Listed brick maker, Willdale Limited profits plummeted 53% to ZWL$48.6m in the six months to March 31, 2022 due to an increase in costs of sales which outstripped the growth in revenue.
In the same period last year, profit after tax was ZWL$104.7m.
Cost of sales rose by 63% to ZWL$661,692,202 from ZWL$406,085,453.
Revenue grew 4% to ZWL$839.8m from ZWL$805.02 achieved in the prior comparative period, largely driven by a better average price from a better product mix.
Sales volumes also declined by 6% in the period under review.
In a statement accompanying the financial results, board chairman Cleophas Makoni said production restarted in February after a successful planned plant maintenance programme.
“However, the extended rainy season disrupted the production plan leading to product shortages in the second quarter,” Makoni said.
He said the shortages of fast moving plaster range caused by the extended rains affected the order fulfillment rate despite a relatively high demand for bricks during the period.
Most brick manufacturing companies locally are weather dependent especially on the drying process of the bricks.
Using this process it takes up to 21 days for bricks to dry once they are made, so if the weather is humid the drying process will then be prolonged.
As a result of the reported period of rainfall patterns, brick production was disrupted and it was difficult for the firm to meet the rising demand for bricks as production and drying rates both slowed down during rain.
The country’s increased building activity has contributed to the rising need for bricks, and it has become difficult for brick manufacturers to satisfy the domestic demand.
Through its different initiatives, the government is one of the major clients in the sector.
Looking ahead, Makoni is anticipating firm demand in this second half of the year as the weather conditions have since improved.
“The uncertain economic environment presents challenges to the construction industry in general. However, a lot will depend on how the measures put in place by the government to stabilise the economy will be. Existing demand for bricks for housing will drive revenues and profitability in the remaining half of the year,” he said.