CEMENT maker Khayah Cement, formerly known as Lafarge Zimbabwe, has recorded 18% volume growth across the board for its first quarter ended 31 March 2023.
Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited rebranded to Khayah following the conclusion of the acquisition of the majority shareholding by a local investment consortium.
The group said the industrial performance increased with the installation of Vertical Cement Mill in the third quarter of 2022. As a result, cement and dry mortar product sales volumes closed 96% and 121% above the same period last year.
“Growth in dry mortar products was partly driven by the strong demand for the agricultural lime range supagrow,” said the group.
The aggregate volumes doubled against the same period in the prior year.
Khayah Cement registered ZW$11.1 billion in net sales in the period under review, which was 131% above the ZW$4.8 billion achieved in the first quarter of 2022.
With capital from the new shareholder, the company embarked on a short-term rapid high impact plan focused on specific deliverables to stabilise the business through capacitation of industrial operations and strengthening of logistics.
This was necessitated by the business transition following the exit of Associated International Cement Limited in November 2022.
“Funded through capital injection from the new shareholder, the programme involved expenditure to raise inventory, improve plant availability and modernise the laboratory equipment for quality assurance,” said the group.
Adding on, the company purchased a fleet of bulk tankers to supply cement to large construction projects.
However, clinker production declined by 28%, which resulted in the company discontinuing its sales and resorting to importing clinker to support production needs.
Power voltage fluctuations continued to negatively affect the operation of the manufacturing plant and equipment.
“Clinker volumes were impacted by the aforementioned inconsistent plant performance,” the company said.
Going forward, Khayah Cement said, the company is optimistic of much improved performance as the year progresses based on the continued impact of management actions and investments made in the period under review.
The group added that the increased milling capacity created opportunities for the development of high-strength cement varieties and consistent product supply.