HomeBusinessWeather buoys Willdale volumes

Weather buoys Willdale volumes

Conrad Dube

VOLUMES at Willdale Ltd (Willdale) bricks are slightly above last year with the order “quite firm” and inventory levels normal as the company takes advantage of the dry weather to stockpile.

Chairman Godfrey Gomwe said Willdale had largely benefited from foreign currency inflows from non-resident Zimbabweans making the housing sector dominate the company’s clientele although other sectors have started showing relatively improved demand during the second quarter of the financial year.

The company had three months’ supply of coal stocks and out sourced Dunstan Transport for the mining of clay on the Teneriffe sites as part of the reorganization and refinancing which began in 2001.

“In terms of capacity we can significantly supply face brick to major construction companies efficiently as the new TN75 plant which takes approximately 10 days to produce bricks has made production faster than the two months taken to produce bricks using the dry weather facilities.

This makes the company to be poised for greater growth,” Gomwe said.

The TN75, which produces 172 000 mainly face bricks per day using the latest brick making mechanization in Sub-Saharan Africa, is set to drive the company’s performance this financial year.

A company official told an analyst and media briefing after a tour of the company facilities on Friday last week that the well integrated TN75, manned by a labour force of only 12 workers per shift, has better space utilization compared to the labour intensive dry weather facilities.

Willdale, which currently produces 130 million bricks per annum, is expecting to increase production capacity to 160 million bricks per annum if a new TN50 is commissioned in the third quarter of the year. The TN50 has a capacity to produce 30 million economy plaster bricks per annum.

The recapitalised debt-free Will-dale is the only brick maker, which has been able to supply major construction companies in terms of face brick volumes due to the company’s product spread in the product mix, the chairman said.

“The company has substantially reduced its debt obligation and is well capitalised to face the challenges of the future,” said Gomwe.

Willdale reported six months to March 31 results that analysts said resembled greater growth prospects for the brick making company.

Attributable profit rose to $204 million from a loss of $131 million on turnover of $1 billion, 306% up from $247 million during the year comparative.

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