Home » Industry » David Whitehead Set for Partial Re-Opening

TEXTILE firm David Whitehead, is on course for partial re-opening with technicians expected to begin maintenance work at the Chegutu and Kadoma factories next week, an official said.

“Zesa Holdings has reconnected us and we are expecting plant maintenance to begin next week,” final judicial manager Mr Knowledge Hofisi said in an interview yesterday.

David Whitehead was closed down in 2010 as a result of serious financial problems that resulted in the company failing to pay for critical services such as electricity.

Then, it was under the provisional judicial management of Mr Winsley Militala who had proposed to liquidate the company after failing to secure an investor to provide working capital.

Shareholders and the majority of creditors opposed the liquidation and approved the appointment of Mr Hofisi to preside over the final judicial management of the company.

“This is the first step towards partial re-opening. Our maintenance team will start working on the spinning plant in Kadoma and weaving plant in Chegutu. This will give us a clear picture on what needs to be done going forward but we are on course,” said Mr Hofisi.

David Whitehead, formerly listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, was once the country’s largest textile company, producing at least 20 million metres of fabric per year while directly employing 3 000 workers and thousands in downstream industries.

The company, which owes workers $8 million in outstanding salaries, requires “a substantial amount” of working capital to return to full production.

Mr Hofisi has appointed a management committee chaired by Retired Justice Smith, that he will work with to revive the company.

Other members are business strategist Retired Brigadier General David Chiweza, textile specialist Mr Tararama Gutu and Mr Edwin Chimanye, also former CEO of the company.

Formerly owned by Lonrho plc before a management buyout in 2001 led by Mr Chimanye, DWTL has three plants in Chegutu, Kadoma and Gweru.

Elgate Investments is the majority shareholder with 51 percent, but the ownership is being disputed. Mr Chimanye is the second largest shareholder with 12,14 percent.

Source : The Herald