Ariston revenue up 50% on improved export pricing

Harare – Listed agriculture concern, Ariston Holdings Limited has reported a 50 percent increase in revenue to RTG$7.96 million for the half year ended 31 March 2019 compared to $5.31 million realised during the previous comparative period in 2018.

In a statement accompanying the company’s results, chief executive Paul Timothy Spear said the growth in revenue was driven by better pricing achieved on export crops due to quality improvement and also the effect of the interbank rate where the RTGS$ has depreciated against the US$.

Operating expenses grew by 249% against prior year, reflecting the effect of the depreciation of the RTGS$ against the US$.

“The majority of the Group’s suppliers were quoting prices in RTGS$ at an implied rate higher than the official interbank rate which contributed to the growth in operating expenses,” said Spear.

The Group recorded an operating loss before fair value adjustments of $2.90 million down from $0.63 million in prior year, while fair value adjustment for the period under review rose to $7.21 million compared to $0.50 million recorded in the prior comparative period.

According to Spear, the growth in fair value was largely driven by the effects of the underlying interbank exchange rate on the fair value of growing and mature crops destined for the export market which had not been harvested at half year.

Profit after tax rose 2671 percent to $0.79 million compared to $0.028 million for the prior comparative period.

The Group recorded impressive performances at its macademia, tea and stone and pome fruit operations.

At half year, 19 percent of macademia crop had been harvested and sold. Full year volumes are expected to be in line with prior year, while average export price is higher than prior year as quality has continued to improve.

However, year to date sales volumes at 289 tonnes compares 2 percent below prior year volumes recorded at 294 tonnes.

Tea production for the period improved by 6 percent to 1 954 tonnes from 1 851 tonnes in the prior comparative period.

Export tea sales for the period improved by 18 percent to 1 088 tonnes compared to 921 tonnes same period last year, while export prices improved by 13 percent.

Spear said that harvesting and selling of stone fruit had been completed as at the end of the review period.

“Production volumes grew by 37% to 1 207 tonnes compared to 881 tonnes for prior year,” he said.

“Sales at $0.82 million were 81 percent ahead of the prior comparative period.”

On the outlook, Spear said the positive trends shown in the first half of the year are expected to continue into the second half of the year.

“Export prices for macademia and tea are expected to remain stable at current levels,” he said.

Equity Axis News

Raynold Mhotseka

Raynold Mhotseka is a Journalism and Media Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe. He serves as a news writer at financial research firm, Equity Axis where he is currently on attachment. He can be contacted through the following email links, rayjnr.mhotseka@gmail.com and raynoldm@equityaxis.net.

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