Mwana Africa’s fallout with its largest shareholder China International Mining Group Corporation (CIMGC) and Yat Hoi Ning, a Non-Executive Director and associate of CIMGC, over board seats could drag on to February 2016, the company said today.
The fight, which has spilled into the courts, also dampens the prospects of Mwana’s ongoing rehabilitation of its nickel business in Zimbabwe.
Mwana CEO Kalaa Mpinga heralded the 2012 Chinese investment into his company as a sign that “Mwana is really on the move,” but a dispute over board seats allocated to, among others, Zimbabwean non-executive directors and old mining hands – Herbert Mashanyare and Mwana veteran Ngoni Kudenga has brought the “exciting times” to an abrupt end.
Mwana’s romance with the Chinese started in 2012 when CIMGC came in with a $21 million investment to restart Mwana’s Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) which had collapsed at the height of the country’s economic meltdown.
CIMGC controls a substantial 21.4 percent stake in Mwana while Ning owns 7.6 percent giving them a combined shareholding of 29 percent.
The relationship soured last year, with CIMGC and Ning disputing the appointment of Stuart Morris, Johan Botha, Kudenga and Mashanyare as non-executive directors of the company.
CIMGC and Ning filed a petition with the High Court on December 8 2014 challenging the validity of a resolution passed at the company’s September AGM, relating to the appointment of the directors.
In a statement today, a combative Mwana Africa said it would defend its position.
“The Company’s position remains unchanged in respect of these court proceedings. Whilst it will continue to attempt to work with the Petitioners to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution to their complaints, the Company will defend its position vigorously in court if required,” the statement reads.
The company added that the initial directions were laid down for the future conduct of the petition including the setting of a trial window of 3 months from 1 November 2015 at a hearing at the Companies Court.
Meanwhile BNC, Mwana’s Zimbabwean nickel unit, traded 0.2 cents lower on the ZSE on Thursday. BNC, which opened the year at 6.5 cents closed at 5.8 cents today.- The Source