Lessafre ramps up production, breaks into regional market

YEAST maker Lessafre Zimbabwe is now exporting 60% of its products into the region after ramping up production levels, a company official said.

Fidelity Mhlanga

In an interview this week, Lesaffre MD Bernard Laguerre told businessdigest the factory was operating at 90% capacity after commissioning a plant in Gweru last September.

“We commissioned new machinery last September at our Gweru factory. We can now produce 100 tonnes per month and we have a capacity to produce 10 000 tonnes per annum. So 60% of our produce is now being exported. We started exporting to Zambia in December last year and we are planning to export to Mozambique in March,” Laguerre said on Wednesday.

“Lesaffre is well-known in the world, we will continue to upgrade the plant in the next five years, we are looking to export even to Comesa,” Laguerre said.

Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said government was having discussions to set up a tripartite free trade area which will build into the continental free trade area.
“We hope you will continue to produce and export in the Sadc area and Comesa we as government we are in discussions to set up a tripartite free trade are which will build into the continental free trade area.Those are markets for you to explore,” he said.

Lessafre factory, which has been in existence since 1956, was automated and equipped with new tanks and pumps in September last year as a prelude to increasing production capacity from the current 6 000 to 10 000 tonnes per annum.

The firm has 30% of the local market as it is competing with imports. Laguerre hopes to claw back market share and sees the company ending the year with 80% market share.
French-based Lesaffre Global in September 2015 snapped up a 60% equity in Anchor Yeast through a US$14 million deal.

Lesaffre, which acquired the stake at US$8,4 million, has to date injected US$3 million into the company.

Lessafre produces fresh yeast for craft and industrial bakeries and has three distribution centres in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.

Laguerre said the company has no plans to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange as it was a family business.

“It’s a family business, all Lessafre companies are not listed in any stock exchange,” he said.

As a global key player in yeasts and fermentation, Lesaffre designs , manufactures and markets innovative solutions for baking, food taste, health care and biotechnology, achieving a turnover of more than 1,9 billion euros.

It employs 9 500 people globally in more than 75 subsidiaries, based in about 45 countries.

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