HARARE – The Zimbabwean unit of British American Tobacco swung back to profitability in its full-year results published on Thursday, driven by high volumes of quality tobacco.
BAT Zimbabwe said its basic earnings per share rose to $0.28 in the year to December 2011, from a loss of $0.03 previously, on the back of increased demand.
Revenue jumped by 74 percent to $39.8 million in the year, while profit after tax was $4.88 million, up from a loss of $499,000 in 2010.
The southern African country’s tobacco output plummeted after President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks. But the new farmers are starting to raise output from low levels of 48 million kg in 2008 to about 131 million kg last year.
BAT Zimbabwe, of which BAT Plc controls nearly 60 percent, is one of several foreign-owned companies that have been targeted under Mugabe’s empowerment drive to turn over foreign control to local blacks.
In a statement accompanying its results, BAT Zimbabwe said the empowerment law remained a worry for foreign investors.