Harare- Amalgamated Regional Trading (Holdings) recorded an 18% decline in overall volumes across all its business segments for the year ended 30 September 2019 due to the prevailing harsh economic conditions which have seen most businesses in the country recording similar loses.
On a more positive note, export volumes for batteries and paper increased by 4% and 7% respectively due to consistent product availability and increased selling effort in Zambia and Malawi, countries in which the Group has been expanding its business to in order to earn the much needed foreign currency.
According to the Group’s Chairman, Thomas Wushe solar and industrial batteries volumes also rose to 12% as compared to the previous as opportunities in the local market could not be fully exploited due to product supply gaps.
“The Softex drive to expand its product range yielded positive results as hygiene volumes increased by 8% from the prior year”, Mr Wushe also added.
The Group’s revenue for the period under review rose by 25% (183%) to $267 million due to the price increases effected in response to the increased cost of production in the period under review.
ART’s foreign currency exposure also reduced significantly from US$4 million as at half year to US$2 million as at 30 September 2019.
On the outlook, Mr Wushe stated that the Group will continue to defend its market share whilst exploiting new export markets and opportunities in the hygiene, solar and industrial battery segments.
This move has seen the Group under its Softex subsidiary branching out of the tissue manufacturing business into the making of detergents in the form of dishwashing liquid and toilet cleaner.
“Operational efficiencies will be enhanced to ensure that costs are contained and our customers costs are contained and our customers continue to receive quality products and superior service”, Mr Ushe added.
At an analyst briefing and results publication held earlier at the Group’s premises, the Chief Executive Officer, Milton Macheka also said the Group is expanding its foreign businesses having recently opened a branch in Mozambique, more branches in Zambia in addition to the existing ones and the Malawi branches.
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