PPC com­mis­sions $85 mil­lion plant

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

CE­MENT man­u­fac­turer PPC Zim­babwe on Fri­day com­mis­sioned its $85 mil­lion plant in Msasa, Harare, dou­bling its an­nual pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity to 1,4 mil­lion tonnes. The gi­ant firm has two other plants in Bu­l­awayo and Colleen Bawn near Gwanda with com­bined an­nual ca­pac­ity of 700 000 tonnes.

The com­pany ex­pects the new 700 000 tonne per an­num plant to pro­vide greater scope to ex­port into re­gional mar­kets in­clud­ing Zam­bia and Mozam­bique.

PPC chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Darryl Cas­tle said the in­vest­ment was a show of con­fi­dence in Zim­babwe’s econ­omy, de­spite sev­eral chal­lenges cur­rently be­ing faced.

“The Msasa mill is part of a big­ger plan to de­velop a fully in­te­grated plant in Harare in time, as the econ­omy and lo­cal de­mand grows,” he said.

Mr Cas­tle said con­tin­ued Gov­ern­ment sup­port of the lo­cal ce­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try would help it grow fur­ther.

“We thank the Zim­babwe Gov­ern­ment for pro­tect­ing the ce­ment mar­ket from im­ports be­ing dumped in the Zim­bab­wean mar­ket. Cheap im­ports have the po­ten­tial to cause sig­nif­i­cant in­jury to the lo­cal ce­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, in­clud­ing job losses, un­der­util­i­sa­tion of pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and re­duced re­turn on as­sets em­ployed.”

PPC man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Mr Keli­bone Masiyane said the new in­vest­ment was strate­gic.

“The mar­ket might be depressed at the mo­ment but this in­vest­ment is strate­gic. We un­der­stand that cur­rently the econ­omy is in tur­moil but we have a long range view for Zim­babwe, we have con­fi­dence that it will take a turn,” he said.

PPC also has op­er­a­tions in South Africa, Botswana and Rwanda. Other com­pa­nies in the ce­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try in Zim­babwe are La­farge and Sino-Zim.

Last year, Nige­rian bil­lion­aire, Aliko Dan­gote an­nounced plans to set up a $400 mil­lion ce­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Zim­babwe with ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 1,5 mil­lion tonnes per year. With small be­gin­nings in 1913 as Zim­babwe’s first ce­ment com­pany, east of Bu­l­awayo, PPC Zim­babwe started un­der the name of Pre­mier Port­land Ce­ment (Pvt) Ltd. It packed in jute bags and its prod­ucts ini­tially went on sale to the pub­lic in Septem­ber 1914 with ex­ports to then North­ern Rhode­sia (Zam­bia) and the Bel­gian Congo be­gin­ning in 1916.The fac­tory at Colleen Bawn was es­tab­lished in 1946. — New Ziana/Busi­ness Re­porter

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