Late 1943 – Colcom’s origins are in a National Pig Breeders Co-operative established to assist with the marketing of their pigs. The then Cold Storage Commission (CSC) acted as their agents until 1957 when it was agreed the CSC’s pig processing facilities should be leased to a new commercial subsidiary of the National Pig Breeders’ Co-op, named Colcom Products Central Co-op Ltd.
1961 – Colcom’s own processing factory was built on the present site in Harare and officially opened in January 1962.
Subsequent years –Colcom continued to invest in additional facilities and improvements to the Harare factory, including a new canning factory, by-products factory and freezer block; it also constructed and opened a new modern factory in Bulawayo, and established smaller facilities and depots in Masvingo, Gweru and Mutare.
1993 -It was decided to change from a Co-operative to a publicly quoted company, and Colcom Holdings was successfully floated on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Funds raised from the flotation, and from a subsequent successful Rights Issue, were used to expand, refurbish and update existing facilities in keeping with world standards and for the development of new wholesale and retail outlets.
In 1995 – Recognising the on-going need to upgrade employee skills and factory technology, Colcom entered into a three-year cooperation agreement with Globe Meat Technology of Denmark. An associate venture in Zimbabwe was entered into with the Freddy Hirsch group, which manufactures and supplies natural and synthetic sausage casings and ingredients, supporting the meat industry, and butchery equipment. (This associate venture continued until 2018.)
1997 – A “Cash & Carry” wholesale shop opened in Harare. (Second “Cash & Carry” later opened at Colcom’s depot in Mutare.)
1998 -In line with international trends, Colcom vertically integrated its operations in a joint venture world-class state-of-the-art Pig Unit, Triple C Pigs (this became wholly owned by Colcom in 2004).
Late 2001 – Colcom acquired Danmeats, incorporating the Oscars brand, in Ruwa. This led to rationalisation of processing at that stage and the subsequent construction of a new cold store at Ruwa, with capacity for storing 600 metric tonnes under controlled frozen conditions and blast freezing of 45 metric tonnes of product.
Colcom diversified into other meats and introduced a dual slaughter line for pigs and beef in Bulawayo. (The Bulawayo abattoir was subsequently leased out.) Joint venture projects were started on Ostrich Breeding and Beef Breeding but these were discontinued after a few years due to viability challenges.
2003 – Colcom established Associated Meat Packers (AMP), principally to handle its diversification into beef. AMP subsequently became a joint business venture.
2004/early 2005 – Colcom acquired the 50% of Triple C Pigs shares held by CC Sales. This was done with the assistance of Innscor Africa Ltd who, in return for equity in Colcom, funded the purchase.
Together with Innscor’s underwriting of Colcom’s Rights Issue in mid-2004 Innscor became the largest shareholder in Colcom.
Innscor then made an unconditional offer to the minority shareholders in Colcom to obtain their shares, which resulted in Innscor obtaining a majority shareholding in Colcom, though Colcom continued as a publicly quoted company. (Innscor is itself publicly quoted and is one of Zimbabwe’s largest organisations with wide-ranging interests in agro-processing, manufacturing, distribution and retail in Zimbabwe and other African countries.)
2005 – A restructuring and streamlining exercise formed the basis for the creation of Strategic Business Units under the sub-umbrella of Colcom Foods, and also in further joint ventures on Colcom’s Canned products and Colcom Pies.
New distributorships were established to cover Matabeleland, Midlands and Manicaland, in some cases using Colcom’s previous premises in respective cities.
2007 – AMP commenced an annual programme of rolling out Texas Meats retail butchery shops.
2009 – Triple C Pigs started increasing its production at an auxiliary site. (Villa Franca)
2010 – Investment in a new co-extrusion sausage making line and spiral freezer, and in a swing compressor and condenser to upgrade refrigeration/cold chain at Colcom’s factory. Following the use of simple austerity packaging during hyperinflationary years Colcom introduced completely new and informative packaging for its products.
2011 – Major restructuring and streamlining of the group. This included the cessation of Strategic Business Units, and joint ventures in Canning and Pies reverting to Colcom. Establishment of ‘The Colcom Kitchen’ in Borrowdale principally for cooking demonstrations and training. (Moved to the Colcom Complex in late 2013). Establishment of new Colcom and franchise shops.
2012 – AMP established its own factory shop and commenced an annual programme of rolling out Texas Meats retail butchery shops. A phased automatic feeding system was started at Triple C Pigs.
2013 – A new grain storage shed with a capacity for 4500 tonnes of bagged product was constructed at Triple C Pigs.
New generators, main boiler and processing equipment were installed at Colcom’s factory.
2014 – Commissioning of new emulsification, cooking, cooling and packaging equipment and technologies at Colcom’s factory.
Colcom’s long-standing food safety management system continued to be upgraded as the company embarked on HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) accreditation. Triple C Pigs started increasing its production at an auxiliary site. (Villa Franca)
2015 -AMP’s factory space was doubled, including new processing and refrigeration facilities. Renewed focus on Human Capital including a structured performance management programme and training.
New automated pie factory commissioned.
2017 -Triple C Pigs started production at a third auxiliary site. (Richlands)
Innscor made an offer to buy out shares held by minority shareholders in Colcom in exchange for Innscor shares. As a result, Innscor assumed 100% ownership of Colcom at the end of the year and Colcom was delisted from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. At that time the Colcom operations were divisionalised into Innscor Africa Ltd.
2018 -In January Innscor transferred the Bakers’ Inn pie operation in Harare to the Colcom management team.
Colcom achieved its 75th Anniversary.