The Herald Harare
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LEAD acid battery producer Chloride Zimbabwe is set to begin exports into Angola in the first quarter of 2017, as the company seeks to capitalise on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s 5 percent export incentive, a senior official has said.Chloride is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) Corporation.

Speaking on the sidelines of a tour of the company by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda yesterday, ART Corporation group chief executive Mr Tapiwa Ameer said the company already exports to four countries and anticipates to grow the market, as it expands its regional footprint.

The company already exports at least 20 percent of its production to Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Zambia is Chloride’s biggest export market.

« We should be able to start exporting into Angola in the first quarter. It is a market we are still exploring, » he said adding there was great potential in Angola.

Chairman Mr Thomas Utete Wushe also indicated that the promulgation of the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 has helped boost the company’s market share and production.

In line with this, Chloride would also continue scouting for export markets in the region to cash in on the bond notes export incentive.

« We have always been an export oriented company. Now we are positioning ourselves to exploit the bond note export incentive as we expand our market in the region.

« The SI64 and import duty waiver on capital goods also helped us, it has made it easy for us to import raw materials and enhance production, » he said.

Dr Sibanda thanked the Chloride management for investing in production, which has helped reduce the cost of its products.

« We appreciate the role you are playing to propel the goals of Zim-Asset and the 10-point plan. As Government we will play our part to facilitate the growth of industry and ease of doing business, » he said.

Chloride imports raw materials which include liquid acid, battery containers, soda ash and various furnaces additives mainly from South Africa, Botswana and other regional and international countries. The company now operates at 100 percent capacity utilisation producing 30 000 batteries a month following the promulgation of the SI64 as well as the installed capacity.

The local market size for automotive batteries in Zimbabwe is about 25 000 units and Chloride commands an estimated 63 percent of that market.

Chloride anticipates to further increase production and push out imports while subsequently increasing exports into existing new regional markets.