LISTED roofing and building materials producer Turnall Holdings plans to push production to over 80% this year after reopening the Bulawayo plant in 2014.
The pipe plant at the Bulawayo factory that had been closed due to depressed demand on the local market was reopened after the company secured $2 million worth of projects.
Speaking to delegates during a company tour organised by the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation in Bulawayo on Friday, Turnall production manager William Chitate said the factory was currently operating at 70% capacity and would reach 85% by year-end.
Chitate said as a result of re-opening the Bulawayo plant last year, Turnall would produce about 18 000 tonnes of pipes per year.
“Next year we will be expanding the capacity which we have and we have plans to explore export opportunities in the region,” said Chitate.
“However, we have a challenge of a shortage of fibre following the collapse of Shabanie and Mashaba Mines (SMM). We are importing the fibre from Russia, but it’s not up to standard. Besides, it takes time to deliver thereby increasing our operating costs,” he added.
Last year, the firm revealed that its operating expenses had shot up following the closure of Zimbabwe’s sole asbestos producer, SMM, and was spending about $8 million annually to import raw material.
Chitate said they employed more than 750 people at both Bulawayo and Harare factories.
Turnall currently supplies pipes to the Harare Water Maintenance project, Nkayi Rural District Council, Masvingo Trunk Sewer project and the Victoria Falls Pipeline project.
Masvingo Town Council needs about 800 tonnes of pipes for trunk sewer project.