Top 10 companies in Zambia

Birds eye view of Zambia's capital, Lusaka

The performance of companies and their revenue generating power in an economy are a window into the overall economic performance and size. A team of ZBT analysts has conducted a review of Zambian companies whose results are publicly available or were confirmed with credible sources within the respective industries or companies. These results as as per performance reports and income statements for the year ended 2015.

The numbers are expressed in US$ equivalent, as the applicable exchange rates by 31st December 2015 was used. Below is how they rank:

1. Kansanshi mining (Revenue of $1.7 billion)

The Kansanshi mine, the largest copper mine in Africa, is owned and operated by Kansanshi Mining PLC which is 80% owned by a First Quantum subsidiary. The remaining 20% is owned by a subsidiary of ZCCM. The mine is located approximately 10 kilometres north of the town of Solwezi and 180 kilometres to the northwest of the Copperbelt town of Chingola.

The mine has undergone several expansions since it began operating in 2005. From an initial production capacity of 110,000 tonnes of copper, Kansanshi is now capable of producing 340,000 tonnes of copper and more than 120,000 ounces of gold per year. A multi-stage expansion project aims to increase copper output capacity to approximately 400,000 tonnes after 2015.

2. Konkola Copper Mines (Revenue of $1.1 billion)

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is Zambia’s largest integrated copper producer, with an entire production value chain comprising of open pit and underground mines, concentrators, a state-of-the-art smelter, a tailings leach plant and a refinery. It is the only mining company in the country that has operations in four locations, including Chingola, Chililabombwe, Nampundwe and Kitwe, playing a key role in the communities around these mining areas.

3. Zesco (Revenue of $989 million*)

ZESCO Limited is a vertically integrated electricity utility, which generates, transmits, distributes and supplies electricity in Zambia. It is a public utility, with the Government of the Republic of Zambia being a sole shareholder.

According to the 2014 ERB sector report, the total electricity generated by Zesco in 2014 was 14,453GWh, using this as an estimate for total billing and applying the conservative ZESCO adjusted tariff of a new minimum of US cents 6.84 per kWh. Zesco has the potential to become the biggest corporation in Zambia by actual revenue if all necessary controls and sound corporate governance practices are adopted.

4. Mopani Copper Mines (Revenue of $828 million)

Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) is a Zambian registered copper mine owned by ZCCM-IH (10%), Glencore (73.1%) and First Quantum Minerals (16.9%). In April 2000, Mopani purchased assets of the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Limited (ZCCM) comprising underground mines, a concentrator, a smelter and a refinery at Mufulira mine site and underground mines, open pits, a concentrator and a cobalt plant at Nkana mine site in Kitwe.

5. Copperbelt Energy Corporation (Revenue of $617 million)

The Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC), a member of Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) and listed on the Lusaka Securities Exchange, is an independent power transmission and quality electricity distribution company with interests in Zambia and sub-Saharan Africa, including optic fibre based telecommunications. As a developer of energy infrastructure in Africa, CEC is respected in the region for its skills in designing and operating transmission systems and its status as an emerging independent power generating company

6. MTN Zambia ( Revenue of $289 million)

MTN is a global communications and cellular network, it is Zambia’s largest mobile & data network provider and successful telecommunications company, focused on growing its African footprint. MTN Zambia forms an integral part of this footprint through focusing on building employee and client relationships, while leading the way in connectivity enhancement. MTN main rival in Zambia is Airtel, a former market leader.

MTN Zambia has remained a privately held company, despite the call from government to list on the public bourse to level the playing field. Some industry players have attributed its current performance and overtaking of Airtel due to their private ownership status advantage with limited disclosure responsibilities compared to rival Airtel, which is publicly listed.

7. Puma Energy Zambia ($284 million)

Puma Energy Zambia is seeing a rapid growth of oil consumption, with levels currently standing at around 7% year on year. As such, the company has successfully grown its B2B portfolios in Zambia by providing fuels, lubricants and other oil products to key clients in sectors such as mining and transportation.

Puma is bolstering its provision of services to the aviation industry; its a provider of avgas and a trusted supplier of jet fuel in Zambia. The company also operate one of the largest privately owned oil products storage facilities in the country. Its two terminals provide a storage capacity of 12,000m³. It has expanded our retail network and currently has 57 retail sites.

8. Zambeef (Revenue of $220 million)

Zambeef Products PLC (Zambeef) is the largest vertically integrated food retailing brand in Zambia. The Group is principally involved in the production, processing, distribution and retailing of beef, chicken, pork, milk, dairy products, eggs, stockfeed and our.

The Group also has large row cropping operations (principally maize, soya beans and wheat), with approximately 7,971 hectares of row crops under irrigation, which are planted twice a year and a further 8,623 hectares of rain fed/dry-land crops available for planting each year. The Group is also expanding its West Africa operations in Nigeria and Ghana.

9. Zambian Breweries (Revenue of $210 million)

Zambian Breweries Plc was part of the SABMiller Group, which sold out to Ab InBev to form the world’s largest brewer. The company was established in Zambia in 1968 and its product range has grown to include clear beers such as Mosi Lager, Castle Lager, Carling Black Label and Eagle Lager as well as the Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta and Schweppes brands and Burn energy drink.

The Company aims to create long-term sustainable growth through a combination of technical efficiency, marketing and brand strength, and strategic investment. It is currently undergoing structural changes to align to its new owner, Ab ImBev.

10. Airtel Zambia (Revenue of $208 million)

Airtel Networks Zambia plc is incorporated in Zambia under the Zambia Companies Act as a public limited company. The Company is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange and was incorporated in 1998 as Celtel Zambia Plc. The company is majority owned by Indian mobile giant, Bharti Airtel. It has an ongoing battle for market leadership with South African owned Zambian subsidiary, MTN. It previously held the market leadership position in Zambia but lost out along the years. Airtel Zambia’s holding company recently refuted media claims that Orange, a French mobile telecoms company was buying off and taking over all its Africa operations. This was after Airtel had sold off its businesses in smaller markets in west Africa.

The top 10 companies above cumulatively have a combined revenue of about $6.5 billion, which is comparable and slightly over Zambia’s total annual state budget for 2017. One of the biggest drawbacks has been most mining companies banking of their copper sales proceeds offshore, which if negotiated to hit the Zambian banking system could lead to massive transformation as far as foreign exchange availability is concerned as well as lending funds availability for development.

*Our analysts have also applied a 2014 production numbers to arrive at the 2015 expected revenue for one company, Zesco, as its income results were not publicly available. For comments on companies that should have made the top 10, please email