Real-estate giant pulls out of Zim
CB Richard Ellis Limited is one of the world's largest commercial real-estate services firms.
Dawn Properties is the major shareholder in CB Richard Ellis Zimbabwe. The move will force CB Richard Ellis Zimbabwe to rebrand its operations, a move that could result in a significant decrease in value for the stock that has been on the local market since 2010.
The chairperson of the Dawn Properties board, Phibion Gwatidzo, told shareholders in a December statement: "You will be aware that CB Richard Ellis (Private) Limited operates under a service mark licence agreement entered into with CB Richard Ellis Limited [CBRE], an English company. In terms of the agreement, the licence expires on December 31 2012. The licensor has determined that they no longer wish to renew the licence and consequently we are obliged to rebrand."
Gwatidzo did not say why CBRE had pulled out, but a Dawn Properties executive said the move was "unfortunate and regrettable".
Dawn Properties, which has been dogged by shareholder disputes that culminated in the resignation of former chairperson Tendai Chimuriwo last month, acquired CB Richard Ellis Zimbabwe in 2006 as it sought to boost its foreign currency generation capacity.
CB Richard Ellis Zimbabwe earned foreign currency through its 30% shareholding in CB Richard Ellis Uganda and a 20% interest in CB Richard Ellis Kenya. It wholly owns the CB Richard Ellis operation in Botswana.
It is not immediately clear how the latest development in Zimbabwe will affect the operations in those countries, but Uganda may be particularly affected by the fraud that reportedly took place last year and tarnished the international CBRE brand.
Gwatidzo indicated that the non-renewal of the service agreement had affected two other countries, which he did not name.