Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) says Zimbabwe is a strong market for the group and it has completed its solar plant tendering process.
Chief executive officer, Roland van Wijnen, said the country remains a robust market despite some economic challenges.
“We took a relatively long operational stop to ensure our operations in the country are future-proof and improved from an environmental standpoint. The plant is now performing well from both an output and cost-per-tonne perspective,” he said.
“We knew our EBITDA would be reduced due to this operational stoppage. We have since stepped up production and reclaimed market share and we anticipate EBITDA to meet or exceed full year 2022 levels in full year 2024.”
With the regulator in Zimbabwe, who recognises the value of a robust domestic sector, he said they will continue to have positive interactions.
PPC said electrical energy performance at its Bulawayo and Harare milling facilities for the year ended March 31 2023, regressed owing to a 50 percent decline in clinker imports and issues with grinding efficiency.
In the full year 2023, thermal energy consumption in PPC Zimbabwe improved by 5,6 percent.
“The baghouse and bucket elevator installation at Colleen Bawn was completed and has contributed significantly to improved thermal and electric energy consumption,” the company said in its full year 2023 annual report.
“Interventions in the fourth quarter of the full year 2023 have shown improved performance levels which will be sustained in the full year 2024.”
Compared to grid power, renewable energy offers net current savings.
“At Colleen Bawn and the Bulawayo factory in Zimbabwe, the tender process to install a 30 MW solar PV plant was finalised and approved by the board,” the cement maker said.
“Generation licences have been approved and issued, and site clearance is completed and ready for construction.”
“We also engage with the government on the regulation of imports. Power stability and availability are growing concerns, and we are conversing with the electricity producer and government,” the chief executive said.
“The recent installation of new capacity will hopefully alleviate some of these issues.”
PPC Zimbabwe was able to implement US$ price increases to recover input cost inflation. Further, PPC Zimbabwe continued to generate adequate sales in foreign currency to sustain its operational requirements during the period and pay dividends.
PPC received US$8,9 million in dividends during the year totalling R147 million net of withholding tax compared to US$6,2 million in the prior year.