LAFARGE Cement Zimbabwe has fully paid its part in the Community Share Ownership Trust in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) which has since disbursed a total of $1million, the cement manufacturer has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe chief executive officer Amal Tantawi told journalists and analysts on Wednesday that the company would in the long term develop the quarry mine in UMP.
“The money funded to the community for UMP is $330 000 and was disbursed into the special vehicle fund. The $330 000 has now been passed on to the community and is no longer with the Special Vehicles Fund.
“In total the Community Share Trust has disbursed a total $1 million,” Tantawi said.
“There are plans to develop the quarry yet, but not in 2015, its more now pushed for the long-term plans in the company. As I explain some of the cost optimisation that we did in the limestone was to reduce the use of the quarry in UMP as it was very costly on total production.
“Thanks to the quarrying plan that we have put internally in the quarry’s around the plant that allowed us to reduce the use of the UMP, but it remains as strategic asset and it remains very crucial and important in the medium and the long term.”
Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe recorded a 11% decline in turnover to $60,4 million for the year ended December 31 2014 after a fall in sales volumes and average cement selling prices.
In the period under review the group recorded a 7% reduction in local sales volumes and 3% reduction on average cement selling prices.
Profit for the year declined to $80 950 from $3,5 million in 2013.
“The reason of the decline of the operating profit was coming from a result of lower sales volumes as well as expenditures in investment that we have made in our plant and industry at large. The company invested last year $7 million of capital expenditure out of which $5 million were a loan invested towards our plant. We also spend some $2 million on plant rehabilitation and maintenance,” Tantawi said.
“The company incurred very high maintenance cost in the first half of the year. We had the major maintenance works undertaken to improve the current performance. The total maintenance cost of the year , last year amount to around $10 million and that was some $2 million higher than 2015 as compared to last year.”
Tantawi said despite the high maintenance cost that depressed half year results, the company returned to profitability during the second half of the year.
Tantawi added that although the trading conditions were expected to remain difficult in 2015, the group continues to be optimistic about the Zimbabwean economy that some growth will be recorded from the anticipated increased activity in mining, construction and infrastructure development.
Tantawi said the prospects for further growth in the medium term for domestic cement demand remain strong and the company was well positioned to capture that growth.