Genesis of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed paramount manufacturer and distributor of farming equipment in Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa, Zimplow, was inextricably linked with the dawn of the agricultural machinery and engineering industry that progressively embraced metal extraction and refining, fabrication, alloying, machining and assembling.
The company emerged in 1939 as the Rhodesian Plough and Machinery Company. Stimulus behind the establishment was the need for readiness in the face of threats of import disruptions promised then by the imminent The Second World War.
Importation of components and local assembling characterised the major operations prior to the verge of the war. Against this backdrop, establishment was in accord with the zeal to achieve self-sufficiency in agriculture implements.
Sustainability was hinged on location. Zimplow was strategically located in Bulawayo close to the repertoire of components, Bulawayo Steel Products. The city was a hub of the rail network that effectively linked the company with the local and foreign market. The current site was purchased in 1941.
Prior to diversification, Zimplow’s major operations revolved around animal-traction technology largely with an export orientation.
At independence the name changed from Rhoplow to Zimplow. A South African company Fedmech Holdings controlled Zimplow then through majority shareholding.
The company’s export growth improved in the early years of independence particularly in 1982 when drought reduced local purchasing power. Markets were consolidated throughout the SADC region.
Control was localised in 1983 when Fedmech disposed its shares for purchase by Rothmans of Pall (Zimbabwe) Limited. Current ownership is diverse through the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Growth was further propelled by acquisitions of Bulawayo Steel Products in 1996, CT Bolts (2006), and Tassburg (2008). 100 percent of Tractive Power Holdings was acquired through a staggering process between 2012 and 2013.
To date Zimplow prides itself of a wide range of agriculture, infrastructure and mining products. Products expanded from the ox-drawn plough to branded tractors, caterpillars, mining machinery, combine harvesters, and planters among others.
Current operations are contacted through four divisions namely, Barzem, Mealie Brand, CT Bolts and Farmec. The divisions were won as the Group expanded through a chain of acquisitions and mergers.
Barzem, a local representative of Caterpillar and Hyster, the world-leading manufacturers of earth-moving equipment and forklift products, distributes mostly mining products like bulldozers, wheel loaders, motor graders, excavators and dump trucks among others.
Mealie Brand is the largest manufacturer and distributor of agricultural implements in sub-Saharan Africa. CT Bolts on its part is the main supplier of fasteners and bolts among other like repair parts. The fourth division, Farmec, holds franchise agreements for Massey Ferguson tractors, combine harvesters and related equipment, Perkins engines and generator sets, Monosem planters, Falcon equipment, Ferri and Howard and Vicom among other leading global brands.