Zimbabwe Crocodile-Skin Firm to Raise Funds With New Listing

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A Zimbabwean supplier of Nile crocodile skins for luxury handbags and shoes is planning to sell shares on the country’s new foreign-currency denominated stock exchange to raise capital for expansion.

Padenga Holdings Ltd., one of the world’s largest suppliers of the skins, will terminate its listing on the main exchange in Harare and re-list in Victoria Falls, according to a statement on Friday. The move will allow investors to realize a U.S. dollar value for their holdings and enhance the company’s ability to pay dividends, it said.

The group, which runs an alligator operation in Texas and also supplies crocodile meat to Europe from local farms, counts top international brands among its customers, Chief Financial Officer Oliver Kamundimu said by phone.

“Our customers prefer to remain confidential,” he said. “They are high-end luxury.”

The Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, or VFEX, was set up by Zimbabwe Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube as a means of attracting foreign investment and capital, especially in the mining sector. The bourse offers incentives such as tax breaks and assures the unfettered repatriation of funds from the country, where foreign-exchange is in short supply.

The new exchange, called VFEX, started in October and so far has a single listing. Zimbabwe’s biggest bank, CBZ Holdings Ltd., last month said it also plans to join the bourse.

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