BY MISHAMA CHAKANYUKA
Battery manufacturer, Chloride, says it is planning to expand its smelting plant to nearly double the firm’s manufacturing capacity.
With its current smelter, Chloride produces 35 000 batteries monthly and the new capacity will take its output to 50 000 units.
The company’s operations manager, Edwin Makhaza told NewsDay Business yesterday that Chloride would make use of its export earnings as well as internal reserves to finance the project.
“We are working on expanding our smelting plant which is still in its initial stage and we are just trying to source funds for that. We are in the process of expanding so
that we are able to fully utilise the capacity that we have in the plant,” he said.
He said last year the company operated at about 89% of installed capacity. This has since declined to 60% due to deposit demand in the market.
“The major challenge we are facing is of foreign currency to import some of the raw materials that we use. The foreign currency requirements against the exports that we
generate do not match, so we are not able to smoothen our operations through the exported materials. We are trying to source foreign currency through export generation and
through the interbank to smoothen our operations,” he said.
The company’s major raw material, lead, which constitutes about 60% of the battery, is locally made from scrap batteries that the company recycles in their smelting unit.
The company supplies about 80% of its product to the local market, while the remaining 20% is for exports.
“We supply batteries to Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia and we intend to expand to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and South Africa. In Malawi and
Mozambique we are not dominant, but we want to ensure that we are dominant in those markets,” Chloride general manager, Kudzai Pasipanodya said.