Dis­pute over truck inn $1m buy-out

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Vic­to­ria Falls Re­porter

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

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