Saturday, May 30, 2020

Choppies, RDC Properties could tussle in court over failed Mozambique deal

BY VICTOR BAATWENG

In 2018 local retailer ÔÇô Choppies Enterprises Limited seems to have not only failed to release its own full set of financial results but also failed to honour agreements with another local company ÔÇô RDC Properties Limited.

Sunday Standard has been informed that the two local companies ÔÇô both trading their stocks at the local bourse ÔÇô Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) have since had a fall-out due to the failure by Choppies to honour atleast two tenants-agreements.

In the first case Choppies was selected by RDC Properties to become the anchor tenant in one of the properties developed and owned by RDC Properties in neighbouring country ÔÇô Namibia.

“The selected Botswana based anchor tenant pulled out from the agreement unexpectedly late last year”, revealed RDC Properties Chief Executive Officer – Jacopo Pari.

Pari was addressing local financial analysts and journalists in the capital Gaborone on Thursday.

Pari said while Choppies has decided to pull out of the deal, demand for line shop at the Namibian property is still relatively strong from other national retailers.

While RDC Properties might not take any legal action against Choppies for its last minute Namibian withdrawal, the property outfit has said that it has identified alternative anchors from neighbouring South Africa. Those close to the matter told Sunday Standard on Thursday that Choppies rival ÔÇô Shoprite could be the replacement anchor. Shoprite which also has stores in Botswana is originally from South Africa and has operations across many African countries including Namibia.

SEEKING LEGAL RECOURSE

On the second deal ÔÇô also between Choppies and RDC Properties, the former is said to have also pulled another late minute withdrawal relating to a property in Mozambique.

The Choppies stunt follows confirmations by RDC Properties Limited in 2016 that the group is undertaking retail developments in two sites in Maputo, Mozambique – one of which will launch Choppies as the main anchor.

“The Botswana based anchor refused late December to take occupation as agreed in the Expression of Interest and we are now preparing our legal recourse”, RDC Chief Executive said on Thursday.

According to Pari, a franchise retailer has since shown keen in taking over the premises and the negotiations will be completed in the next few weeks.

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