THE country’s biggest cooking oil manufacturer, Surface Wilmar says its US$24 million plant that is under construction in Harare will be completed by end of this year following delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plant, which is expected to produce margarine and mayonnaise, among other products, was shut down in 2017 due to inefficiencies.
It was expected to start production by September this year.
But in a telephone interview with Standardbusiness, Surface Wilmar chief executive officer Sylvester Dendere said the margarine factory was now expected to be completed by year-end due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is still under construction; because of Covid-19, a few things got out of play,” Dendere said.
“There were just delays. I think maybe by the end of this year we would have finished the construction (of the margarine factory).
“At the moment, we are still expecting some equipment.
“Remember most of the equipment is tailor made.
“They are not off the shelves. They are actually made as per order.”
On the ketchup factory as well as stockfeed and milling business. Dendere said: “The timetable was that we finish off the margarine factory then go to ketchup.”
“They have all been kind of delayed because of Covid-19.”
Surface Wilmar has also put in place a revival plan for Olivine Industries, which will result in a US$50 million upgrade of the Willowvale plant in the capital.
The plant targets maize and wheat milling as well as production of pasta, stockfeed and biscuits.
Surface Wilmar executive chairman and Olivine Industries country head Narottam Somani in April this year revealed that the upgrade was set to be completed by 2025.
Government is the single largest shareholder in Olivine, with 35% shareholding. External shareholders collectively hold the balance.
Surface Wilmar is 90% owned by SR Amando, an investment vehicle which includes the Somani family and Wilmar International.
It was founded in 2006 and situated in Chitungwiza .
The Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe owns 10% of the company.