A. F. Philip & Co Ltd

A. F. Philip & Co Ltd


The Philips were descendants of the Scottish missionary and superintendent of the London Missionary Society, Dr John Philip. The business began as timber importers in Port Elizabeth and extended it through Bulawayo to Livingstone where they had a branch by 1914. Their timber manager was W E Tongue, and their manager in Livingstone was C S ‘Charlie’ Knight.

In 1916, a partnership between Messrs Tombous, Salisbury, Jacobs Limited, Messrs A. F. Philips and Co (Bulawayo), and W. E. Tongue (Southern Rhodesia) formed the Zambezi Sawmills  to exploit forests of Rhodesian Teak on the north bank of the Zambezi above Livingstone.

A.F. Philip & Company became United Builders Merchants Ltd. in 1960 and is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. United Builders Merchants Ltd. formerly operated as subsidiary of Radar Holdings Ltd. United Builders Merchants Ltd. distributes building materials and hardware products in Zimbabwe. It offers building, hardware, and plumbing products.



  • An African Trading Empire: The Story of Susman Brothers and Wulfson, 1901-2005 – Hugh Macmillian
  • James Gavin