Zimbabwean textile company National Blankets appeals to RBZ for cheap funds recapitalization

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-08 17:05:00 – Zimbabwe

National Blankets Limited, Zimbabwean textile company that manufactures of all qualities of blanket and allied products; of duvets; pillows , non-woven textiles and canvas. With over seventy years of operation in Zimbabwe, the company has become the major market leader in blanket manufacturing, presently operating at 20 percent of its capacity, has appealed to the central bank to make cheap funds available for local industry for recapitalization.

In 2013, the company received a $500,000 loan facility from the Central African Building Society (CABS) under the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) but the money failed to change its fortunes.

Acting chief executive, Freedom Dube, informed the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya during a tour of the firm that it needs at least $3,5 million to recapitalize and increase production.

Currently, they are producing about 200,000 blankets per year against their historical capacity of 2 million. They can ramp up production to 50 percent for a start if they got the required capital. Also they expect the number of employment to increase with time. Currently, they are employing 100 people.

Dube said that they had benefited from the Dimaf but the conditions were too stringent for example the period of paying back the money was very short considering that their operation is seasonal. They appeal that the financial institutions should relax such terms.

The company has sold one of their buildings to NSSA as a way of raising money to pay creditors and appealed to the governor to make cheap funds available in banks so that they can access them for recapitalization.

Last August, its creditors agreed to convert their undisclosed debt into equity to take the company out of judicial management.

Mangudya promised to address the issue, adding that ailing companies like National Blanket should be assisted financially so that they remain competitive. Competitiveness is the solution rather than importing things that can be produced locally.

The Company operates from Khami Road, Steelworks in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The Company has significantly invested in ‘state of the art’ manufacturing equipment in its weaving, warping, raising and finishing sections and it is one of the most sophisticated blanket factories on the continent - able to produce to world class standards.

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