Tata sets aside US$50m for Zim investments

Livingstone Marufu
DIVERSIFIED India-based global enterprise Tata Group plans to invest more than US$50 million in Zimbabwe to spread its tentacles into chemicals, infrastructure, construction equipment and agri-trading over the next few years.
Initial investment will be in the healthcare sector. Tata International, whose investments in Africa are operated through Tata Africa Holdings in South Africa, gained a foothold on the local market when it acquired Blackwood Hodge Zimbabwe Private Limited in 2007.Blackwood Hodge used to distribute Iveco, Cummins and TCM forklifts. The new entity sells Tata vehicles in Zimbabwe.

A fortnight ago, Tata Africa Holdings executive director Mr Sanjay Pandya and chief finance officer Mr Behram Sawabala visited the group’s Zimbabwe operations.

Tata is bullish about the country’s economic prospects.
Last week, Blackwood Hodge Zimbabwe general manager Mr Elliot Shoniwa told The Sunday Mail Business that the company was mobilising resources to invest in selected growth areas. Although he could not disclose the amount the company was targeting to raise, it is understood that the more than US$50 million is considered ideal for the project.

“Since we came to Zimbabwe, we have always been into the automotive business as a distributor but we are now moving into other exciting areas in line with our overall expansion strategy.

“Some of these projects will be implemented before the end of this year . . . Tata is one of the few, if not the only, company that significantly invested in Zimbabwe in the year 2008 when everyone else was leaving the country. Tata saw a long-term opportunity and bought the current company premises in Harare,” said Mr Shoniwa. Tata Africa Holdings chief finance officer Mr Sawambala said: “We would be pleased if the economic environment facilitated more growth and development and we are confident that the future will provide us with that opportunity.

“We have experienced the rest of Africa in a similar situation but we are here for long term. We are not here for fast money so we are patient.”

Tata Group, which acquired luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, has a presence in more than 80 countries.

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