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S. Africa's Pick 'N Pay Writes Off Zimbabwe Investment, Keeps Stake

South African-based retailer Pick ‘N Pay, which holds a 25% stake in Zimbabwe's Thomas Meikles or TM supermarket chain, will keep that shareholding despite having written off 23 million rand (US$$338,000) in connection with the investment.

Pick ‘N Pay Deputy Chairman David Robins said in an interview Thursday that his company wrote off its R23 million earnings in TM in its last fiscal year as an accounting precaution because Pick 'N Pay has not been to book earnings from TM. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has barred repatriation of dividends from TM, whose majority owner is Meikles Africa Limited, operator of the top-end Meikles Hotel.

But Robins told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Pick ‘N Pay valued its stake in the stores, and would not consider unloading it.

Economist Erich Bloch of Bulawayo said the South African company's decision to write off - in effect - its investment in TM made sense from an accounting standpoint.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...