- The Group’s revenue increased by 21%
- Macadamia and avocado harvest scaled up by 65% and 27% respectively
- The hospitality segment registered 11% increase in room occupancy
- However, tea production tumbled by 15%
Harare – Benefiting from exchange rate stability, improved foreign currency availability and moderate COVID-19 restrictions which have led to higher economic activity, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed diversified counter, Meikles Limited’s revenue for the first quarter ended 30 June 2021 increased by 21% in inflation-adjusted terms compared to the same period last year.
Revenue for the agricultural segment grew by 41% in inflation-adjusted terms ahead of the same period last year.
The agricultural segment was classified as a discontinued operation and an asset held for distribution of shareholders on 31 March this year.
Meanwhile, sales volumes for the supermarket unit were 21% ahead of the same period last year owing to moderate COVID-19 restrictions during the period.
“During the same period of last year, sales volume was adversely hit by stricter lockdown measures implemented by the government in response to COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Group.
The hospitality segment registered an 11% increase in room occupancy during the period under review with 66% being foreign guests and 11% locals compared to non-occupancy experienced during the same quarter last year.
The previous year incurred zero percent occupancy due to the closure of the hotel to combat the spread of COVID-19 during the period April-June 2020.
However, the rollout of the vaccination programme in Victoria Falls is expected to boost the segment with the return of international tourism. In July 2021, government opened the resort town to vaccinated tourists in a move that is expected to boost business operations for players in the hospitality sector.
For the agriculture segment, bulk tea production and export sales for the quarter were 15% below the same period of the previous year.
“Tea harvesting was affected by limited availability of labour. Most of the available labour was assigned to harvest macadamia nuts and avocados during the period under review,” said the Group.
As a remedy to labour shortages, the Group said that it will invest in motorised tea harvesting machines as shortages are likely bound to continue.
Despite all these challenges, the average tea selling price per kilogram was 3% firmer in the United States dollar terms than the prior year’s average price.
Meanwhile, with enough labour at hand, macadamia nuts harvested during the quarter scaled up 65% while avocado harvest firmed 27% ahead of the prior year.
Lower macadamia and avocado harvest encountered in the prior year during the same period was owed to the two-year drought experienced prior to the end of the agricultural season.
Operating profit for the group was higher than the same period last year, both in terms of inflation-adjusted and historical costs respectively.
Although COVID-19 risks remain and continue to evolve, the group is optimistic that the economic growth for this year will exceed the initial forecast on account of the boom agricultural harvest experienced this year.
Equity Axis News