PPC Zim April sales volumes down 80%

0
1196
PPC International managing director Njombo Lekula giving a statement at the commissioning of the Harare plant on Friday

REGIONAL cement maker, PPC says it expects to record a 80%* decline in sales volumes on its Zimbabwe subsidiary for the month of April due to the impact of the COVID-19-imposed lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

Zimbabwe has been under lockdown since March 30, 2020 initially for 21 days before being extended twice by 14 day periods. Essential services have been allowed to operate. Government eased restrictions when it announced the extension of the lockdown on Friday last week allowing industry and commerce to resume operations on Monday this week albeit under strict conditions.

South Africa’s lockdown started on March 27, 2020.

“CIMERWA and PPC Zimbabwe have partially resumed operations in Rwanda and Zimbabwe in the second half of April. Cement sales volumes in these countries are expected to be around 15% to 20% of the volumes sold in April 2019,” PPC said a statement.

The cement maker operates a clinker plant in Gwanda (Colleen Bawn) in the southern part of the country, as well as a cement milling plant outside Bulawayo and another one in Harare.

PPC also has units in Botswana and Ethiopia.

Overall sales volumes in South Africa for April are expected to be around 95% lower compared to April 2019 due to the stringent lockdown measures imposed by the South African government.

The group said its businesses had generally been operationally constrained in their respective jurisdictions during April although PPC Barnet in the DRC was able to operate and was expected to produce similar volumes to those of the same period last year.

It said PPC South Africa was preparing to start production to operate in line with the risk-based regulations and related COVID-19 risk levels announced by the South African government on April 25, 2020.

“The uncertainty around the further development of the containment of the coronavirus makes it necessary for PPC to work with various scenarios. Together with the other members of the industry association, a request has been made to the government to support the local industry, expedite construction work and implement the announced measures around infrastructure development and giving priority to local manufacturing,” said the company.

PPC’s COVID-19 taskforce was formed in February to prepare a co-ordinated set of measures including employee health and safety and cash preservation measures During the lockdown in South Africa, the group executive committee met daily with the taskforce leader and the group chief information officer to ensure execution of these measures and adjustment to the situation as it develops.

PPC has implemented various cost reduction and cash preservation actions to protect liquidity through and post the lockdown period. The committed facilities show sufficient headroom in South Africa under various economic scenarios.

“The company is also continuously engaging with international funders to ensure sufficient liquidity in its international operations. The refinancing and restructuring project announced in October 2019 is continuing and an update of this project will be given at the announcement of the company’s annual results,” it said.

PPC Ltd announced the appointment of Ronel van Dijk as permanent CFO saying the move provided the company with continuity for all activities that Ronel had initiated since assuming her role as interim CFO on November 1, 2019.

*The article previously stated the previous sales volumes were 20%, the actual figure is in fact 80%