Circle to Shut Down for Upgrade

Circle to Shut Down for Upgrade
Published: 07 April 2004

Circle Cement Ltd Zimbabwe, is shutting down its plant in June for a major refurbishment programme, chairman Ian Coulter said last week.  He said the plant would be shut down for about 50 days during which all orders would still be delivered.  "Due to the major plant refurbishment scheduled for June/July 2004, the plant will shut down for 50 days to facilitate this major project," the chairman said. "Plans have been implemented to ensure that the company continues to meet demand for cement during this period. The company is still going through its recovery phase, following the debilitating effects of price controls," Coulter said in his report. "In addition, there are pressures on the cash flows due to the major plant refurbishment and offshore loan commitments."  He said the year opened on a "challenging note" with price controls threatening the viability of the cement industry, noting also that company experienced shortages of coal and as a result had to suspend clinker production for six weeks in the first quarter.  The move necessitated the importation of coal, which helped sustain production.  Lafarge, the ultimate holding company, continued helping Circle in all areas, including assistance with the repair and refurbishment to the plant and the provision of a guarantee, enabling the company to access foreign loan funding for the plant rehabilitation.