French firm happy with Zim investments


Farai Mabeza

Saint-Gobain Construction Products Zimbabwe says it is happy to continue with its investments in Zimbabwe despite the numerous challenges facing the national economy.

The French-owned company has been operating in Zimbabwe since 1959 and opened a new plant worth US$1 million earlier this year.

Saint-Gobain chief executive officer for Africa, Jean Claude Lasserre, said its investments in Zimbabwe were still good despite challenges which included the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was speaking after touring the company’s Harare factory in the company of President Mnangagwa on Monday this week.

Zimbabwe has faced and continues to go through a myriad challenges including currency volatility, high inflation and political instability.

“We are present in Africa in 13 countries and we are very proud to continue investing in this country despite obviously some difficult economic crisis and some COVID problems but despite that we show resilience and will work on a long term basis,” Lasserre said.

He alluded to the company’s history of more than 350 years as evidence of the company’s resilience.

“We are here to stay and to continue to invest.”  

President Mnangagwa acknowledged that the company had persevered under difficult times in Zimbabwe.

“The construction industry and the built environment is an important indicator of the levels of investment and economic within any country.

“Its growth strategy and resultant continuous expansion attests to the confidence that the company has in the development potential of Zimbabwe,” President Mnangagwa said.  

The new US$1 million plant will produce 15 000 tonnes of tile adhesive per annum. The plant is environmentally friendly as it is solar powered and is 100% off the grid.

The company is part of a €42-billion-turnover French multinational that develops, manufactures and distributes materials and building solutions for construction, transportation, infrastructure and industrial applications.

The company is a leader in the manufacture of lightweight building materials and manufactures energy-conserving rhino board for all lining applications.

The Zimbabwean operations were founded in 1959 as Gypsum Industries. The business changed its name to BPB Gypsum in 2003, then to Saint-Gobain Construction Products Zimbabwe in 2018.

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