By Alois Vinga
LISTED beverages maker, Delta Corporation has bemoaned the negative impact of the 2024 National Budget on the economy amid fears that aggregate demand is likely to wane in the year ahead.
Presenting a trading update for the third quarter that ended December 31 2023, Delta’s company secretary, Faith Musinga predicted a tough year economically, highlighting that measures announced by Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube in the 2024 National Budget will have far-reaching implications.
“The measures adopted in the 2024 budget will have a far-reaching impact on the business and the market in general. The beverages sector will be affected by the sugar tax and the restrictions arising from policies impacting the route to market.
“Aggregate demand may be impacted by the high inflation and reduced foreign currency inflows arising from lower mineral prices and the anticipated reduction in agricultural output resulting from the forecasted below normal rainfall,” she said.
The beverages manufacturer joins thousands of Zimbabwean citizens and companies who condemned the budget blueprint.
The document attracted widespread criticism prompting Parliament to institute a raft of amendments to align it to people’s expectations.
Meanwhile, during the period, group revenue for the quarter increased by 19% in US Dollar terms compared to the prior year and grew by 12% for the nine months. This reflects the volume growth across business units, with the proportion of US Dollar sales averaging above 70% for the year.
The Lager beer business has maintained the volume growth momentum and has surpassed historical monthly peak volumes to achieve a growth of 15% for the quarter and 14% for the nine months compared to the prior year.
In Zimbabwe, the total volume inclusive of exports grew by 3% for the quarter and is up 4% for the nine months, off a high prior year base. Volume, however, declined by 5% for the quarter in Zimbabwe as the category was impacted by the improved availability of lager beer.
The Sparkling Beverages volume recovery momentum persisted, registering a growth of 38% for the quarter and 25% for the nine months compared to the prior year. The volume drive is anchored on keener retail pricing and an improved supply of flavours and packs.