(Celsys) Lonrho Plc has recently acquired an 80% stake in Blueberry International Services Limited, an offshore holding company, giving the Company a strategic long term position in two established Zimbabwean businesses. Blueberry, owns Peak Mine (Pvt) Limited, which in turn owns 60% of Celsys Limited, a major publicly listed ICT company and 100% of Gardoserve (Pvt) Limited, a private industrial chemical manufacturer and distributor. This is expected to have a positive effect on the Zimbabwean businesses and gives them additional financial backing to explore any expansion opportunities.
Celsys Limited was formed in 1996 and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2003. It comprises four divisions, Celsys Print, Celsys IT, Celsys Comms and Celsys Marketing, and currently employs 140 people. Its core business is information and communications technology (ICT). Celsys Comms comprises The Comm Shop which sells and repairs cell phones and is the Sole Authorised Nokia Repair Centre in Zimbabwe, and Celsys C-phone, a vibrant community payphone project. With its superior airtime tracking software and fully automated operation, C-Phone has created viable livelihoods for rural, peri-urban and urban Zimbabweans, taking communications into Zimbabwe’s furthest flung rural areas.
Celsys Print is Zimbabwe’s largest independent printer of cheque books and other security documents for banks and financial institutions, and is a major producer of cell phone recharge cards, recognised for its excellent quality and product delivery.
Celsys IT sells and maintains ATMs and distributes Sophos IT security products across sub Saharan Africa. Sophos is the UK based world leading anti-virus, anti-spam and information technology security vendor, offering technology security for businesses in over 150 countries. Celsys IT last year acquired the operations of Hillside Technologies Southern Africa, an IT business providing software security to large businesses and banks, and with it, Sophos Master Distributor status.
Extensive due diligence has been undertaken on the transaction by Lonrho and its professional advisors in Zimbabwe. Acting for Lonrho on the acquisition were accountants Ernst & Young and the law firm Winterton’s.
Lonrho expects to take an active role in the future direction of Celsys by appointing three new Directors to the Board from within the ranks of Lonrho Plc.
Commenting on the recent developments, Geoff Goss, Chief Executive Officer of Celsys Limited said, “We have been aware for some time that an active institutional investor would add tremendous value to our Company. In Lonrho we have found a partner whose knowledge, experience and resources will empower us to steer the business through the turbulent times and position ourselves for short and long term growth in a multitude of markets.”