By Alois Vinga
LISTED agro-industrial giant Tongaat Huletts has reported a 56% exports decline.
Presenting the firm’s financial performance for the six months ended September 30, 2021, the entity’s chairman, Canaan Dube said the significant decline was mainly a result of a directive by the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) which saw quota allocation into Kenya being reduced.
“As a result, the export sales volume for the half year reduced by 56% to 29 558 tonnes, down from 2020: 66 629 tonnes. Volumes originally targeted for this market were redirected to satisfy strong local demand,” he said.
However, Dube said, market development efforts are underway to establish other regional markets to supplement the existing stable Botswana market and reduce Kenya market concentration risk.
The developments come at a time when the sugar industry concluded the sale of 13 000 tons of sugar under the Country’s annual export quota to the United States, at an average net price 9% above target.
During the period under review, operating profit however increased by 12% to $2,9 billion up from $2,6 billion recorded last year and in the process benefiting from a biological asset fair value gain.
Net cash inflow from operating activities increased by 60% to $800 million largely due to reduced cash consumed in working capital.
Capital expenditure totalled ZW$398 million of which ZW$160 million was for root replanting.
As at 30 September 2021, the company had a net cash balance of ZW$900 million.
“In view of the company’s positive financial performance for the six months ended 30 September 2021, the board has declared an interim dividend of US$1,08 cents per share for the year ending 31 March 2022 payable in respect of all the ordinary shares of the company.
“This dividend will be payable in full on or around 07 January 2022 to all Shareholders of the Company registered at the close of business on 24 December 2021,” added Dube.