United Refineries to fortify exports


ONE of the country’s leading personal care and agro-commodities processors, United Refineries Limited (URL) is set to fortify its exports next year as it forges ahead to boost its sales and increase revenues.

URL chief executive officer Mr Busisa Moyo told the State media that the company was looking forward to increasing its export products as well as resuming trading into South Africa next year.

“We have begun on our journey and have broken into Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. We hope to increase soap and cooking oil to those markets in 2020. We will also be resuming high protein cotton meal exports to South Africa which is important for cattle feed in the first quarter of 2020,” he said. 

The company resumed exports last year after it was forced to halt around year 2000 due to a myriad of challenges, including a downturn of the economy due to illegal economic sanctions.

Mr Moyo said the company’s range of soaps were performing well on the market while efforts to introduce mealie-meal are at an advanced stage. 

“Our bath soaps have done well and our Image Aloe in particular is in high demand. Our Unity Mealie-Meal will be available early in 2020,” he said. 

The company has over the past few years introduced a number of products into the market. Four years ago, it re-in­tro­duced its three range of soaps namely Im­age, Vogue and Fresh Health Joy whose pack­ag­ing was in­scribed in English as well as Por­tuguese specif­i­cally aimed to tar­get Por­tuguese speak­ing na­tions. Last year it launched its new mayonnaise line under Roil Mayonnaise brand and an olive oil brand, where olive varieties are grown in the Eastern Cape as well as its vegetable juice, Rungani.

Mr Moyo said the company was making concerted efforts to keep its business afloat despite the prevailing macro-economic environment in the country. 

“The company is on sound footing but the macro-economic environment remains a concern. We look forward to increased soya bean output from the farming community and improved foreign currency access on the interbank market,” he said. 

Zimbabwe requires about 300 000 tonnes of soya beans, with oil expressers alone requiring 150 000 tonnes to meet their needs.

Mr Moyo, however, said demand in the oil processing industry has slumped by 50 percent owing to a myriad of challenges associated with the country’s economy.

“Demand is 50 percent down in volume terms for the industry as a whole and we have not been spared. Our capacity has been adversely affected and is down from 30-40 percent range to 20-25 percent range for all our lines. Exports are the solution to the marketing end,” he said.