Home » Business » PPC Secures U.S.$18 Million for New Plant

PPC Zimbabwe has secured about $18 million for the construction of a new cement plant in Harare. The cement company says construction of the new plant is the “main priority” at the moment.”Preliminary work at the site is underway and fully-fledged construction is scheduled for August,” PPC managing director Mr Njombo Lekula said in an interview with The Herald Business on the sidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe business conference in Victoria Falls last week.

The conference was running under the theme “Attracting Foreign Direct Investment for Economic Growth”.

Road access network to the Harare plant has already been completed and a temporary office already set up at the site. Public hearings for the Environment Impact Assessment on Harare plant have been concluded providing the green light for the project to commence.

Mr Lekula said a feasibility study on the construction of a clinker plant and cement grinding mill in Mashonaland Central this year is almost complete.

“We are conducting a feasibility study for the clinker plant in Mashonaland Central but the setting of a plant in Harare is our main priority at the moment.

He said the construction of another clinker plant in Mashonaland Central will go in tandem with the limestone geological studies currently being carried out.

Cement is produced in two phases with the first being the production of clinker from limestone. The second phase involves crushing of the clinker into cement powder

PPC, the country’s largest cement company with an annual capacity of 1,2 million tonnes intends to double its capacity by building a clinker plant in Mt Darwin and cement crushing mills in Harare and Tete .

Mr Lekula said the company is also looking at investing more in new technology to meet global demands as well as increase capacity.

PPC, however, is worried by the performance of its export business.

“Currently our plants in Zimbabwe are running at about 70 percent capacity utilisation and for us to get to decent levels of capacity, we have to find other markets. We export to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and we continuously look for opportunities in the region,” said Mr Lekula.

PPC’s export business contributes about 20 percent to the company’s total turnover but the figure fluctuates.

“Our export market margins are impacted by logistics. Sometimes the exports are not very stable hence the need to look at both the local and export markets to ensure sustainability,” he said.

Mr Lekula however, emphasised that local companies needs to retool in order to be competitive on the global market and enhance their customer values.

PPC recently commissioned phase one of mordenising its packaging and dispatch facility which includes the installation of two palletiser units and a shrink-wrap machine.

Mr Lekula said the new facility is served by the new factory warehouse and a dispatch office and weigh-bridges.

He said companies in the manufacturing sector should retool to make a contribution to economic growth and development.

“In February we started dispatching our bagged product in three options the U (unitised), UP Unitised on a pallet and UPC which is a plastic covered option,” said Mr Lekula.

“We are pleased to have seen a marked improvement in the queuing and customer service.” PPC is expecting a g demand for cement in the retail sector and the company has also received several enquiries for infrastructure projects that are underway in the country.

Source : The Herald

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