Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
AFTER re-establishing itself on the domestic market, Aurex Holdings, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is now looking to enter export markets through strategic partnerships and tolling arrangements.The jewellery and diamond cutting company said preliminary work to enter into identified export markets has already commenced.
“There is potential business in the SADC region . . . exporting to retailers and wholesalers,” general manager Engineer Pasipaipa Gerald Nhemachena-Munhumutema told The Herald Business this week.
Interest is also on the broader European market. Eng Nhemachena-Munhumutema said Aurex’s focus was to regain its position on the export market as was the case when the company was set up in 1992. This time, in addition to jewellery products, Aurex is looking to export cut and polished diamonds. However, the company has to deal with different international marketing dynamics compared to the past.
Eng Nhemachena-Munhumutema said Aurex had been fully transformed to an extent that the only limitation to increased capacity utilisation was securing the export markets.
“Since the revamping of operations in 2015, Aurex has managed to re-establish itself as the jeweller of first choice on the local market. The focus has been to upscale production operations, re-horn skills and improving operational efficiencies to provide genuine jewellery at affordable prices. Aurex products are available through branded jewellery shop outlets in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare.”
Eng Nhemachena-Munhumutema said the local market had been very supportive and responsive to the high quality, genuine and affordable jewellery being offered by the company. Aurex enjoys more than 50 percent of the local bridal jewellery market, while the share of the fashion jewellery is still on the lower side but is making inroads into that segment.
The jewellery industry suffered in years prior to 2015 when production at Aurex had slumped. There was an influx of fake jewellery imports flooding the local markets. While these provided a relief for sometime, the non-durability of these imitations and the negative health exposure associated with these plated products have become apparent with the presence of the genuine and affordable jewellery coming from Aurex.
The industry was also associated with wrong perception that genuine jewellery is expensive.
The recapitalisation of Aurex by the Reserve Bank, the sole shareholder, reinvigorated the muscle framework on which operations are anchored and also injected the working capital life blood that was a necessity to re-start production operations in earnest.
“A local network of branded retail shops now affords Zimbabweans the opportunity to buy locally made genuine jewellery to make them look good and comfortable. Employment levels have grown from a low of around 60 employees to around 130 now.
“The company is also working closely with universities and polytechnic colleges, offering attachments to students in sales and marketing, production, accounting, purchasing, risk management, human resources and engineering,” he said.