TRADING ENVIRONMENT

The trading environment for the first quarter ended 31 December 2019 was characterised by high inflation, foreign currency and power shortages as macroeconomic fundamentals continue to deteriorate. The Group managed to establish stable foreign currency streams from exports and except for the Paper Mill was able to use alternative power sources to minimise the impact of the erratic power supplies.

GROUP RESULTS

Revenue for the quarter increased by 83% in inflation adjusted terms and 859% (historical) as overall volumes grew by 9% compared to the same period last year.

BUSINESS SEGMENTS
BATTERIES

Battery revenue increased by 91% (inflation adjusted) and 961% (historical) reflecting a 28% increase in volumes on the back of improved product availability as well as strong demand for solar and industrial standby batteries.

PAPER

Revenue for the quarter decreased by 6% in inflation adjusted terms and increased by 380% in historical terms reflecting the replacement cost price increases effected during the quarter. Volumes dropped by 46% as orders could not be met following increased load shedding. In December, the Mill plant availability fell to 35%.

SOFTEX

Revenues increased by 31% (inflation adjusted) and by 596% (historical). Volumes fell by 23% due to delays in receiving raw material.

EVERSHARP

Revenue grew by 27% (inflation adjusted) and 580% (historical) from prior year reflecting a 15% volume increase. Sales were driven by the improved product availability and a successful marketing campaign at the onset of the back to school period.

PLANTATIONS

Revenue increased by 93% (inflation adjusted) and 929% (historical) as production was supported by timber trading in order to meet demand.

OUTLOOK

The operating environment is not expected to improve in the short term. The Group will continue to seek growth opportunities in the region whilst consolidating its resilient and dominant business segments in the local market in order to minimise the impact of the macro environmental challenges.

A Chingwecha
GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY