United Refineries capacity up 80%, resumes exports

AGRO-processing concern United Refineries has pushed capacity utilisation to 80% and resumed exports following government’s imposition of punitive levies on cooking oil imports, an official has said.



Company chief executive officer Busisa Moyo told NewsDay in an emailed response that the company was poised for growth and was now producing 3 million litres of oil per month.
“The industry now produces 12 million litres of cooking oil versus 4,5 million litres per month,” Moyo said.

“United Refineries alone produces 3 million litres of oil per month and is at 80% capacity. We are planning to expand capacity to 4 million by June 2016. We are exporting cotton meal to South Africa and now our new bath soaps are being earmarked for Mozambique and Angola.”

United Refineries is the second largest cooking oil refinery in Zimbabwe and has a refining capacity of 8 000 metric tonnes of oil seeds per month.

The company is on a recovery path after securing credit last year to refurbish machinery at its Bulawayo factory and reviving production of several brands.

Some of the product lines back in production since last year include the cooking oil lines as well as toiletries such as Bath & Basin, Vogue, Image, Olive and Fresh Health Joy.

Recently Moyo, who is also Confederation of Zimbabwean Industries president, revealed that Zimbabwe’s cooking oil producers would be able to meet the country’s demand for edible oils by September this year as capacity utilisation in the sector was improving after government imposed punitive levies on imports.

Government recently removed the travellers rebate on grocery items, saying there was no justification for their continued import since the local industry was producing such goods. For cooking oil, it raised customs duty to 40% and a 25% surtax or $0,50 per litre, whichever is higher.

Zimbabwe has four oil producing firms — ETG Parrogate, Olivine, Surface Investments and United Refineries.

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  1. This sounds contradictory! United Refineries is thriving following Zimbabwe imposing heavy punitive levies on cooking oil imports.It is firther reported that UR’s capacity utilisation has increased to 80% due to this import protection and that UR is now exporting its products to RSA and Mozambique. Strange that Zim sees sense in imposing heavy import levies and expects RSA and Moz not to retaliate.With an over valued USD in Zim and high USD cost structure UR will soon find their exports to SADC region unprofitable unless UR gets an export subsidy.This is pure economics. Period!

  2. But i think we had to start somewhere to give our industry a kick start. The onlyt way in my opinion was to create local demand which had to be done by a protectionist law. Now once the local demand is there it is up to the organisation to work up and do all it can to improve on its manufactucturing cost by improving on technology etc so that it can match the cheap imports. this should be done to ready the companies for a day these protectionist laws are not there and indeed they should be reviewwed soon!! This is not to say all the production cost and overheads are within the company’s control. There is a lot of high costs coming from the gvt – taxes and levies, cost of power, bribes etc!!

  3. On my part as i strolled the shops in Bulawayo this festive, i always try to look for the label ” made in Zimbabwe” on all the products I was buying. In some cases cases i even looked for “Bulawayo industries……..” i am glad with that. I am hoping by so doing i created maybe 2-3 hours of employment!!!

  4. If a Zimbabwe exporter exported goods worth Rand 10000.00 to South Africa in 2010 at an exchange rate of USD1 to Rand 10 he got USD1000.00. Now the exchange rate is USD1 to Rand 16 and he is now getting $625.00 which is a loss of 38%. The USD costs have remained the same or increased. How is UR exporting to RSA and making a meaningful profit?

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