BATA Zimbabwe replaces Zambia imports through own production

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  • Bata Zimbabwe substitutes imports from Zambia
  • The company earns a substantial niche market on the local and regional market
  • In February 2019, Bata commissioned a gumboot manufacturing plant
  • Bata to invest US$400 000 in production in first half of 2020

Gweru based shoe manufacturer, Bata Shoe Company reduced material imports from Zambia by -93% in 2019 and is reported to be now sourcing its raw materials locally.  The development affected the firm’s Zambian counterpart which posted a US$48 000 loss in the 6 months period to December 31, 2019.

This comes on the backdrop of the reintroduction of the Zim dollar in 2019 and the obliteration of the multi-currency regime.  The Zim dollar has shed more than 85% since the launch of the interbank market system in February of 2019 making it less lucrative for the shoe manufacturer to maintain imports from across the northern border.

On the bright side, this comes at a time the company has managed to grab a substantial niche market on the local and regional market after investing in machinery as part of its efforts to improve the production and quality of its products. The company has over the years introduced a new range of products to suit the latest trends on the market.

In February 2019, Bata commissioned a gumboot manufacturing plant creating 290 jobs in the process, having invested US$500 000 in the process. The shoe manufacturer had been forced to discontinue the production of gumboots and PVC safety boots at the height of the hyper-inflationary period of 2008.

Bata continues to grow strong having resumed Pata Pata production and stopped imports from Malawi. Bata had stopped producing Pata Pata slippers upon hyper-inflation as it was no longer viable to produce the product locally. In 2020, hyper-inflation is upon us, threatening Bata’s production.

Bata is the biggest shoemaker in the country producing over three million pairs of shoes annually and employing over 1 100 workers.

Bata has nearly a hundred stores across the country. Over the past two years the footwear manufacturer opened over 25 stores, which include new branches in Arundel, Mabelreign and Masvingo among others. In 2016 the company opened its doors in Norton, Murambinda and High Glen. Refurbishment and modernization of Bata Stores began in 2012 beginning with the facelift of its Leopold Takawira Branch in Harare in line with international best practices.

On the table, are plans in the first half of 2020 to invest about US$400 000 in polyurethane (PU) pouring technology with a capacity to produce up to 120 000 pairs of shoes per shift. The PU range will play in both the local market and regional market and is expected to generate the much needed foreign currency.

Save for 2011, Zimbabwe’s Industry capacity utilization has been faring below 50% and in 2019 came in at 36%. Industry experts project an 9% shrinkage to 27% in 2020. However, this figure had not factored in the effects of #COVID19 on production.

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