Dispute over truck inn $1m buy-out
A VICTORIA Falls businessman is at loggerheads with the municipality over ownership of a local truck stop facility.
The municipality entered into a partnership with Fusharn, a company owned by local conservationist and businessman Mr Trevor Lane to operate the facility.
Both parties are now seeking to end the marriage but are failing to agree on terms after the latter reportedly demanded $1 million buyout price.
The busy facility acts as a stop-over point for truck drivers to take a rest, refuel and unwind while also waiting for clearance to cross the border either via Victoria Falls Border Post and Kazungula Border Post into Botswana, Zambia and Zambia.
Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube reported during a council meeting recently that the partnership was on the verge of collapse.
He said the other party’s buyout price, which he could not disclose, was too high considering that the facility was not profitable.
“They want separation and we cannot force them to remain in the partnership because that is allowed in any business set-up,” Mr Dube told councillors and management.
The municipality owns 50 percent shares while Mr Lane shares the other half with other partners through his private company.
Mr Dube said Fusharn had engaged a private valuator who had overpriced the facility resulting in the council engaging Government whose report is out but not yet public.
“We needed to have a re-look into their demands and as management we decided to engage a Government valuator because their value was too high. The Government valuator came last week and we can now engage as their value is reasonable,” he said.
Mr Dube said the council had two options - either to surrender the truck stop to Mr Lane’s company or buy them out.
“We have a partnership with Mr Lane where we are supposed to do a number of businesses within the trucking area. ‘‘The council decided to go it alone and they gave us their valuation, which we felt was on the higher side,” said Mr Dube. He said the truck stop was not making profits hence the municipality could not accept the amount demanded by Mr Lane, adding that the local authority had no problem continuing with the partnership. Mr Dube could not be drawn into revealing how much Mr Lane wanted as buyout. Chronicle Business, however, learnt that Mr Lane wanted $1 million dollars, a figure given by the private valuator. Mr Lane referred questions to his company’s board of directors, saying they are the ones handling the issue. “That figure ($1 million) is not correct but I am not in a position to say anything about that now. Talk to the board, they are the ones dealing with the matter,” he said. No comment could be obtained from the board of directors. The truck stop is located near Masue River, a few kilometres from the town centre. — @ncubeleon
Mr Christopher Dube