Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd (SZL) says it has in Q3 2017 resumed beverage exports to selected regional markets and is expecting in excess of US$2 million in export revenue in Q4 2017.
The export countries are Namibia and Botswana with plans to extend imports to overseas markets in the next two or three years underway.
SZL managing director Charles Msipa told businessdigest on the sidelines of the ongoing Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe Summer School in Nyanga that the export market is performing well and would result in increased plant capacity utilisation, which he said is currently around 57%.
"We resumed beverages exports in the last three months to selected regional markets (Botswana, Namibia) in the third quarter of 2017 and expect to generate export revenues of approximately US$2 million for this quarter. We plan to continue to expand regional exports coverage for beverages, pastes and juice concentrates and purees in 2018. We will have to exhaust our regional markets first before we can venture into overseas markets ... maybe in the next two or three years," he said.
Msipa said there is high demand in the region and they are aiming to export significant volumes to regional markets, adding that the current demand will push up their volumes.
"With beverage business, normally the periods from May, June, July are usually low-peak periods, but thereafter the business booms like in the period we are now. Our capacity utilisation can therefore move to levels of about 60%, but I would like to say we are sitting at 57% at the moment," he said.
SZL restricted its focus on the domestic market shortly after the country adopted the multi-currency system in 2009.
"We wanted to focus on rebuilding our domestic business after the economic meltdown in 2008," he said.
Meanwhile, during his presentation at the same event, Msipa said SZL subsidiaries were doing well with Beitbridge Juicing Company increasing its capacity.
Of the company's product, 61% is consumed locally while 39% is exported.
The other subsidiary, Best Fruit Processors, which started operating in 2015, has now reached production levels of 24 000 tonnes per annum against a capacity of producing 4 000 metric tonnes of tomato paste as from the tomato peak season starting from May to December.
But Msipa said production at the Norton plant was even lower this year on the back of excessive rainfall which affected tomato production.
According to the International Trade Centre based on the UN Comtrade statistics, Zimbabwe imported 1 452 metric tonnes of tomato products in 2015.