starafricacorporation embarks on retooling drive

 

Joe Mutizwa

RYAN CHIGOCHE

 

 

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed sugar processor, starafricacorporation says it has embarked on a drive to retool operations to increase production.

In a statement accompanying the group’s financial results for the year to March 31, 2021, published last week, former board chairman, Joe Mutizwa, (pictured) said the group  would increase the speed of the refurbishment of the sugar refinery plant.

“The group has expunged the legacy liabilities and is now on a renewed drive to re-tool its operations, attend to plant downtime through replacement of critical machinery and grow its market share locally and in the region,” Mutizwa said.

“The phased refurbishment of the dry section of the sugar refining plant  will be accelerated in the ensuing year, with work having commenced on replacement of centrifugal machines, rehabilitation of the raw sugar warehouse, and procurement of an effluent treatment plant. This is expected to yield significant efficiencies in the operations of the plant and reduce the plant downtime that negatively impacted production in the 2021 financial year.”

Revenue for the group grew 23% in the year to March 31,2021 to ZWL$5bn from ZWL$4.12bn reported in the prior comparative period.

Profit declined 10%  to ZWL$110m in the  reviewed period from ZWL$186m in the previous year.

The company paid off 99.8% of its liabilities in the reviewed period.

Production at its unit, Goldstar Sugars Harare, declined 9%  to 59 571 tonnes from 65,568 tonnes in the previous year as a result of a plant breakdown as well as a three -week total shutdown in operations caused by a Covid-19 incident at the Harare Refinery between July and August 2020 and a fire that razed down the raw sugar warehouse the company revealed.

The unit also saw the sales volumes drop by 6% as the company sold 60,386 tonnes against 63,993 tonnes sold last year attributable to interruptions to production due to Covid-19 related factors and plant downtime. with the demand for its products remaining strong.

Other units, however, performed well in the period under review.

Volumes at Country Choice Foods (CCF) increased 19%.

Its range of products also expanded in the current year as the unit continues growing with its thrust to maximise the production of sugar specialties and other sugar-related products in synergy with production from Gold Star Sugars.

The properties business recorded a 54% increase in turnover, from ZWL$13.4m recorded in the prior year to ZWL$20.7 m as a result of improved occupancy levels and higher negotiated rental amounts per month charged.

Tongaat Hulett Botswana unit continued to grow and dominate the Botswana market with the associate posting a profit after tax of ZWL$208.6 m of which the Group’s share was ZWL$69.5m after converting the earnings into Zimbabwean Dollars at the official exchange rate as at 31 March 2021.

The profit after tax in the associate grew 77% from the prior year in Zimbabwe dollar terms largely as a result of the depreciation of the local currency against the Pula.

On the outlook, Mutizwa  said the company would aim to stamp its authority in the region .

“Focus will be directed at growing the company’s footprint in the region and beyond in the ensuing financial year by tapping more into the export market buoyed by improved production quantities and the The Coca Cola Company (TCCC) full authorisation to supply bottler ingredients to TCCC’s entire Africa operating unit,” he said.

“The group envisages a resumption of exports to the Botswana market in the 2022 financial year which will increase revenue and foreign currency earnings.’’

“Given that the company`s fortunes have improved significantly, emerging from the recovery period with a strong and clean balance sheet and excellent trading prospects going forward, it is appropriate that I step down from the board at this juncture. This will allow fresh leadership at board level to lead the company on its new trajectory.”

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