Delta in­vests $78 mil­lion in Chibuku Su­per plants

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Harare Bu­reau

DELTA Cor­po­ra­tion has in­vested about $78 mil­lion to­wards up­grad­ing Chibuku Su­per plants in the past two years while fur­ther in­vest­ments will de­pend largely on state of the econ­omy.

Delta, the largest brewer in­vested $28 mil­lion and $21 mil­lion in up­grad­ing Chi­tung­wiza and Fair­bridge plant in Bu­l­awayo, re­spec­tively. An ad­di­tional $14 mil­lion is be­ing in­vested in Masvingo and $14,5 mil­lion Kwekwe.

The up­grad­ing of the two plants, which will push an­nual vol­umes to 4 mil­lion hec­tolitres will be com­pleted by Oc­to­ber.

“We might be look­ing at Man­i­ca­land but that will de­pend on the state of the econ­omy,” Delta com­pany sec­re­tary Mr Alex Maka­mure said dur­ing a plant tour in Masvingo yes­ter­day.

The in­vest­ments have seen Chibuku Su­per contributing 60 per­cent of the opaque beer, over­tak­ing the tra­di­tional Chibuku Scud.

Chibuku Su­per was in­tro­duced in 2014. Then, Delta was pro­duc­ing about three mil­lion hec­tolitres, but vol­umes have halved while vol­umes for Su­per have in­creased to two mil­lion.

The five months vol­ume for the cur­rent fis­cal year are trend­ing above 10 per­cent on in­creased Su­per vol­umes. Thin dis­pos­able in­comes due to the pre­vail­ing liq­uid­ity con­straints have seen drinkers opt­ing for cheaper opaque beer than pre­mium priced lager beers.

The price for a two-litre Chubuku Su­per is $1 but can be re­duced if the agri­cul­tural value chains im­prove, par­tic­u­larly maize yields to sup­port com­pet­i­tive pro­ducer price.

Mr Maka­mure said Masvingo and Kwekwe plants were run­ning slightly be­hind the ini­tial com­mis­sion­ing tar­get due to de­layed ship­ment of some equip­ment over de­layed pay­ments.

“We couldn’t pay for some of the for­eign sup­plies on time . . . that is why the projects have de­layed,” said Mr Maka­mure.

“In fact we have a pay­ment back­log of about $25 mil­lion in­clud­ing div­i­dends.”

The com­pany is due to pay div­i­dends amount­ing to $15 mil­lion.

Delta has out­sourced most of the ser­vices from lo­cal com­pa­nies — 29 in Masvingo and 32 in Kwekwe.

The ma­jor costs in­curred were for the Chibuku Su­per PET pack­ag­ing plants and brew­ing tanks, grain han­dling equip­ment and civil works. The key el­e­ment of the plant is pack­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy from the Ger­many firms and sev­eral South African com­pa­nies.

Cur­rently, Kwekwe and Masvingo em­ploy 58 and 65 work­ers, re­spec­tively and both will have full staff com­ple­ments of 84 upon com­ple­tion of the fac­to­ries, the com­pany said.

“There will be an in­crease in the skilled grades who op­er­ate the au­to­mated lines,” said Delta.

It said fol­low­ing the clo­sure of seven brew­eries, the to­tal head­count in the sorghum busi­ness has marginally de­creased 11 per­cent to 1274 from 1 400 .

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