ZIMBABWE – Bulawayo-based fast moving consumer goods company United Refineries Ltd, says capacity utilisation has increased to 65 percent on cooking oils from as low as 30 percent boosted by a $15 million capital injection from a new investor.
Grindrod has invested more than $15 million into the business so far which has been channelled towards raw materials mobilisation and plant maintenance.
The capital injection has also been channelled towards replacement of some parts of the plant which were down.
United Refineries is targeting to reach 80 percent capacity by year end.
“As for our production levels we are looking at 6000 tonnes per month of either cotton or soya that we are crushing,” said Mr Handisen Charumbira, UR sales and marketing manager.
“On laundry soap, we are in the region of about 15 percent but we have since increased to 40 percent and by the end of the year we will be around 50 percent capacity,” he added.
The fast moving consumer goods company is also producing stock feeds which is a by-product of crushing cotton.
“It is mainly used for cattle feeding and we are producing that as we crush our cotton and on average we crush about 250 tonnes of cotton seed per day. For soya beans the by product is soya mill and it is the best for poultry and we are crushing at the same capacity,” said Mr Charumbira.
New machinery has been acquired following the capital injection from Grindrod.
Cooking oil has been the mainstay of the company and contributes about 70 percent of the company’s annual turnover.
“With our strong consumer base the olive soap has also been driving volumes for the company. With the raw materials that we require we then can move up production to 1 500 tonnes per month,” said Mr Charumbira.
Volumes are picking up on a monthly basis at Harare depot that was opened in September last year.
Mr Charumbira said UR targets to stock more than 50 000 tonnes of cotton seed from the just ended season.
“For the season, we need about 50 000 tonnes. Initially we managed to get about 6 000 tonnes and we want to continue buying until we reach the expected tonnage.”
The company is targeting to capture about 40 percent of the market share before year ending moving from about 20 percent.
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