FCZ said the establishment of FCS Timbers Botswana was the first step in the parent company’s ambitions to have a more regional focus. A further branch in Botswana will be opened within the next two years.

FCZ board chairman Livingston Gwata told a Harare presentation that the company’s turnover in Botswana was expected to grow by four times.

Mr Gwata also said FCZ was looking at relaunching its brand this year as part of further expansion into the Southern African Development Community region. The expansion is designed to reduce reliance on sawn timber as the main revenue source and provide more added value.

FCZ expects to post a US$26.5m profit during 2006, compared to US$1.8m last year.