CEMENT producer PPC Zimbabwe has, in the last five years, spent over US$140 million in plant refurbishments and it aims to invest some of its dividends in government bonds to increase local procurement.

The company’s general manager for sales and marketing Nkosana Mapuma told a business meeting in Bulawayo recently that the cement maker was committed to the country’s economic development.

“We have an asset base which is quite huge. In terms of refurbishment, it’s actually world-class because we have spent, in the last five years alone, over US$140 million refurbishing our plants and also building a brand new factory in Harare,” Mapuma said.

“We believe that we are still the market leader in Zimbabwe with a highest capacity to produce over 1,4 million tonnes of cement per annum . . . We have a product portfolio which is quite huge, currently with six products and very soon we will be launching a seventh product which I am sure the engineering community is going to benefit a lot from,” he said.

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“We are aiming also to invest some of our dividends in government bonds so that at least we can lobby them in there and increase local procurement, and also increase our exports.”

Mapuma said they had managed to secure sources of clinker from outside Zimbabwe, to add to their capacity.

PPC operates three plants in the country, including the new $82 million plant in Harare, which was commissioned in 2016 and produces 700 000 tonnes of cement per annum.

The other two plants are in Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn near Gwanda, with a combined annual production of 700 000 tonnes, bringing the total annual production of the company to 1,4 million tonnes of cement per year.

“We have been exporting into Malawi, a little bit into Mozambique and also Zambia and Botswana. Currently, 60% of our exports in the last financial year went to Malawi from the factories in Bulawayo and Harare.”

“Seventy percent of our inputs now are being sourced locally, so we are really moving towards achieving imports substitution and also trying to create jobs locally,” he said.