By Oliver Kazunga
Ingwebu Breweries in Bulawayo intends to further diversify by producing bottled water.
The Bulawayo Municipal Commercial Undertaking (BMCU) company is already producing amahewu and hopes to capture part of the competitive market share and increase its profitability.
Diversification is part of the company’s strategy to consolidate its position after it came out of a loss-making position early this year.
The entity has, however, shelved plans to raise US$20 million from the market for retooling.
During the 2021 Bulawayo City Council budget consultative virtual meeting on Friday, the council’s finance director, Mr Kimpton Ndimande said Ingwebu was slowly regaining lost ground.
“Under our commercialised entities, we have got Ingwebu Breweries that recently diversified into the production of amahewu and in that product we now have banana flavour in the market. We also have bottled water in the pipeline,” he said.
Mr Ndimande said the beverages producer has been faced with a highly competitive market hence the company has not declared a dividend. Ingwebu came out of the woods to a sound financial footing following the successful implementation of a turnaround strategy.
Through the successful turnaround strategy, Ingwebu has managed to introduce new product lines that include the 1,5 litre and 2-litre calabash of opaque beer and diversifying into mahewu production.
This has seen the company improve its capacity utilisation levels to 95 percent early this year from 65 percent.
Over the years, the brewery faced viability concerns underpinned by falling demand for its traditional products and the high cost of operating antiquated equipment.
These negatively impacted on its ability to contribute revenue to the local authority.
Ingwebu was established in 1946 as a department of BCC and in 1996, council established a wholly-owned business entity called BMCU. The Chronicle