PLASTIC Pipes and Fittings manufacturer, Proplastics Limited, is looking to expand its export market to Africa and beyond, riding on improved business in the first half of the year.
Chief executive officer, Mr Kudakwashe Chigiya, said in an interview that the firm was working on establishing markets as far as West Africa. The company’s revenue for the first half of 2018 clocked $10 million compared to $6 million in the same period last year. Mr Chigiya attributed the revenue increase to improvements in business and concentration of the export market, as well as imports policy measures implemented by Government. The strong market desire was recorded in Malawi and Zambia, although both countries’ economies were stagnant at the moment. The firm targets expanding across West Africa.
“We are already exporting our products to Malawi and Zambia and have established ourselves in Sierra Leone. We are looking into tapping the market in other countries in West Africa as our products seem to have impressed in Sierra Leone,” he said.
Mr Chigiya said focus on exports was one of the measures to beat the foreign currency shortages that are crippling a number of industries in the country.
“Times are changing. Due to forex shortages, firms that have failed to adapt and innovate are folding and we are pushing to keep ourselves relevant by expanding our playing field,” he said.
Mr Chigiya said the company needs over half a million dollars to meet operational costs each month and that the bulk of these funds are in foreign currency.
“Due to the unavailability of foreign currency, we experienced product supply gaps caused by failure to import raw materials,” he said.
“We have also made twinning arrangements with local traders for the supply of the requisite raw materials. However, this is about 60 percent more expensive than direct imports.”
Mr Chigiya however, said raw material supplies were presently stable with the factory running uninterrupted as they have approximately one and a half months cover on raw materials. He said the firm remains focused on construction of its new factory in Harare with progress now above 50 percent level.
The firm has no plans to invest in Bulawayo where it runs a distribution centre.
Going forward, Proplastics expects demand to remain strong driven by agriculture, local authorities, mining and housing development.