BULAWAYO’S giant textile firm, National Blankets Limited, has resumed operations and is now producing as per order while pushing towards ramping up output.
The company has managed to dodge liquidation having come out of judicial management early this year after shareholders paid all the creditors their dues, which ran into millions of dollars.
National Blankets was placed under judicial management in 2012 following viability constraints.
The High Court in Bulawayo then issued an interim order in 2019 directing the company to be placed under liquidation after the court was satisfied that the company could not continue operating normally due to serious financial constraints it faced at the time.
This week the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sekai Nzenza, told Cabinet that National Blankets was back on its feet and that production processes had commenced as the company was aiming at regaining lost market.
“National Blankets (Pvt) Ltd has managed to service its machines, refurbish the building housing the machines, and is now producing as per order, and are in the process of re-establishing their previous markets,” said Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, in a post Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday.
Yesterday, the company premises in the Belmont industrial site were a hive of activity as workers who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that operations have resumed. The news crew was not allowed inside the factory as senior management was said to be away.
“We commenced operations in September but managers are not around to grant you permission to get inside,” said a member of staff. However, there was noticeable activity as workers were seen busy moving around and sound of operating machinery could be heard from the gate.
National Blankets major shareholder, Mr Tich Mujuru, was not reachable for comment on his mobile phone. He is, however, on record saying the company had emerged out of the woods.
“National Blankets has come out of judicial management and is out of liquidation after we paid all the creditors,” he told Business Chronicle in April.
At its peak, the textile firm was one of the market leaders in the blanket manufacturing business enjoying a 70 percent domestic market share. The company was also a major exporter of textile products to the Sadc region.
National Blankets is among Bulawayo’s iconic and oldest companies as its first equipment was installed in 1940.