By Varaidzo Zhakata
GIANT cement producer, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) Zimbabwe has launched a new product range called ‘Surerange’, a development that will go a long way in tackling the cheap, and substandard cement imports, which have flooded the local market.
Addressing delegates who attended the product range’s launch, PPC Zimbabwe managing director, Mr. Kelibone Masiyane highlighted that Surerange consists of six outstanding products that are: Surewall, Surebuild, Surecem, Surecast, Sureroad, and Suretech.
The products are part of the firm’s threefold strategy that is aimed at caring for customers and the environment, while at the same time, aiming to be the leading technology, in the cement industry.
Zimbabwe’s local cement industry has implored government to adopt tariff measures that safeguard the industry from imports that threaten the viability of local producers, given the significant role that the cement sector plays.
Zimbabwe attracts imported cement, due to high prices of its locally produced product, which has seen other countries taking advantage of the price discrepancy to export their excess to the country.
This comes hard on the heels of the firms’ prediction of an 80% decline in sales volumes, on its Zimbabwe subsidiary, for the month of April 2020, due to the effects of the COVID-19 imposed lockdown restrictions.
At the same time, overall sales volumes in South Africa for April are forecasted to be around 95% lower, compared to April 2019, due to the stringent lockdown measures imposed by the South African government.
The firm also highlighted that operations resumed in Rwanda and Zimbabwe during the second half of April, while South Africa also started operating in line with the risk-based regulation put forward to contain the spread of COVID- 19.
“CIMERWA and PPC Zimbabwe have partially resumed operations in Rwanda and Zimbabwe in the second half of April. Cement sales volumes in these countries are expected to be around 15% to 20% of volumes sold in April 2019,” said PPC.
PPC has set up various cost reduction and cash preservation measures to guard against liquidity, through and post the lockdown period. The committed facilities show sufficient headroom in South Africa under various economic scenarios.
“The company is also continuously engaging with international funders to ensure sufficient liquidity in its international operations. The refinancing and restructuring project announced in October 2019 is continuing and an update of this project will be given at the announcement of the company’s annual results,” it said.
PPC also has units in Botswana and Ethiopia.
By Varaidzo Zhakata