10 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Lobels Holdings Resumes Operations

LOBELS Holdings has resumed operations at its Harare bakery, after a successful recapitalisation, group chief executive Mr Ngoni Mazango said last week. Five local banks - FBC Bank, CBZ Bank, NMB Bank, Metbank and Capital Bank - owed US$14 million by one of the country's oldest bakeries took over the company and invested US$4,5 million in plant refurbishment and new plant acquisition.

"We have resumed and we are going to compete fairly," said Mr Mazango without elaborating. We are starting with the old plant that we have refurbished. In March, we will be commissioning a new line and this will give us a combined daily output of 250 000 loaves. We are now here to stay."

Baker's Inn, the biggest market player, is produces an average of 350 000 loaves a day.

Mr Mazango said the company had retained 450 workers and would be hiring more when the new plant is commissioned.

He said the company was poised to reclaim its market share after the commissioning of the new line.

Lobels was once a market leader in the baking industry.

During its closure, it lost its market share to competitors such as Baker's Inn and Proton Bakeries. At full capacity, Lobels produced an average of 300 000 loaves a day.

The company began operations in the late 1940s under the Lobels brothers and was subsequently acquired by a consortium of business entrepreneurs in 2002.

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