HARARE – Simbisa Brands bread-making subsidiary, Baker’s Inn, has ramped capacity utilisation to 65 percent and is now selling almost three million loaves per week.
The company’s chief executive, Ngoni Mazango, said his organisation increased bread output by over 200 000 loaves a day in the last six months.
“It is quite interesting that between July and November last year, this business grew from the 250 000 loaves to 400 000 loaves per day and to date as I speak, we are selling up to 425 000 loaves and we are commanding a 44 percent market share and we are proud of what we have achieved as a business,” he told the businessdaily in an interview.
The former Lobels’ Bread boss pointed out that with an installed capacity of 750 000 loaves per day, the company’s shareholders were looking at more infrastructure investments to boost capacity.
“We are grateful that we have shareholders who plough back into the business and we have moved from being a manual to an automated business,” Mazango said.
He also pointed out that the unit’s pie division was performing beyond expectations.
“I remember we launched the $1 for four promotion on August 3 last year, that business was selling an average of 35 000 pies per day, now we are in the region of between 110 000 and 120 000 pies per day,” he said.
This comes as the bakery’s loaf volumes grew in the year to December 2016, with pie volumes surging 169 percent while revenues were up four percent.
Baker’s Inn is also looking at installing a $5 million third production line at its Belmont plant in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, a development anticipated to increase its production at the plant.
Mazango, however, said the group was battling erratic power supply and poor water allocation from local authorities.
While the Baker’s Inn boss ruled out any power importation plans on the part of the group, he said using alternative power was eating into the company’s bottom-line.
He also said government needed to increase support efforts to wheat farmers.
“We are also happy with the development in the agriculture sector where now the contract farming has yielded results. However, it is just one third of what we need.
“I remember farmers complaining that the price they were getting for both wheat and maize did not enable them to go back to the field. But we have the same government happy to pay double when they import maize into the country and the wheat story is no different,” the Baker’s Inn boss said.