Courtney Matende, Midlands Reporter
PLASTIC fittings manufacturer, Proplastics Limited, has invested $9 million in upgrading its operations in the past four years as it targets the local and regional markets.
Addressing delegates at the official commissioning of the company’s Gweru branch, the Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Larry Mavima, said the retooling of the company has created new performance efficiencies that will directly benefit the customer. He said the opening of the new Gweru branch was going to create employment for locals.
“The opening of this branch in Gweru is a welcome development for us and we commend you for growing your tentacles. I am told you have invested over $9 million in the past four years in upgrading operations and we commend the company for the constant improvement, which is resulting in the company becoming a leading provider of plastic fittings. Your entry into the foreign market is commendable as it is good for the country to earn foreign currency,” said the minister.
Proplastics chief executive officer, Mr Kudakwashe Chigiya, said his company’s turnover in terms of exports was sitting just slightly under five percent with total turnover for the business at about $25 million.
“We are world class manufacturer of pipes and fittings. We have two manufacturing facilities located in Harare, one in Bulawayo and the new one that we are opening now in Gweru. The pipes are for various applications in irrigation, water and sewer reticulation, mining, telecommunications and building construction,” he said.
“We have installed capacity of about 12 000 metric tonnes output per annum and at the moment we are running at about 6 000 metric tonnes per annum because demand is fairly subdued. This is because of unavailability of mainly capital or disposable cash for either individual corporate or industries to partake in projects,” he said.
Mr Chigiya said his company’s strategic vision was continued expansion to tap into the local and regional markets.
“Going into the future we don’t look at ourselves as just Zimbabwean manufactures. We want to be competitive regionally, we also want to export to countries such as South Africa. At the moment we are only exporting into Zambia and DRC,” he said.
“Over the past years, our Midlands market was being serviced by the Bulawayo branch but we realised that there was huge potential in the region as evidenced by increasing sales volumes. Therefore, we then decided to set up here for the convenience of our ever-growing customers.”