PPC plans $200m Zim plant

HARARE - Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC)’ s Zimbabwe unit Portland Holdings Limited (Portland) is considering investing close to $200 million in the construction of a new plant in the north eastern region, following its compliance with the country’s indigenisation law.

The investment would see the cement manufacturer’s current production capacity increase from 800 000 tonnes to one million tonnes in the next two years.

“We still got a lot of planning to do. It’s a large investment, which we hope to announce soon,” Zak Limbada, Portland’s managing director, told businessdaily.

Tryphosa Ramano, PPC’s chief financial officer, confirmed the multi-million expansion plan, adding that they were undergoing a due diligence exercise.

“We don’t have the specific details, but we are doing some tests and we will announce the details in full in due course,” said Ramano.

“We expect to export to Mozambique and Zambia,” she added.

Under the indigenisation deal, signed yesterday, PPC ceded a total of 29,6 percent to indigenous entities that include Gwanda and Umguza Community Share Ownership Trust (10 percent), Employee Share Ownership Trust (five percent), while an indigenous special purpose vehicle will get (4,9 percent).

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund — created to implement the indigenisation policy — got 9,7 percent.

This comes after the firm had earlier on ceded a 21,4 percent stake to locals making it a total 51 percent.

Saviour Kasukuwere, Indiginesation minister, said; “This is the only way investors and communities can work together. Those days of islands of prosperity and seas of poverty are gone. What PPC has done ensures security and certainty to their investment. We are ready to welcome PPC in Mashonaland Central and they are coming to Rushinga to build another cement factory.”

“Going forward we must sensitise the local residents and involve them so that everyone knows that they have ownership of resources and we must work closely with those companies going forward,” said Kasukuwere.

Obert Mpofu, Mines minister, added that government wanted to see locals also benefitting from procurement and other downstream activities.

PPC — listed on both the Johannesburg and Zimbabwe stock exchanges — is now in full compliance with the country’s indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations and has disbursed seed capital totalling $3 million.

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