The construction, manufacturing and mining sub-sectors whose performances have been on an upward trajectory in the last three years, buoyed by an enabling environment courtesy of the Second Republic, are set to receive a major boost through Hilti Zimbabwe’s merger with Lighting World, which has seen the tools firm recently opening a US$50 000 repair centre.
Riding on the Liechtenstein multinational, Hilti Corporation’s 80 years of expertise in commercial power tools for the construction, building maintenance, mining, energy and manufacturing industries, Hilti Zimbabwe has been exponentially growing the brand in the country.
As the official distributor for the multinational with a colossal presence across the globe, Hilti Zimbabwe offers warranties, free repairs and demonstrations to its clients within the first two years of purchase.
The Hilti brand comprises grinders, drills, saws, anchors, fasteners and layout software, among other tools.
Before finding a new home in Lighting World early this year, the Hilti brand was housed under Prime Agencies’ wings.
“Hilti has been in Zimbabwe for five years now, and encouragingly, we continue to grow the brand,” said Mr Dion Yatras, the holding group’s finance and administration director at the official opening of the new shop and repair centre in Msasa, Harare.
The US$50 000 repair centre comes as good news to customers who previously had to wait for at least two weeks for their tools, since they had to be sent to South Africa. The move will also see the firm saving up to 15 percent of repair income.
“Some of the mines and construction companies that have supported us over the years can now simply send their tools to us here in Harare, and we repair them on site.
“One of our first customers who visited us has brought in a 23-year-old tool for repairs, which is testimony to how amazing Hilti tools are,” said Mr Yatras, adding that the store was going to be a vital part of the firm’s future.
The open for all event was attended by captains and representatives of the construction, mining and manufacturing industries.
Mr Yatras said the brand has continued to grow through industrial and commercial construction in the last three years, accounting for about 50 percent of total business.
He said although traditionally the construction sector was their biggest supporter, growth in mining has seen that position shifting.
“Traditionally construction is our biggest sector, but we have realised that mining has overtaken, in terms of customer base. There is a lot of growth in mining. So, a bigger focus of our business has been in the mining sector, with Unki being one of our biggest customers.
“We are also working with other mines as well. With our new store, our hope is to reach out to more clients,” said Mr Yatras.
“We hope to see some more growth in 2021/2022, and our target is to grow our revenues to US$500 000 within the year.”
Players in the mining sector said Hilti Zimbabwe has brought them closer to cutting-edge technology which has revolutionised the industry.
Venters Construction managing director, Mr Ismail Mahomed, who has been in the industry for 30 years, extolled Hilti’s presence in the country, saying business was particularly good in the last 12 months.
“For us things have picked up in the last 12 months, although we have not been consistent all the way. Sometimes there would be less work, but this year we have been quite busy,” said Mr Mahomed.
He attributed the good fortune to the positive shift in the performance of the economy in the last two years and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who are building houses back home.
Heritage Construction managing director, Mr Tendai Tsvetu concurred, saying the situation in the construction industry has improved, although the sub-sector still faced some challenges..
However, he bemoaned lack of an even playing field in the sector, which leads to a situation where locals are elbowed out of lucrative projects by foreign-owned enterprises with access to cheap funding.
Foreign-owned companies, Mr Tsvetu said, should not take up projects reserved for locals. Instead, they should partake in specialised projects which locals may not have the capacity to undertake.
Lammel Manufacturing business development manager, Mr Tungamirai Sauramba, lauded the foreign currency auction system for supporting the manufacturing sector, particularly small-to-medium enterprises. With more allocations, SMEs would contribute significantly to the sub-sector.
Acknowledging the Government’s efforts, Mr Sauramba appealed to the authorities to put in place policy frames that support the local manufacturing sector through rebates on imported raw materials, and protect the industry from an influx of imported finished products.