Merlin readies to resume production

Merlin readies to resume production
Published: 23 January 2018
TEXTILE manufacturing concern, Merlin has stockpiled 25 tonnes of yarn at its factory in Bulawayo as it prepares to resume production next month.

The company suspended production long back and has been under judicial management since 2012.

Early this month, the company said it was embarking on a gradual re-employment of former workers underpinned by a business turnaround strategy following the injection of $2.1 million minimum working capital.

In the long-term, the company requires at least $30 million to operate at full capacity.

The $2.1 million working capital was sourced from one of Merlin's creditors and under the business revival plan the working capital will be for carrying out minor repairs and maintenance on selected machinery and equipment.

In an interview yesterday, the firm's workers committee chairman Mr Nyasha Mugurasave said maintenance works of the factory machinery were in progress and would be complete in the next few weeks.

"Maintenance works started a week ago and by the second week of February we would have finished the exercise before actual production resumes mid next month.

"In preparation for production, we have a 25-tonne stockpile of yarn that we secured from a supplier in Harare," he said.

Yarn is one of the critical raw materials in the textile industry.

As part of its market re-penetration, the manufacturing concern would start by producing samples to solicit orders.

"We have since received one of our biggest orders from Harare and as we resume production, we will be producing for that customer," said Mr Mugurasave.

Before its closure, the textile company produced high quality textile products like napkins and towels.

In line with modern fashion trends, Merlin would now be producing high demand products such as face towels, morning gowns, bed sheets, baby carriers, bath mats, wrappers and kitchen towels.

The textile firm's judicial manager Mr Cecil Madondo would not be drawn into giving more details yesterday as he was in a meeting but only said:

"There is some activity going on at the factory right now."

Mr Madondo is on record saying the employment process at Merlin would be gradual starting with former workers as production will be on a small-scale.

One of the oldest textile giants in Bulawayo, Merlin was established in the 1950s and used to employ more than 1 000 workers.

As it is resuscitated, it is envisaged that the textile firm would tap into the Special Economic Zones model following its proposal to establish a ginnery expected to add impetus to the firm's survival.

Under the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) initiative, which is in sync with the value addition and beneficiation thrust under Zim-Asset, the Government has earmarked Bulawayo for industrialisation.

Recently, the company postponed an auction sale of non-core assets (not in use) in Bulawayo pending an approval from the High Court.

In terms of Section 307 of the Companies Act, the judicial manager has to seek approval from the High Court to conduct an auction sale.
- chronicle
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