PPC Zimbabwe has urged customers to resist high prices triggered by a shortage of cement on the market, saying it expected a glut of the product soon once its Bulawayo-based plant is commissioned. Dealers had hiked prices of cement, particularly for the Portland cement brands whose availability has been affected by a delay in the re-commissioning of PPC Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo plant.
The company, a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), was expected to have commissioned its Colleen Bawn kiln plant, but encountered unexplained delays, forcing a shortage of cement products on the domestic market.
PPC Zimbabwe dominates the domestic cement market alongside Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Lafarge, the French building materials group. The two command a 90 per cent share of the local market, with Chinese-controlled Sino Zimbabwe holding the balance of the market share. The re-commissioned plant will see output increasing 20 percent. PPC had shut down the Colleen Bawn plant to allow for its refurbishment, which resulted in the installation of new machinery.
In a statement, PPC Zimbabwe acknowledged the supply problems created by the delayed commissioning of its plant, but warned customers to avoid being ripped off by dealers, saying the new plant would be commissioned soon. The plant was finally expected to start running last Saturday in a bid by PPC management to improve supplies on the market.
A statement from PPC said the company regretted the disruption of deliveries to the market, but assured customers “that supplies will return to normal within the near future”.
“We are aware of dealers that are now charging a premium on cement sales. The public are urged to resist these inflated prices as the market will return to normal in the near future,” said PPC.