David Whitehead resumes operations

Source: David Whitehead resumes operations | Herald (Business)

Business Reporter
TEXTILE Company, David Whitehead Limited (DWTL), has resumed operations at its Chegutu factory after receiving a $2 million bailout from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The company had ceased operations about two years ago due to working capital constraints.
“We started last week and we have been building the stocks of fabric and I can safely say that we have around 4 000 metres that have been accumulated at this moment,” DWTL chief production officer Tendayi Chetse told The Herald Business last week. What we need is to get to levels of 100 000-120 000 metres then we bring in the wet process (which involves dying and printing of the fabric).

“So we are looking towards the end of February to start the wet process when we have got enough fabric. If we bring in the wet process (now) we will get to a situation where we will be operating on a start stop basis.” Mr Chetse said the company was currently producing heavy weight fabric and would start manufacturing light weight fabric by end of this week. He said the company was looking at gradually increasing weaving and would bring up more loom machines.

“In total, the weaving shed consists of 96 looms, but the operational looms that are there at the moment are 48. We are aiming to get to the 48, which should be some time from maybe mid to end of February and then the other half, which consists 48 looms. The company has rehired about 100 workers who are working on a three hours shift. DWTL owes various creditors about $13 million including workers’ outstanding wages.

Formerly listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, DWTL was placed under provisional judicial management in December 2010 before confirmation of the final order in March 2015. It was delisted in 2009 following the acquisition of a controlling stake by Elgate Holdings, which has since been reversed after it failed to pay for the stake. DWTL used to produce 20 million metres of fabric per year while directly employing 3 000 workers and thousands in down and upstream industries.

While the company will start by focusing on supplying the domestic market, it would in future also tap into regional countries, judicial manager Mr Knowledge Hofisi told this newspaper in December last year. He also said that after resuming operations, the company would embark on balance sheet restructuring to make it attractive to institutional investors.

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