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Lobels Bread shuts down Harare plant

LOBELS Bread, one of the country’s oldest bakeries, said yesterday it would suspend operations at its Harare plant for two months to pave way for refurbishment and installation of new equipment. “The Lobels Bread Harare plant will temporarily suspend operations from September 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012 to facilitate the total refurbishment of the current plant and installation of new equipment in line with the approved scheme of arrangement,” the company said in a statement.

But the Bulawayo plant will remain operational. The use of old equipment has negatively affected the company’s operations.

Operations were also affected by continuous labour disputes. It could not be immediately established how much Lobels would invest in the project.

But early this year, Lobels Holdings said it had required US$3,6 million to refurbish and replace its Harare and Bulawayo plants with a view to significantly expand production.

This would see the company achieving production levels of around 300 000 loaves a day.

Last month, Lobels managing director Mr Ngoni Mazango was quoted in the local media as saying the company had acquired equipment from the United States.

Lobels was once the leading bread-maker, but over the last few years the company been driven to the brink of collapse by mounting debts. At its peak, the firm produced about 300 000 loaves a day. But there has been a sharp decline in production in the past few years, due to inadequate funding for retooling and supporting operations.