Listed Zimbabwean firms spruce up as demand soars

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HARARE – Several Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed companies are investing in retooling machinery and equipment to increase production capacities in line with growing demand in the economy.

The firms’ initiatives are in line with the country’s re-industrialisation thrust which seeks to facilitate increased production and modernisation as a key deliverable of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

The re-industrialisation agenda also aims to restore the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP of Zimbabwe to about 30 percent and its contribution to exports to as much as 50 percent. 

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) weekly foreign exchange auction, an average of US$8 million is allotted towards machinery and equipment.

Brick manufacturing company Willdale  in an update said it would invest US$1 million to improve production capacities of its plants and machinery this year in line with increased demand largely driven by housing projects countrywide.

“The positive sentiments around the economic growth prospects in Zimbabwe, a stable exchange rate and declining inflation give us confidence for the future.

“The growing appetite for modern housing and Government’s drive to reduce the housing backlog under the National Development Strategy 1 will drive demand for bricks and related materials in the year ahead,” chairman Mr Washington Chidziwo said in a statement accompanying the group’s financial results for the year ended September 30, 2021.

The group’s volumes for the year grew by 32 percent compared to prior year with housing development contributing the most to sales with cluster and individual housing topping the list of projects.

Mr Chidziwo said the budgeted capital expenditure this year will be channelled towards refurbishing and renewing parts of fixed and mobile plant to enhance efficiency and quality.

Spirits and wines maker African Distillers in a recent update said it commissioned a US$1 million cider plant for its Hunters Dry and Hunters Gold brands to take advantage of locally sourced inputs.

The company said demand has been constantly increasing as consumer spending is being improved by increased activity in the key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure projects.

Volumes for the quarter to December 31, 2021 grew 32 percent and 48 percent for the nine months compared to the same period prior year. 

Wine volumes grew by 67 percent mainly driven by 4th Street due to improved availability and affordability following the local production project which was commissioned in the quarter under review.

Spirits and Ready to drink (RTD) volumes grew 17 percent and 41 percent respectively. The company said it would continue to benefit from the growth in key sectors of the economy while management would continue to focus on strategies that grow market share.

Hotelier African Sun  was buoyant after emerging stronger and more resilient on the back of on-going hotel refurbishments currently under way, positioning the group to deliver better value to customers in the years ahead.

The fall in Covid-19 cases across the world over the past weeks and specifically a partial return to normalcy in key source markets such as the United Kingdom and the United States signal a new dawn in the fight against the virus which will see the gradual normalisation of travel.

The company noted that in the short-term, domestic travel would continue to drive recovery. 

In the real estate segment, demand for residential stands at the firm’s Marlborough Sunset Views remains strong and the group anticipates sales to improve over the remainder of the year and unlock the much-needed liquidity for the business.

Dairibord Holdings said demand was expected to remain firm in 2022 and the business is geared to take full advantage through increased production capacity and forward planning for inputs into production.

“The company invested about US$1,5 million in a recently commissioned ammonia plant that will see growth in ice-cream production, improving product portfolio mix and margin performance going forward.

“The company also invested US$2m in additional UHT filling and packing equipment that will double capacity for cartonised beverages towards the end of the 4th quarter of 2021,” the company revealed.

Batteries manufacturer Chloride Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of ART Corporation says the strategic investments to increase capacity and expand the distribution network in the batteries business were vindicated as the automotive battery demand remained strong. 

As a result, the performance was ahead of recovery expectations, as volumes increased by 39 percent despite supply chain disruptions. – Herald