Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
French yeast manufacturer, Lesaffre Group has started injecting capital in Zimbabwe’s biggest yeast manufacturing company, Lesaffre Zimbabwe, a senior company official said. Lesaffre in September 2015 concluded the 60 percent acquisition of Anchor yeast to form Lesaffre Zimbabwe in a deal expected to inject an initial $17,5 million to boost productivity.
Anchor Holdings chief executive Mr Mike Nyabadza who is also a shareholder in Lesaffre Zimbabwe told The Herald Business yesterday that the French investor has already started injecting capital into the company in tandem to what they promised at the signing ceremony.
“They have already started injecting capital into the company and several representatives of the investor have been in the country to do some assessments of the manufacturing plant. We are having a board meeting soon where we are going to come up with figures in terms of capital injected so far and to be injected in the future (this year),” said Mr Nyabadza.
Anchor yeast has been facing viability challenges for some time and following the conclusion of the acquisition Lesaffre promised to immediately inject $3,5 million towards operations.Lesaffre is excited by business prospects in Zimbabwe and envisions that Lesaffre Zimbabwe will become a leading yeast manufacturer in the SADC and COMESA regions.
The transaction is expected to significantly improve the standard and quality of yeast products produced in Zimbabwe. The yeast company plans to double capacity to 12 000 tonnes per annum from the current 6 000 tonnes as the company looks to venture into the export market.
The global yeast manufacturer’s long term goal is to generate regional exports for the business and this will be achieved through upgrading of plant equipment and increasing productivity. Mr Nyabadza said at least $1,5 million will be invested in a 17km pipeline that links the Gweru yeast factory and the company’s farm.
“The production of yeast produces effluent and we will invest $1,5 million into a pipeline and other facilities at the farm to create animal feed. So far we have invested about $500 000 towards the project,” said Mr Nyabadza.
Under this plan Anchor Holdings intends to venture into dairy farming at its Gweru Farm and this will see the firm importing 2 000 dairy cows from a Europe and South Africa. The project is being spearheaded by Anchor Holdings subsidiary, Anchor Agriculture and they have already started irrigating 500 hectares of pasture to pave way for dairy farming.
The company plans to use resultant effluent which is highly nutritious to irrigate 500 hectares at the farm 17 kilometres from the plant. The effluent will be used to irrigate pastures and foliage crop that would feed the dairy cows. About $4 million will be invested towards the purchase of the cows. The cows will each produce 30 litres every day.