ARISTON Holdings’ recorded loss after tax of $1,7 million for the year-ended September 30, 2015 compared to $1,5 million in 2014.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
Finance costs for the group stood at $2,2 million and the weighted average cost of borrowing during the period was 18,8% per annum.
Revenues for the group declined by 6% to $11,8 million from $12,5 million in 2014. Operating losses continued to come down and were significantly reduced by $3,2 million the prior year to $300 000 in 2015.
Ariston Holdings chairperson Robbie Mupawose said the fundamentals of a shrinking economy and high interest rates continued to put a strain on the group, while working capital was at times critically short.
“Certain key crops such as macadamia have performed very well while others such as tea continue to suffer from low international prices,” Mupawose said.
“Strong performance from macadamia and deciduous fruit are the positive results of the recent investments. Short-term crops have been a disappointment this season. As production from plantation crops increases, the emphasis on annual cropping will decline.
“The group will begin macadamia harvesting this month. Prices for macadamia nuts remain firm and interest from buyers is strong.”
Mupawose said early rains were limited on the tea estates amid predictions of a below-average season.
He said early season stone fruit production had been slightly disappointing and exports sales had preceded expectations while local sales prices had been forced downwards by increased local production.
Mupawose said working capital would again be at a premium for the first half of the year. The group this week announced that it was still negotiating a transaction which if successful will have an impact on the company’s share price, capital structure and in turn the shareholding structure of the company.
“The transaction involves a proposal received by the board from the major shareholder of the company, Origin Global Holdings, which is undergoing the normal Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listing requirements and other regulatory requirements, and shareholders will be provided with more details in due course,” Mupawose said.