- The group’s overall volume traded fell by 18%
- Flour volumes declined by 22
- Maize registered a volume decline of 26%
- Stockfeedds volumes declined by 13%
ZSE- listed, Innscor Limited subsidiary, National Foods Limited recorded unpleasing Q3 volumes accusing the recent unusual presiding fiscal and monetary stance. The food processing company was greatly pushed to its margin with its overall portfolio falling by 18%.
The group recorded 22%,26%, and 13% declines in flour, maize and stock feed respectively. The shortfalls in the supply chain of these affected the smooth running of secondary processing companies which feed their raw materials off from the mentioned Nat foods portfolios. As a result, the shortage hit was felt by every nationality as the bread price rose to a maximum of US$1.15 from the US$0.80 record in the prior period in the previous year.
The group, however, partially recorded volume growth in the processed food portfolio despite the exorbitant interest rates and accelerated operational risks as a result of increased raw material prices.
Snacks, CCB and Downpacked increased their volumes by 24%,55% and 8% respectively. These volume increases were propelled by the informal sector trading as formal trade has been distorted by the macroeconomic implemented policies.
According to the company, the decline in flour volume was caused by affordability, with bread prices reaching as high as US$ 1.15 per loaf during the period, driven by significantly higher international wheat prices following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
In recent months, wheat prices have softened somewhat with the resumption of grain shipments from the Black Sea region which covers Russian and Ukraine.
The Group has a substantial pipeline of new projects, with a projected investment value of US$ 30 million. These projects will see National Foods entering a number of new and exciting categories, whilst reducing imports of manufactured food products into the country. The Harare Breakfast cereal plant is currently being commissioned and a range of breakfast cereals will be released to the market in November.
Further, the Installation of the new state-of-the-art Flour mill in Bulawayo has been delayed by 3 months and is now expected to be commissioned in March 2023. Work on the new pasta and biscuit plants has begun at Stirling Road, Harare. It is expected that these plants will be commissioned late in 2023. Finally, the Board has recently approved the upgrade and expansion of the Aspendale rice packing facility, and we expect that this be completed by the end of 2023
Whilst this has been a challenging quarter for the Group, we remain optimistic about the overall trajectory of the economy and the future of the country. Our view is that the current period of adjustment following the necessary interventions will soon pass, and volumes will then recover.
Management’s focus is on recovering volumes in the major categories, as well as optimising operational expenditure and working capital models for the current circumstances. Finally, the recent investments will add an exciting new dimension to National Foods’ portfolio, and we are looking forward to taking these products to the market.