Friday, September 28, 2007

Foreign investors weigh results of new law


More than 300 foreign-owned business are still operating in Zimbabwe and the legislation raised concerns that investment might dry up.

Some feared a repetition of government seizures of white-owned farms in 2000 to redistribute among inexperienced indigenous black farmers, a controversial move which economic analysts say led to the current economic crisis.

Analysts said foreign businesses had scaled down or written off their local interests, but mining companies were still exposed.

These included the world's two largest platinum producers Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum (Implats).

"As far as we are concerned we have agreements in place and these will be taken into account when looking at the overall compliance," David Brown, chief executive of Implats, told Reuters in an e-mail reply to questions.

London-listed Old Mutual and South Africa's Standard Bank, which has a 14-branch network in Zimbabwe, said they were still studying how the bill would affect their businesses.

"We are still reviewing the legislation and the process by which it will be implemented," Standard Bank spokesman Ross Linstrom said.


It was not clear how the bill would be implemented.

"There is no clarity at all and this will put a further damper on the economy, especially with the view that it is a political gimmick," Sheunesu Juru, a fund manager at Zimnat Insurance said.


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