Lafarge to ramp-up production

Lafarge to ramp-up production
Published: 04 June 2014
Production at listed cement manufacturer, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe is expected to increase to 500 000 tonnes per annum once current plant upgrade is complete, an official has said.

Lafarge is currently operating at about 70 percent capacity utilisation producing 370 000 tonnes per annum.

In an interview Lafarge Cement chief executive Mrs Amal Tantawi said a lot is being done to ensure that the company remains one of the leading cement manufacturer in the country.

"Capital to the tune of $15 million has been earmarked eradicate bottlenecks and to boost volumes.

"The investment is part of the company's short-term projects to increase volumes of cement despite the prevailing tight liquidity challenges," said Mrs Tantawi.

Lafarge has spent about $5 million on plant refurbishments over the past five years and focus is now on improving capacity of the existing plant.

In the short-term the company is focusing on refurbishing the existing plant as there is a lot of potential to produce more volumes to satisfy the local and the export market.

Lafarge is also in the process of conducting feasibility studies to establish a new manufacturing plant to complement the existing one.

The setting of a new plant is part of the company's future plans and this will involve importation of state of the art technology to meet rising demand for cement on the local and export markets.

"This year and the next we will be focusing on projects that will increase our capacity. Feasibility studies are being conducted on the long-term projects and we hope this will see the business growing in the future," said Mrs Tantawi.

She added that Lafarge was still keen on exporting despite a decline in export volumes last year.

The company has been focusing on the local market since last year due to increased demand.

Mrs Tantawi said cement demand remains high but the biggest challenge at the present moment is the liquidity challenge in the economy.

However, Lafarge is rolling out different incentives to encourage its customers to meet cash payments.

"The demand has been on the softer side but we are aware of a number of construction projects that are on hold due to funding issues and we believe once things start happening, demand would actually go up," she said.

Meanwhile, Lafarge yesterday introduced a new cement product called SupaSet.

Speaking at the launch of the new product Lafarge Cement Chairman Mr Johnathan Shoniwa said the launch has set in motion a process of profound transformation in preparation of the anticipated increase in the construction projects in the coming years.

He said Innovation is the key driver at Lafarge and having innovative building systems contributes to the building of better cities that are perfect and durable.

Speaking at the same event Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha commended the level of innovation that Lafarge has shown over the last few years.

The Minister said such innovation is in line with the statutes of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
- The Herald


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