Harare - Listed sugar processor, Starafrica Corporation says production at its Goldstar Sugars unit recorded a 38% increase in production volumes to 82 399 tonnes for the year ended 31 March 2022 due to capital investments and a rigorous equipment maintenance regime.

The increase in production volumes is from last year's comparison of 59 571 tonnes.

“The latter was introduced during the year under review and has reduced the refinery’s downtime,” Chairman Rungamo Mbire said in a statement accompanying the Company’s financial results.

Demand for granulated sugar for the year remained high in the market resulting in a 37% increase in sales volumes.

Mbire highlighted that electricity supply during the year improved slightly compared to last year but remained unstable mainly due to electrical faults.

“Operational challenges faced by the Harare City Council adversely impacted the effective reticulation of water to the plant. This resulted in a higher volume of water being sourced from private suppliers,” he said.

Meanwhile, under the Company’s Country Choice Foods unit, the commissioning of the syrup filling and icing packing machines during the period under review contributed to increased production volumes.

A 29% increase in production of sugar specialities was recorded to 1,920 tonnes from the 1,488 tonnes recorded in 2021.

“During the year under review, CCF expanded its portfolio by launching several new products into the market. These comprised chocolate icing, lemon icing and mint icing, raisins, cocoa powder, caramel coated popcorn, as well as bun and bread premixes,” Mbire said.

The Company’s property business recorded a 55% increase in rental income, from the prior year’s ZWL35.80 million to ZWL55.43 million in the period under review due to the rise in occupancy levels.

According to Mbire, economic activity rebounded, following the lifting of restrictive measures that were adopted in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 resulting in higher occupancy rates and improved the ability of tenants to settle their lease obligations.

During the year, Starafrica’s turnover for the year increased by 50% to ZWL13.16 billion.

Mbire noted that the improved financial performance for the year allowed the Company to substantially settle the legacy liabilities, which were significant in the prior year.

“The reduction in debt levels resulted in notable savings in interest costs and foreign exchange losses,” he said.

The Company’s finance cost for the year reduced significantly, to ZWL1.45 million from ZWL104.28 million incurred in the prior year.

Exchange losses, which the Company was incurring on foreign currency-denominated liabilities, did not recur during the year under review as the business settled foreign obligations in the 2021 financial year.

Consequently, the Company recorded a ZWL45.92 million exchange gain in the current year, mainly emanating from foreign currency-denominated cash and bank balances compared to a ZWL347.56 million exchange loss that was recorded in the 2021 financial year.

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