capital due to the perceived risk profile attached to the country because of its high debt obligations.
Innscor follows in the footsteps of several other companies, foreign and local, invested in Zimbabwe that have targeted Mauritius, as a well-reputed gateway for accessing cheaper capital and lines of credit.
Some prominent names are ADC Mauritius (ABC Holdings), AfrAsia (AfrAsia Zim), Essar Africa (Zisco) and businessman Tawanda Nyambirai’s Lifestyle Holdings, among others.
Innscor – which operates in various industries ranging from appliances, supermarkets, food retail, distribution agencies, tourism, farming, milling and meat processing – already has a footprint in Mauritius through Innscor International Limited (IIL).
Incidentally, the Mauritius entity was incorporated in 1998, the same year that Innscor Africa listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
While it was not clear how much the firm would raise, Innscor is expected to continue expanding its fast foods business and recapitalise other operations in and outside Zimbabwe.
Recapitalisation of its business in Zimbabwe will include its Spar Supermarket chain, crocodile business, furniture and appliances operations. There is also a strong thrust toward supporting operations in countries across the entire region.
As much as 20 percent of Innscor Africa’s revenues are generated outside Zimbabwe in countries such as Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Malawi, DRC, Nigeria, Lesotho and Swaziland, according to a strategy document sighted by the local press. The revenues are generated through fast foods, distribution and supermarkets.
The document went on to state that Innscor intends to materially increase the footprint of its operations outside Zimbabwe in the few years.
It added that ‘the financial springboard’ available through IIL in Mauritius will help facilitate this expansion.
The company netted more than USD656 million (19.6 billion MUR) in revenues in 2013 with operating profits in excess of USD64.7 million (1.9 billion MUR) and has over 10,000 employees.
The retail giant, which runs a boutique of fast food outlets across the country, operates over 120 counters across five brands including Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn and Baker’s Inn.
The company’s move to Mauritius is part of a larger exodus as Zimbabwean firms have been finding it increasingly difficult to raise offshore capital (Image: Company Website)