Amid the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listings trends the legendary manufacturer and supplier of power distribution cables and information transmission facilities and allied products in southern and central Africa, the Central African Cables (CAFCA). It got listed on ZSE in February 1990.
CAFCA fared on the forefront of the cable industry, manufacturing to regional and international standards.
The company is subject to regional cross-listing having its second listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). It is part of South Africa’s CBI Electric African Cables.
The trading name since establishment in August 1947 until November 1983 was Rhodesia Cables Limited. Later it was BICC-CAFCA with a subsidiary BICC Central Africa Limited, all incorporated in Zimbabwe. Transformation from BICC CAFCA Limited to CAFCA was subject to shareholders’ approval at a meeting held on June 19, 2001.
However, approval from the Zimbabwe Registrar of Companies came in April 2010 and renaming materialised on November 22, 2010.
Perchance, of paramount significance was the virtuoso turnaround when BICC-CAFCA recuperated from a loss of $3,6 million in 1996 to post a profit of $9,4 million in 1997. Exquisite that was in a compressed space.
In 1996, the company opened a new telecommunications cable production facility in Zimbabwe to manufacture internal, external and aerial metallic cable and allied products mainly supplied to the Zimbabwe Post and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC). CAFCA became the first Zimbabwean company to achieve ISO 9002 accreditation.
Upgrading to ISO 9001:2000 equipped the country to design as well as produce cabling to international standards.
In 1999, it became the first cable company in sub-Saharan Africa to be awarded the environmental standard, ISO 14.001:2004.
Twice CAFCA won the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries’ (CZI) Best Exporter of the Year Award, emerging the First Runner-up in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Twice it won the National Industrial Energy Efficiency Award for 2011 and for 2013 and 2014 combined.
Long-term supply contracts dating back to 1980s fuelled growth.
These comprise the Anglo-American Corporation annual supply contract 1985-2000, BHP Power Corporation 1996-1999, Botswana Power Corporation (Split concentric annual supply) 2000-2004, Botswana. Ministry of Health (low smoke and fume white stripe cables) 2002-2004, ZESA and PTC contracts and several more.
2013 saw the company succumbing to tight liquidity and in dire need of capital injection. The ageing plant added to a host of challenges that effected revenue recession from US$23,9 million in the year to US$23,6 million in 2014.
The Copper Recycling Project then secured operations while investment in machine capacity was projected to release capacity and increase exports.
Under the Copper Barter Recycling deal with the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC), CAFCA supplied aluminium conductor cables to ZETDC in exchange for copper scrap.
Consequentially, CAFCA recovered from a revenue loss of US$23,6 million in 2014 to post a gain of US$29,3 million in 2015.
The inheriting combination of an import protection regime and cost containment measures channelled revenues northward to mammoth figures with 2018 revenue mounting up to US$30,4 million.