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from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS – THE listing of a second entity on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), nine months after its establishment, is a milestone for the bourse.

Padenga Holdings Limited, the leading crocodile skins and meat processor, listed on Friday.

It is the latest market participant after Seed Co International, which listed last October, the same month Finance and Economic Development Minister, Prof. Mthuli Ncube, launched the stock exchange.

Speaking at the listing of Padenga, he said securing a second counter within nine months of establishment is a milestone achievement for the bourse, as generally, it takes 18 months to get listings after launch.

Ncube said the establishment of the VFEX was among initiatives being implemented by the government of Zimbabwe to stabilise and grow the economy as well as to make it attractive to foreign and domestic investors.

VFEX’s core vision is to provide a gateway for companies in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa to raise capital in hard foreign currency.

Companies that invest on the VFEX platform enjoy several fiscal and non-fiscal incentives approved by the Treasury.

These include 5 percent dividend withholding tax for foreign investors, exemption from capital gains withholding and reduced exchange control restrictions.

“Government has put in place various incentives to stimulate listings, including the recent announcement on the increased export retention for issuers that list on the VFEX,” Ncube said.

“The incremental export incentive scheme that the Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, put in place seeks to boost productivity and generate sustainable growth in export revenue and ultimately encourage listing and participation of firms on VFEX.”

Ncube has said the concept of offshore financial centres is common in other regions and countries including the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg Singapore and The Netherlands.

Locally, Mauritius stands out as an offshore financial centre.

Padenga Holdings, whose board chairman, Themba Sibanda, attended the listing, started as Kariba Crocodile Farm in 1965.

Innscor Africa acquired it in 1998.

It listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2010 after its demerger from Innscor.

Padenga is now one of the world’s leading suppliers of premium quality crocodilian skins, accounting for nearly 85 percent supply of Nile crocodile skins, used in making high end luxury brands globally.

– CAJ News