SAINT-Gobain Construction Products Zimbabwe yesterday launched a US$1 million plant in the capital set to produce 15 000 tonnes of tile adhesive per annum while operating entirely on solar power.

The company is part of a €42-billion-turnover French multinational that develops, manufactures and distributes materials and building solutions for construction, transportation, infrastructure and industrial applications.

“Let me say, as the Saint-Gobain family, we are very excited to launch the weber plant which, at its maximum capacity, will be producing 15 000 tonnes of tile adhesive per year. As a company, we pride ourselves in providing high quality solutions that deliver comfort and convenience in homes and industry at large,” the company manager David Zimano said yesterday.

Zimano highlighted that the company envisages to export within the region so as to generate the much-needed forex.

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“We are particularly proud that the weber plant is environmentally friendly as it is solar powered. This plant is 100% off grid and is able to fully function 365 days a year on solar energy. As we thrust towards sustainable industrial production and taking heed to government’s call to preserve the much-needed foreign currency, we look forward to exporting to Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, which are our traditional markets,” he said.

The company is a leader in the manufacture of lightweight building materials and manufactures energy-conserving rhino board for all lining applications. The Zimbabwean operations were founded in 1959 as Gypsum Industries. The business changed its name to BPB Gypsum in 2003, then to Saint-Gobain Construction Products Zimbabwe in 2018.

He said the company has taken an active role in the community through participating in various corporate social responsibility projects.

“We also have trained a number of people mainly our young people from the built environment departments in technical colleges namely Belvedere Teachers College, Msasa Vocational and Kushinga Phikhelela to mention, but a few in the correct application of Saint-Gobain materials. These skills have empowered a lot of youths and most of them are running self-sustainable projects as well as employing other people,” he said.

Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Mavis Sibanda applauded the company for using local raw materials which is in line with government policy.

“I am informed that Saint-Gobain acquires almost three quarters of its raw materials locally which resonates well with the implementation of the Zimbabwe national industrial development policy and local content

Utilisation of local resources will grow our value chains and presents growth opportunities which government hopes companies such as Gobain will take advantage of,” she said