CLOTHING manufacturer, Paramount Garment Works, says initial estimates show the firm incurred damages amounting to US$30 million after a fire gutted its Harare factory in early December.
The fire incident at its factory located in the Harare’s industrial area of Southerton, came two weeks after the company had celebrated its 75th anniversary and experienced a 20% growth in its business.
While the fire was put out, it is still unclear what caused the fire with the company’s insurers currently reviewing the damage.
Speaking at a Press conference yesterday, the Paramount group finance director Jeremy Youmans said that the company had suffered a great loss to the fire.
“The total cost is still being fully calculated, the conservative estimates at this stage it will go over US$30 million,” he said.
The fire took 10 days to be put down, due to several reasons such as water shortages which has been major issue for the fire brigade.
The company was forced to purchase water to put out the fire.
“It was a very good working relationship, but as we have said in previous briefings, they are severely constrained and under-resourced to carry out a fire of this size,” Youmans said.
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“That is an issue I think other bodies need to take up and deal with to prevent further disasters like this not being dealt with in a much more contained way.”
The company said it was working with the insurers to get the money that would help them to kick-start the repairs needed for the factory.
“We were fully insured and paid up. Now, we need that service provider to deliver. Obviously, there is a process we must go through, we all understand that, and some of that process is very difficult. But our number one priority has been to protect the jobs of the two-and-a half thousand people we employ here and in Bulawayo. That is our number priority,” Youmans said.
“From there, we are then moving through the process, but we do believe that more could have been done to advance money out of what was an inevitable claim anyway. But we will deal with that. It’s just a matter of trying to match A to B, what we call the big jigsaw puzzle, and we hope to achieve that and by reaching out to everybody else we can.”
He said the insurance company had visited the factory twice to assess the damage caused and how much they would have to cover.
“We’ve been in regular contact as we’ve tried to get the process going on getting the claim going. They are backed by a big group of reinsurers, and those reinsurers have not attended the site here or given us any offer of support,”
“What our brokers have done, is to immediately attend what can be done and try and help the process.
“That is our biggest risk now, that if we don’t, we aren’t able to access some of that money that is available to us under the policy.”