BULAWAYO-BASED tannery Wet Blue Industries has clinched a deal with a subsidiary of the Grills group of companies, Bulawayo Abattoirs, under which the latter would supply 4 000 hides a month from 2015.
The High Court placed the Bulawayo tannery under provisional judicial management in September after the business went down following the Cold Storage Company’s demise.
Shareholders wanted the company to be placed under final liquidation, but the court gave a timeframe to allow creditors and shareholders opposing the move to come forward.
Wet Blue judicial manager Chrispen Mwete of C Mwete and Company confirmed the deal, but could not give more details.
“Yes, we have signed a deal with Bulawayo Abattoirs and they will be supplying us with about 4 000 hides a month,” he said.
“We are expecting the number to increase next year between January and February because our target is 8 000. This means we are 50% on target.”
Mwete said besides Bulawayo Abattoirs supplying them with hides, it would give them chemicals.
Bulawayo Abattoirs’ exports officer Roger Tavares said the deal was one of its kind although he declined to divulge more details saying there was a confidential clause in the deal.
“An agreement has been reached where Bulawayo Abattoirs will be tanning at Wet Blue Industries in 2015,” he said.
“We support the ZimAsset policy and have committed to working with Wet Blue Industries. However, I cannot divulge figures or details of the contract as there is a confidential clause in it; a clause that perhaps may derail the process.”
Wet Blue Industries was one of the biggest tannery companies in Zimbabwe, processing between 18 and 25 tonnes of leather per month for export on behalf of the Cold Storage Company, which used to be the country’s biggest abattoir.
But the State-owned meat processor is saddled with a $22 million debt and owes workers $2,1 million in outstanding salaries. It requires $50 million to revive operations.
It resumed operations in October this year after shareholders injected $8 000.
Wet Blue Industries needs about $200 000 to operate at 100% capacity.
Bulawayo Abattoirs also specialises in farming and was named the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce 2013 exporter of the year after exporting more than 1 000 tonnes of bovine hides to South Africa, China and Italy.