The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
FORMER stationery manufacturing giant, Marvo Stationery Manufacturers, is making significant strides to revive its operations, which were halted more than five years ago due to lack of adequate working capital.
Marvo Stationery Manufacturers judicial manager Mr Crispen Mwete of C Mwete and Company said the company has resumed operations albeit at a minimum level while it awaits a potential investor to inject capital into its business.
The Bulawayo-based company has started delivering exercise books as per order to a number of retail outlets in the city.
“We are still looking forward to results from investors but we probably believe for now they (investors) are probably waiting to see what happens in terms of the post-election period but we have also made an initiative to start operations on a small scale using the raw materials that are there presently. (We are) Selling the stocks that are there now and we are going to use that to actually buy raw materials,” said Mr Mwete.
He expressed optimism that the company might resume full throttle operations before the end of the year.
“As we speak we have already made deliveries to a few supermarkets in Bulawayo. It’s not true that Marvo is gone, Marvo is very much alive and within the next three to four months we might be back in full operation,” said Mr Mwete.
Marvo Stationery Manufacturers was placed under judicial management in September 2014 as it struggled to settle a debt of about $2,5 million accrued after failing to pay its creditors and a huge wage bill backlog.
The stationery manufacturer has over the years failed to woo investors with most of its deals falling by the wayside before fruition.
In 2014, a South African firm showed interest to invest in the company but the deal fell through before anything concrete could be reached and again two years ago another transaction with one of the biggest stationery retail outlets, Lexus Stationery of Botswana failed to take off.
The company needs about $1,5 million to recapitalise, money which will be directed towards purchasing of raw material as well as replacing part of its antiquated machinery.
“We would need raw material that goes for about 90 days, which is about 90 tonnes per month for a full operation and that is plus or minus $500 000 but because of our circumstances we are working on 30 tonnes per month in the hope of building up from there. However, our business plan incorporates something like $1,5 million. The reason we need the $1,5 million is to actually modernise our plant, some of the machinery is antiquated and really outdated,” said Mr Mwete.
He said there was still a huge demand for stationery on the local market to enable the company to maintain itself as a going concern.
“We believe there is a big demand for our products and currently whichever shops we have visited want the books, but for now we don’t have the capacity until we recapitalise but there is a big demand,” said Mr Mwete.
Marvo Stationery Manufacturers was established in 1966 and at its peak it used to employ more than 500 workers. Today its workforce stands at 200.
Apart from manufacturing exercise books, the company used to produce hard cover books, executive pads, lever arch files, pen carbon books and envelopes.