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WestProp turns to investor education to raise US$30m

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WestProp turns to investor education to raise US$30m


WEST Properties Holdings (WestPro) chairperson, Michael Louis says the board will launch a literacy training programme aimed at potential investors after the company’s preferred share offering only managed to raise 11% of the targeted US$30 million.

WestProp, which listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) on Friday, raised US$3,3 million on the foreign currency-denominated bourse out of the targeted US$30 million for a second listing which it has since shelved.

During the Friday listing ceremony in Harare, Louis said the board would embark on a literacy training programme to better prepare future investors.

“Today (Friday) is about listing a grand vision and economic framework in line with the national development strategy to achieve and empower a significant upper-middle-income society by 2030 and to chart a new transformative and inclusive development agenda, with no one left behind,” Louis said.

“This is going to take hard work as we have learnt from the disappointing original take up of the subscriptions and hence the board will initiate and is committed to embark on a literacy training programme to train and equip possible investors in the future, especially our youth.

“We have learnt that many of the ordinary people who are our target market are not educated on how to invest. Like you, we believe in the offering in the prospectus and projects presented and will be announcing in the coming months many innovative, creative and strategic development relationships that are already far advanced in our discussions.”

This, according to Louis, will energise and stir up the interest of not only “our people, corporate Zimbabwe, pension funds, diaspora but definitely other major African investment funds”.

WestProp chief executive officer Ken Sharpe said the company was now valued at US$300 million after listing 30 million ordinary shares on VFEX.

“If we look at the listing today, we have listed ordinary shares, that is 30 million ordinary shares that we valued at US$10 each which represents a value of US$300 million.

“So, what we are saying is as a private company we have now become a listed public company valued at US$300 million and those shares are available for buying and selling at the VFEX,” he said.

“The second listing that we intended to do was the preferred shares listing in which we were raising an additional US$30 million and we had an undersubscription of US$3,3 million, so we agreed with the bourse not to proceed with that listing until such time that the market was ready to take up the full offering.”

Sharpe said the projects that were in the prospectus were partly supposed to be funded by the US$30 million which the company failed to raise.

“So, of the seven projects, I would say three are self-funded which means we will continue regardless of the listing and the other bigger projects like the Mall of Zimbabwe and Warren Hills, we will look at when we come back to the market with (another) offering,” he added.

VFEX board chairperson Carolina Sandura said the listing of WestPro was a remarkable achievement for the bourse and the capital markets at large.

So far, more than 10 companies have listed on the bourse with the majority of them migrating from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

These include Padenga Holdings, Bindura Nickel Corporation, National Foods Limited, Simbisa Brands, Africa Sun, Axia Corporation, Caledonia Mining Corporation, Innscor Africa, National Foods Holdings, Nedbank Group Limited Zimbabwe Depository Receipts and Seed Co International.

WestProp has 57 million bricks that are committed to the projects on the ground and has sold almost a thousand properties to date.

The Millennium Heights project is 30% complete, according to Sharpe.

Pomona City is in phase two with the company having completed 140 stands last year and to date they have sold more than 300 of the 550 stands that are available.

Warren Hills is set to be released towards the end of the year. Newsday

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