Border Timbers salutes Hailey for judicial management exit, projects export growth

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By Alois Vinga

BORDER Timbers Limited (BTL) has commended outgoing judicial manager, Peter Lewis Hailey for stirring the concern through a difficult patch spanning almost seven years and returning the company to a standalone profit making concern.

The company was placed under Voluntary Provisional Judicial Management in 2015 and subsequently into Final Judicial Management in 2016.

When the company was placed under judicial management, its liabilities consisted mainly of US$30 million deferred tax arising mainly from biological assets while borrowings were in excess of US$20 million.

BTL’s US$6 million debt to FBC Bank was absorbed by the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation, the special investment vehicle created by the central bank to clean toxic loans.

In an update this week, newly appointed board chairman Elias Hwenga expressed gratitude to Hailey’s work over the years.

“We express our appreciation and gratitude to Peter Bailey (Judicial Manager), and the management team, who led the company and weathered the storms during the period of Judicial Management.

“The Company was placed under Voluntary Provisional Judicial Management in 2015 and subsequently into Final Judicial Management in 2016. Following approval by the shareholders and the subsequent approval by the High Court on the 14th of March 2022, the company exited Judicial Management.

“This led to the reinstatement of the Board of Directors who took over the control of the Company from the Judicial Manager,” he said.

The development comes at a time when the company has seen its financial performance in inflation adjusted terms rising to  ZW$4,79 billion to record an 11% increase from prior year, primarily driven by consistent product quality of the Kiln Dried Timber resulting in better average selling prices.

The inflation adjusted operating expenses were 85% higher as compared to the previous period mainly driven by inflationary pressures, however, management continues to implement measures to contain costs.

Harvesting operations performed very well with the plant optimization broadly on plan with the  outsourcing strategy on harvesting continuing  to stabilise the sawmills log supply which resulted in high plant capacity utilisation.

All logs supplied to the processing plants were from the company’s own plantations with no external logs purchased.

Lumber production volume was 43 930m3 , 4% lower than prior period, driven by low customer demand during the period under review with sales volume reduction on the back of lower aggregate demand primarily in the local market.

“Efforts are underway to expand the export market base with particular focus on Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana. During the period under review, 713 hectares were planted, a significant improvement compared to prior year.

“The Company is focusing more on improving the Biological Asset, applying best practices, and improving planting methods. The company continues to benefit from outsourced Silviculture operations which brought about a more cohesive and efficient plantation management process,” added Hwenga .