Padenga Holdings’ solar plant to reduce overheads

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TAURAI MANGUDHLA

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed Padenga Holdings plans to conclude installation of a 1.2 MW solar array to significantly reduce energy overheads to the business by year end, CEO Gary sharp has said.

The company commissioned the first 330kWp phase of the solar array last week at the northern farms in Kariba which is now feeding into the national grid to offset the electricity the operation uses daily.

“An additional 470kWp solar array is complete and we are moving rapidly to commission that later this year (and) the final 400kWp array to complete the planned 1.2MW installation will commence shortly for completion by year end,” Sharp said at the company’s annual general meeting in Harare yesterday.

The solar array, Sharp said, not only achieves a reduction in energy overheads but reinforces the company’s commitment to sustainability through the application of alternative and renewable energy solutions.

He said Padenga reduced its capital expenditure in 2019, but continues to focus on the infrastructure that will improve skin quality, increase growth rates, enhance animal welfare or husbandry and improve production efficiencies.

Last year, 80 pens were built towards year end.

Currently, demand for defect free skins remains steady and prices are anticipated to hold on account of the group’s ability to meet quality expectations of the premium market. The company is optimistic about the second half of the year and achieving operational and financial targets for the period.

In an update of operations, Sharp said a total of 4 299 crocodiles had been harvested as of Tuesday in the Zimbabwean operation. Harvesting in Zimbabwe started in March. Resources have been committed towards achieving quality demands of the premium market.

“The first sales grading of the year was conducted at the end of February 2019; with a total of 2,120 skins being graded and achieving an 87 percent first grade ratio. The bulk of these skins graded were from last season’s harvest. We had 1 679 skins in stock at the beginning of the year,” he said.

In the United States, a total of 13 922 skins were harvested. Harvesting commenced in January for the carryover crop from prior year.

In addition to that, a total of 6,356 have been harvested to date from the 2019 scheduled harvest. This leaves 14 700 alligators of harvestable size in the pens which will be harvested between June and December, he said.

A total of 5 000 yearling alligators have been acquired with an additional 2,500 to be purchased in 2019 for harvesting in 2020 as medium or large sized skins.

“On the meat front, recent amendments to EU legislation necessitated the establishment of bi-lateral trade agreements between Zimbabwe and individual EU member countries. Protocols have since been established with both Belgium and Switzerland. Indications are that demand for crocodile meat within the EU remains steady particularly in the absence of ostrich and venison which was prohibited out of South Africa,” Sharp said.

Padenga currently has 46,257 B17 and 49,976 B18 crocodiles on the ground in Zimbabwe, both of which are doing well in terms of growth and quality and in line with internal objectives of maintaining annual production at consistent volumes in 2020.

The AGM amended the company’s articles of association to allow for delivery of notices through electronic means including optimal disc.

“The purpose of this replacement and substitution of an article of the company is to allow for the quick and efficient dissemination of important notices and circulars do shareholders of the company at a time when delivery of notices and circulars by mail has become very
slow, unreliable and expensive,” reads part of the notice of the AGM.

Shareholders also approved a share buyback resolution allowing directors to use the company’s available cash resources to purchase its own shares in the market in terms of the Companies Act and ZSE regulations for treasury purposes.

The AGM authorised the company to make loans to executive directors or enter into any guarantee or provide security in connection with executive loans subject to terms.