Zimglass set to resume operations in April

GWERU- The country’s sole glass manufacturer, the Zimbabwe Glass Industries (Zimglass) is set to resume operations in April after the company secured funding to refurbish its furnaces.

The Gweru-based firm shut down operations last September, leaving 472 permanent employees and 100 contract workers stranded. Zimglass had battled to secure funds to resuscitate operations due to the liquidity crunch rattling the country’s economy.

The Industrial Development Corporation, its parent company, has however, succeeded in courting investors to inject US$7 million into the glass manufacturer to refurbish its furnaces. Jacob Dube, the company’s managing director, said production would resume in April after the commissioning of the furnaces.

“After a protracted process of raising funds for the furnace rebuilding and refurbishment of plant and equipment, the company should resume production in April this year. The commissioning of the furnace takes about two weeks, allowing for all the fine tuning and glass conditioning to be completed. Glass making is a continuous intricate process, which takes patience and skill,” said Dube.

“The refurbishment and furnace rebuild does not take a long time but it’s the manufacture of the materials required to do so that takes long: That is glass forming machines, glass contact refractories etc and the shipping of these once manufactured. Glass making machinery, glass contact refractory and glass inspection machines materials are made in Europe, Asia, the United States and the lead times are up to 10 months from date of payment.”

The major cause of the delay was, he added, due to lack of capital. “It must be remembered that at the introduction of the multicurrency regime we were all reduced to (ground) zero. It took us more than 15 months to raise the required finance to be able to place orders with the suppliers.

“It was a most debilitating period of our project implementation. It is common cause that many companies have suffered a great deal because of this illiquid situation in the country that has resulted in several companies failing to resume operations”, Dube told The Financial Gazette’s Companies and Markets.

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