Bata eyes Uganda, Kenya mar­kets

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Love­more Zi­gara

ZIM­BABWE’S big­gest shoe man­u­fac­turer, Bata Shoe Com­pany, is eye­ing the Uganda and Kenya mar­kets as it seeks to in­crease its foot­print in re­gional and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

Last year, Bata ex­ported into the Latin Amer­i­can mar­ket with an ini­tial ship­ment of 3 000 pairs of sa­fari (farmer) shoes to Chile.

The firm’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Mr Ahm Eh­sanuz­za­man, told Busi­ness Chronicle that the shoe man­u­fac­turer has im­proved ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion to about 90 per­cent and was look­ing at pen­e­trat­ing the re­gional mar­ket on the back of in­creased pro­duc­tion.

“We’re hope­ful go­ing for­ward we’ll ex­plore other mar­kets but what is hap­pen­ing now is that we’re ex­port­ing to many of our com­pa­nies within Africa such as Zam­bia, Botswana, Malawi and some to South Africa. And we’re also in the process of finalising some­thing in Uganda and Kenya.

“We ex­ported about 3 000 pairs of sa­fari shoes to Chile early last year and at the mo­ment we’re work­ing on the new lines for sa­fari as well as other lines that can be ex­ported to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets,” said Mr Eh­sanuz­za­man.

He said lo­cal and for­eign de­mand for the com­pany’s prod­ucts had in­creased adding that his com­pany was likely to sur­pass the two mil­lion pairs of shoes mark it has been pro­duc­ing for the past few years.

In­creased pro­duc­tion comes on the back of the rein­tro­duc­tion of the Pata-Pata and San­dak brands onto the mar­ket this year as the com­pany seeks to re­gain its mar­ket share which had mainly been eroded by an in­flux of cheap footwear mainly from the Far East.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing of the above two brands was dis­con­tin­ued in 2008 at the height of the coun­try’s eco­nomic melt­down.

The Gweru-based firm em­ploys about 1 100 peo­ple and pro­duces 2, 2 mil­lion pairs of shoes an­nu­ally. — @ lu­vzi­gara1

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