Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
Listed diversified media group, Zimpapers 1980 Ltd’s printing and packaging division – Natprint – has secured a state-of-the-art printing press as part of phase two of the company’s recapitalisation. The printing press, which was secured from Poland, is a Speed Master 5 colour with an online coating unit. In an interview, Natprint general manager Njabulo Nkomo, said the machine is currently being installed by technicians with commissioning scheduled for this month.
“We purchased a printing press from Poland and it is a Speed Master 5 colour with an online coating unit. We specifically chose the machine for its versatility and robustness for the kind of work that we do here at Natprint considering that it is able serve a cross network of our customers who have different specifications in terms of paper and print quality.
“This machine is currently being installed by technicians and we are expecting to commission the press on the 20th of this month so we should be able to immediately derive benefits from the month of September,” said Mr Nkomo.
He said the new printing press will add 80 percent capacity to the current sheet fed printing capacity and it will become a complete game changer in terms of the available capacity. It also gives the company an opportunity to look beyond the borders for additional work.
Mr Nkomo said the company is grateful of the efforts shown by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in expediting the company’s application for the rebate for the importation of this capital equipment.
“We must acknowledge the support received from Government and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in expediting our application for the rebate for the importation of this capital equipment and it went through fast and assisted us to get in the machine with minimum additional costs at the boarder,” he said.
The acquisition of the new printing press is part of Phase Two of the company`s recapitalisation exercise and Phase One was done in 2016.
Phase One of the recapitalisation included the purchase of a Polar 115 Programmable Guillotine for printing finishing operations. The company also procured a Computer to Plate Machine the same year.
Mr Nkomo said the new printing press is a complimentary step in giving a complete well rounded recapitalisation programme.
Natprint is currently operating at 65 percent capacity utilisation with the sheet fade printing operating at 100 percent utilisation.
The printing press will increase capacity utilisation to over 80 percent taking the company to full factory utilisation.
Mr Nkomo said the company expected to achieve full factory utilisation of 100 percent once the new curriculum, which is being finalised by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is ready to go for print.
He said the company made the decision to further invest in a printing press because of a surge and sustained increase in demand from a cross section of customers across the country.
“Our current capacity was inadequate to cater for the timely delivery of required materials by our various customers and resulted in delayed deliveries to our customers and in order to close this gap in customer service, we felt prudent to invest in a printing press to ensure that our customers get the best in terms of delivery,” said Mr Nkomo.
He said there is still need to keep re-tooling the business to match the changing global market trends.
Zimpapers head of corporate affairs Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi, said the printing press investment is a statement by the group that it firmly believes in the local economy and the country as a whole.
“We have confidence in this economy which is why we have continually made investments as a group to remain relevant and ensure sustainable growth. The group is looking at consolidating Natprint’s presence as one of the biggest printing and packaging companies in the country,” said Ms Tonhodzayi.