By Daniel Chigundu
CHLORIDE Zimbabwe has commissioned a new US$3 million battery manufacturing machine which will see the company producing 360 000 batteries per year from the current 240 000.
Speaking at the official commissioning of the machinery, Art Corporation chairman Thomas Wushe said the new equipment is evidence of the company’s efforts of ensuring that customers get quality products.
“We are proud of this achievement, the completed project as you have witnessed is a measure of success, through it we are providing our customers’ demonstratable evidence of the efforts that we are continuously making to serve you better our customers.
“As you are aware most companies faced viability challenges arising from the use of antiquated equipment, the battery manufacturers where no exception.
“When we came to you minister we made a promise, on our part that we were going to invest in new equipment to enable us to compete with imported products, that is why we were in an incubated period, we don’t want protection forever, we want to be protected then we up our game then we are back to competing with everybody else.
“This is what we are witnessing today, what we are commissioning today, what you have seen is an investment of US$3 million in battery making equipment, that was sourced from South Korea, through a three year finance facility arranged by our major shareholder.
“The impact of this investment is an increase of production capacity by almost 50 percent. Before the investment the factory was producing 240 000 batteries per year and now we moved up to production capacity of 360 000 batteries per annum.
“We estimate that the current market requirement is at 300 000 batteries per annum, what then happens to the 60 000 batteries?
“This is where we are going to be taking into the market acting globally and acting locally.
“We will take the 60 000 into our market in Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and other parts in the region. This equipment will also result in reduced cost of production which will be passed on to the customers, better quality products and wider range including the popular Exide solar battery as we are thinking of going green.
“This technology will enable us to manufacture the maintenance free battery which the market has been eagerly waiting for and this is a first in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Industry and Trade Minister Mike Bimha said the protective measures being introduced by government will not last forever and that companies need to make the most of them now.
“Let me take the opportunity to point out that, the restrictive measures are only temporary and as such, all companies that are being protected now should brace themselves to be able to stand on their own and face competition by investing in more efficient technologies,” he said.