ART’s FY volumes surge despite tough operating environment

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  • Revenue increased by 28%
  • Battery segment continued to drive the Group’s performance
  • Recorded significant fair value losses on biological assets and investment property

Harare – ZSE-listed Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) Corporation reported a better volumes performance in the year ended 30 September 2020 despite operational challenges faced during the period. The Group’s overall volumes for the year increased by 8% compared to prior year.

Export volumes were 3 percentage points ahead of last year despite pricing challenges emanating from instability of the regional currencies.

Group chairperson Thomas Wushe said, “Performance across the business units was affected by inconsistent power supply in the first half of the year and COVID-19 related trade and supply disruptions in the second half of the year.”

However, the Group remained resilient despite the challenges with revenue coming in at ZWL2.601 billion, an increase of 28% on prior year due to increased volumes and inflation induced price adjustments.

With operations in Zimbabwe and Zambia, ART is involved in manufacturing and retailing of lead-acid batteries, stationery, hygiene products and Forestry resource management.

The batteries business segment continued to drive the Group’s performance with battery volumes increasing by 17% for the year. Export volumes increased by 13% for the year as the division managed to grow its presence in the region.

Timber sales volumes for the year increased by 37% attributed to improved milling efficiencies and firm demand. Operations at the estates remained largely unaffected and there were no major fire incidents during the period.

Dr Wushe said softex tissue and eversharp volumes were 20% and 33% lower than prior year respectively due to reduced disposable incomes and inconsistent supply of cheaper recycled bulk tissue as well as the closure of schools during the period under review.

The Group felt the pinch from the biting economy reflected by significant fair value losses on biological assets and investment property of ZWL218 million and $173 million respectively owing to reductions in real market values during the period.

“Capital expenditure was limited to critical maintenance projects amounting to ZWL295 million,” Dr Wushe adding that “The funding of key raw materials remains a priority given the constrained cashflows.”

On the outlook he said that the measures taken to stabilize the exchange rate and improve foreign currency availability by the fiscal and monetary authorities will improve trading conditions and enable the business to continue with its plans to seek new opportunities and enhance capacity to meet demand in the region.

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