Financially distressed Ndola Lime Company may have a glimmer of hope following ZCCM IH’s announcement that steps were being taken to restructure the company.
ZCCM-IH has over the past 10 years invested over K1 billion in NLC in the form of debt and equity in an effort to turnaround the loss-making operations of the Company into profitability. Until recently, the company has reported “total revenues for the financial year ended 31st March 2019 of ZMW74.3 million (2018: ZMW60.1 million) and a loss after tax of ZMW234 million (2018: ZMW 187 million loss)”, according to ZCCM IH 2019 annual report presented early this year.
In 2019, two former employees of NLC made an application to initiate Business Rescue Plan proceedings against the Company which subsequently led to the appointment of an Interim Business Rescue Administrator to run the affairs of NLC.
“Shareholders of ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc (“ZCCM-IH” or “the Company”) are referred to
the announcement dated Tuesday, 23rd November 2018, which stated that two former
employees of Ndola Lime Company Limited (“NLC”); an investee company of ZCCM-IH,
applied to the High Court to place the company under supervision pursuant to the Corporate
Insolvency Act No. 9 of 2017”, read a cautionary SENS announcement issued in Lusaka, Zambia on Wednesday, 25th March 2020.
It is through Business Rescue Administrator that “ZCCM-IH commenced the process of restructuring the operations of NLC with a view to creating a business that will take over the running of the limestone operations sustainably”.
To do this, they had to assess what the core assets of the company were and opted to ring-fence those that could be salvaged. “The restructuring process involves the transfer of the core assets of NLC to a newly formed limestone processing company, Limestone Resources Limited”. This then enables the BRA to isolate the “sick” assets so that a plausible exit from them can be determined.
Due to financial distress, working capital was largely affected hence there are liabilities that Ndola possesses. For this, ZCCM IH indicates that this will be handled in a procedural way through the guidance of the courts. “Furthermore, in order to deal with the debt burden at NLC, all employees and creditors of the company will be paid off via an agreed settlement process approved by the Courts”.
For now, investors in the company can look forward to further details emerging from the company as the pebble in the investment basket begins to find strategic closure.