Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ONE of the few companies that have managed to weather the storm of the country’s turbulent economy, United Refineries Limited (URL) will soon start exports of its new range of soaps into Angola and Mozambique among other regional markets with plans of introducing more products next year.
In an interview with Sunday Business soon after the official unveiling of the company’s three new soap brands in Bulawayo last Friday, URL chief executive officer Mr Busisa Moyo said the newly introduced products will be exported to Mozambique and Angola.
The soaps which are being re-introduced namely Image, Vogue and Fresh Health Joy’s packaging is inscribed in English as well as Portuguese specifically aimed to target the two countries, which are Portuguese speaking nations.
“We were part of a mission together with ZimTrade that were with the Mozambican delegation that came across last week. We have already talked to them and we have also been talking to the Angolan market as to how we can get the products there. So we are still discussing how we can get our products in there but we are targeting those markets,” Mr Moyo said.
He said there was no need for local retail outlets to import cooking and soap products as local manufacturers had the capacity to meet the demand.
Over the years the country’s two largest soap and cooking oil manufacturers, URL and Olivine used to satisfy the local market with their Image soap which was produced by URL and Jade by Olivine as well as Geisha, which used to be produced locally.
“We believe we can supply the whole market, there is no need to import soap products. There are lots of imports, which means we should localise that demand because it means we are creating jobs elsewhere.
“In terms of price, we are actually very competitive and we are going to be even more competitive as we work on our cost environment, costing of electricity and other things,” Mr Moyo said.
He said the company was looking forward to introducing an array of liquid soap products next year.
“After this, on the soaps range we are going to be looking at the liquid side, these are your shampoos, liquid soap and conditioners, which are part of our personal care under the Vogue range, these are special, Vogue is our premium range.
“On the general hygiene we are also looking at liquids such as dish washing liquids, floor and toilet cleaners as well as air freshener sprays that are on the Impala range. We will be working on them in the new year,” Mr Moyo said.
He said the company’s newly introduced soaps have been well received stating that “already there is a lot of excitement, our orders have already multiplied by four.”
“On the cooking oil side we have got our strong brand Roil (and) what we are looking at (now) is margarine. We are also looking at adding things like washing powder on the Impala side. We are working on getting that equipment to make washing powder,” Mr Moyo said.