Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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David Whitehead resumes operations

David Whitehead resumes operations

Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
David Whitehead Textiles resumed operations this week following four years of inactivity. The textile company restarted operations, beginning with a shorter working capital turnaround route of converting yarn into fabrics, then dyeing, printing and finishing of the fabrics, judicial manager Mr Knowledge Hofisi said yesterday.

“We resumed operations yesterday after the National Social Security Authority commissioned our boilers on Monday following extensive tests and inspections by the authority and independent assessors,” said Mr Hofisi.

“In the first phase, we are starting with the company’s traditional, standard and strong brands such as cotton workwear (heavy and light), cotton school prints, toptex prints among others. The resumption of operations is a profitable moment for David Whitehead Textiles Limited.”

David Whitehead was placed under provisional judicial management in December 2010 before confirmation of the final order in March this year. Mr Hofisi was appointed final judicial manager, taking over from Mr Wensely Militala.

The company used to produce at least 20 million metres of fabric per year while directly employing 3 000 workers and thousands in down and upstream industries.

Mr Hofisi said the company, which used to be the largest textile company in the country would move on to other popular lines like school poly or cotton shirting, school hartelle, java prints, knitgoods and socks during the second phase.

“We are starting with 60 to 70 looms (weavers) of the remaining 100 looms installed capacity. We will be producing an average of 450 000 metres of fabric per month,” he said.

He said the company had recalled some former workers.

“We will be employing about 330 people in this phase. We have re-engaged most of our trained, skilled and experienced manpower such that we hit the ground running.”

Mr Hofisi said the company had received tremendous support from suppliers who have seen it fit to support their vision and business plan. Similarly, the company also had tremendous support from “our old customers who are confident of the technical teams appointed by the judicial manager and have given us their business”.

“Although there will invariably be some teething problems since the plant has been idle for four years, we are very satisfied with the maintenance work carried out by our teams since May 2014 and we are confident we will meet our delivery schedules.”

Working capital was raised from the disposal of non-core assets in conformity with recommendations set out in the business rescue plan.

DW has a huge asset base that is being under- utilised and, in a trading environment where the cost of borrowing is prohibitive, the disposal of non-core assets will yield positive results.

“Debt capital is also being mobilised from local financial institutions managing the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund,” Mr Hofisi said in July this year.


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