Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
GIANT cement producer, PPC Zimbabwe, says it is reaping big business from its US$82 million mega mechanised cement processing plant in Harare, which was commissioned in 2016 when other firms in various sectors of the economy regarded the investment climate as not conducive.
The Sunway City Industrial Park in Harare, has an annual output of 700 000 tons of cement per annum.
PPC Zimbabwe financed the project to the tune of $82 million within a record time of 18 months and was boosted by resources in the form of a loan facility from PTA Bank.
PPC Zimbabwe managing director, Mr Kelibone Masiyane, told Business Chronicle on the sidelines of the Parliamentary Committee on Industry and Commerce fact-finding mission to the factory last week that the cement producer took a bold decision to invest in Zimbabwe at a time when it was “not attractive” to some.
“Not long back we commissioned our Harare plant in 2016 and it was a time when a lot of questions were asking whether people should invest in Zimbabwe but as PPC we have always believed in the future of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We had a lot of confidence especially back then when we looked forward. Right now, we are starting to reap the benefits of that investment. There is a lot more that we are doing. Right now most of our strategic thinking and ideas are at initiation stage.”
Mr Masiyane said there is still more room for investment in the country.
“There is still a lot of interest from ourselves in terms of further investing in Zimbabwe but largely it depends on market evolution.
“If the market is growing and we reach capacity then certainly we will step up and put in more investment.”
This year, between April and May, US$3,5 million was invested for massive refurbishment of the Kiln at Collen Bawn plant aimed at improving product quality and reliability of the kiln, he said.
The project centred on discharge shell replacement and installation of new segments, revamping of conveyors, kiln and auxiliary equipment.
As a market leader, Mr Masiyane said his organisation takes pride in contributing to key national infrastructure projects. This has seen PPC providing cement for the Kariba South Hydropower Station expansion project, US$1,4 billion Hwange Thermal Power Expansion project, Kunzwi Dam construction, Beitbridge road rehabilitation, Robert Mugabe International Airport rehabilitation and the Lake Gwayi-Shangani investment.
More recently, the Mbudzi roundabout interchange project in Harare is ultilising PPC products, said Mr Masiyane.
Experts have often described infrastructure projects as a panacea to Zimbabwe’s economic growth and development. Therefore, under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), the Government has committed to infrastructure development, supported by the private sector.
The NDS1 is the Government’s current five-year economic management master plan through to year 2025, which has a strong focus on building, expanding and restoring infrastructure.
The country has the capacity to produce 2,6 million tons of cement per annum with demand hovering around 1,5 to 1,6 million tons per annum. PPC and Lafarge Zimbabwe control more than 70 percent of the domestic market.
PPC has three factories in the country in Harare, Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn with a milling capacity of over 1,4 million tons of cement per annum.
“At PPC we say we have a bag for each project and this enables PPC to support these sought of national projects. We are dominant in that space and over 50 percent in supplying projects,” said Mr Masiyane.
“In July we visited the Hwange Thermal project and some units would be commissioned in November and we are excited to have played a part in providing solutions for power challenges in the country.
“Last week we were at the Mbudzi interchange in Harare with our group chief executive officer from South Africa and it’s a magnificent structure. We are the only company that has cement specifically for such a project,” he said.
Mr Masiyane believes his organisation is producing enough cement for the local market and this is complemented by competition from other domestic cement manufacturers. In its latest trading update for the five months ended August 31, 2022, PCC said the cement market in Zimbabwe continued to show robust high single digit growth as a result of both residential construction and Government-funded infrastructure projects.
Article Source: The Chronicle