Zimbabwe coal producer Hwange expects to return to profit in second half

HARARE, June 30 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe coal producer Hwange Colliery expects to return to profit in the second half, for the first time since the country dumped its currency for the U.S. dollar in 2009, as it triples output, its chairman said.

Hwange, in which the government is the biggest shareholder with a 37 percent stake, is Zimbabwe's second-largest coal producer and supplies coke to state-owned electricity generating firm Zimbabwe Power Company.

"From July, Hwange will start trading profitably, generating a net profit," Winston Chitando told reporters after the company's annual general meeting on Friday in Harare.

Hwange, like many state-owned companies, has not made a profit since 2009 and has been cutting its 3,000 strong workforce by a third to slash costs. Its loss narrowed to $89 million last year from $105 million in 2015.

The company expects coal production to rise to 230,000 tonnes from this month, compared to a monthly average of 80,000 tonnes in the past year, Chitando said. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Susan Fenton)