PPC Zimbabwe engages authorities over incessant electricity outages

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By Alois Vinga

SOUTH Africa headquartered cement producer, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) has engaged authorities over the ongoing electricity outages which may choke the unit’s productive output significantly this year.

The developments come at a time when Zimbabwe is currently experiencing power outages, running up to 20 hours a day in some areas.

The cement producer has however warned that if not curbed expeditiously, the situation will likely erode the potential deposited in the economy.

“Notwithstanding market conditions in Zimbabwe remaining positive due to continued infrastructure investments, sales volumes in H2 FY23 have been muted due to significant power interruptions.

“PPC Zimbabwe has engaged the authorities to reduce the impact of the lack of electricity on critical industrial sectors such as cement manufacturing,” said the cement producer.

In December 2022, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) announced that five of Hwange Thermal Power Station’s six units were up, with additional power now being imported from neighbouring countries, to end weeks of prolonged load shedding schedules.

The authorities also informed the nation that the commissioning of a 300Mw unit Number Seven (7) at Hwange Power Station was underway amid assurances that it should be available in November 2022 with the last 300 Mw units being commissioned during the first quarter of 2023.

However, nothing much has improved despite the assurances amid reports that the power supply situation is even worsening.

The nation awaits to see whether ZESA Holdings latest promise made this week that it will start synchronizing into the national grid the first of two generators being installed by a Chinese firm at Hwange Thermal Power Station Monday, will see the light of the day.

Meanwhile, PPC Zimbabwe said as at September 30 2022, the group reported a decline in sales volumes of 13% for the first six months of FY23 due to the impact of a longer than usual kiln stoppage to implement operational and environmental performance improvements with the expectation that sales volumes would recover in H2 of FY23.

For the full year, PPC Zimbabwe therefore expects sales volumes to decline by 14% to 18% compared to FY22.

“The outlook for PPC Zimbabwe remains positive. For FY23, PPC received USD8.8 million in dividends from PPC Zimbabwe (USD6.2 million in FY22). The bi-annual dividend declarations are expected to continue and grow over time,” added PPC.