Cement producer says expansion partly funded by the RBZ auction

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By Alois Vinga

LAFARGE Cement Zimbabwe (LACZ) says it secured part of its funding from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) foreign exchange auction to support an expansion drive amid indications that the firm will soon outstrip local market demand.

The cement manufacturer is expecting to unveil its Vertical Cement Mill (VCM) by the end of June 2022 which will double cement milling capacity.

The 2019 commenced project cost was pegged at US$15 million also covering the new mill among other priorities which included a $2,8 million automated dry-mortar facility and alternative energy infrastructure  also included in the venture.

Briefing shareholders at an Annual General Meeting held this week, the company  admitted that the company had received part of its foreign currency requirements from the auction market but stressed that due to the inadequacy of the resources, the company sourced for the US$ from other sources.

LACZ chief executive officer, Geoffrey Ndugwa  also told shareholders that the new plant will outstrip local market demand.

“Because of our significant capacity which is first of all oversized for the domestic market, growing demand in the region for this type of products we are looking at especially markets like Zambia and Malawi,” said Ndugwa.

“We just made our first exports to Malawi a few weeks ago, so we’re feeling pretty good about the trend.”

Speaking on the sales mix, Ndugwa said the company’s sales were significantly in local currency while foreign currency sales constituted about 10-15% attributed to constraints and the limitations experienced in engaging authorities in terms of meeting all the pricing requirements of the various statutory instruments.