BULAWAYO, July 28 (The Source) – General Beltings Limited, the listed producer and supplier of mining industry conveyor belts, says capacity utilisation has dropped below 11 percent while turnover plunged by two thirds to $488,000 in the first five months of the year as it battles for market share against cheaper imports.
General manager Joseph Gunda told Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha during a tour of the company on Wednesday that the company had fallen on hard times and was in need of government support.
“We are facing an influx of imports despite existence of the SI (Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016). There are loopholes in implementation of SI, for example, importation of fabric reinforced belts disguised as steel coded belts,” Gunda said.
Gunda said sales at May 31, stood at $488,000 down from $1,603 million over the same period last year.
The company’s capacity utilisation this year is hovering around 11 percent, down from 21 percent at the end of last year. It currently employs 104 workers, from a peak of 300.
Since the start of the year, the company has slashed the price of its products by 30 percent to tackle stiff competition from cheap South Africa imports.
According to its annual report, General Beltings posted a $1,8 million loss during the year ended December 31, 2015, from $1,5 million previously.
It estimated that $18 million worth of imports flooded the local market last year, which could easily have been generated by domestic manufacturers.