Jun. 30, 2015


Kevin Pitzer

Mozambique

Kevin Pitzer

General Director, Construa

TBY talks to Kevin Pitzer, General Director of Construa, on the stock market, recycling materials, and maintaining a solid brand.

What is Construa's geographical spread in Mozambique?

Our annual group revenue is roughly $100 million. We are currently considered to be the largest single builders' merchant in the country, and have 20 outlets nationwide including the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Sofala, Tete, Manica, Inhambane, and Zambezia. Over the next year and a half we will open a further five in the north of the country where we still do not have a major presence.

What key strategies have you set for Construa for the next five years?

We ultimately want to be listed on the stock exchange, which to date has seen only limited development. The stock exchange has been around for some years but remains rather illiquid. Yet I believe that as more investors pursuing projects enter the nation, participation will increase among local entities. From what I have understood, it is the government's intention for companies to release stock for trading on the stock exchange to generate capital that would enable local companies to participate in future ventures.

How is Construa taking advantage of the construction boom in the country?

We sell building materials, but also offer technical services where we design and manufacture roofing structures for housing or office complexes. That is to say, we design solutions and manufacture them for construction contractors.

What is Construa's commitment to the recycling of construction materials?

We recycle scrap metals and manufacture these into rebar used in concrete foundations and columns. We have five factories, where we manufacture steel, roof tiles, cement tile adhesive, and our own paint.

What are your strategies to set yourself apart from your competitors?

We focus on cost and quality. We have built ourselves over the years to the extent where we benefit from economies of scale. What we do is offer the best quality for the best price. We represent and co-represent certain leading global brands, and Mozambicans are particularly brand-conscious. We import globally from an array of countries, and we also support local manufacture where we can. For example, we are the largest retail distributor for Mozambique's primary cement manufacturer.

How would you describe Construa's commitment to quality?

We make sure to provide high-quality products and services. All of our factories have laboratories where our materials are tested. I actually employ the local engineering authority to audit my chemists to assure the best quality. My chemists and laboratory technicians give me the results of their work, whereupon once a week the engineering laboratory of Mozambique will take samples for testing. Our local engineering authority's laboratory is EU compliant.

What are the specific challenges for the construction sector in Mozambique?

We need to improve our infrastructure, transport, and logistics capacity, and distances are a problem too. Construction materials are generally of a heavy, bulky nature. It seems everyone in Mozambique sells on parity, and that pushes up the costs tremendously, in terms of logistics, customs clearing, and so forth. All of these add huge costs because of the time it takes to clear goods.

How would you describe the business environment of Mozambique to potential international investors?

Anyone who does invest here should give a lot of slack to people on the ground and believe in them. I have seen businesses fail here because they have tried to run them from a foreign boardroom.

What is your vision for the future of Construa in Mozambique?

Construa has always been a good brand in Mozambique, and if you ask people here, they know Construa. But we need to grow further. So, by the time we manage to list, if it ever happens, I do believe there are a lot of local people who would be eager to buy stock in our business. People have seen our operation grow nationwide, having begun from a modest office. They have also seen the factories expand and developed trust in our business. We are a Mozambican company. Both my partner and I are citizens making it 100% national company.

ADVERTISEMENT