Listed agricultural concern, Ariston Holdings remained in the red after registering a $1,9 million loss in the half year ended March 31 from the comparable period’s $2,1 million.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
The company’s chief executive officer, Paul Spear said the harsh economic environment, which continues to impact negatively on disposal income, presented a tough time for the company.
“The trading environment continues to be challenging characterised by constrained liquidity and declining disposable incomes,” Spear said a statement accompanying the company’s results.
The group recorded revenue of $3,4 million in the six-month period ended March 31, compared to $3,7 million recorded in the comparable period, with the 8% slump in revenue attributed to late commencement of macadamia harvesting.
Southdown Estates contributed 71% to the group’s revenue, compared to 75% in the prior comparative period.
Claremont Estate contributed 29% to the group’s revenue compared to 16% in the prior comparative period, while Kent’s contributions to the group’s revenue remain unchanged at 9%.
Total equity and liabilities were $42,2 million from $48,8 million in the same period last year.
Spear said stone fruit harvesting has been completed for the season, with volumes improving to 943 tonnes from 776 tonnes achieved during the prior comparative period.
The average pricing was 13% below the comparative period as a result of disappointing export volumes said Spear.
“Pome fruit harvesting is in progress. So far, the volume is ahead of the prior comparative period with 709 tonnes already harvested compared to 543 tonnes for the comparative period. Pricing has been firm. The increase in yields for both stone fruit and pome fruit is the result of young orchards coming into production. Quality for both products has been good. The small passion fruit orchard continues to produce fruit at acceptable levels. Pricing has, however, been 3% weaker than that of the prior comparative period,” he said.
Spear said tea production for the six-month period was 1 392 tonnes, which was 18% ahead of the same period last year, with year-end production expected to be comfortably ahead of prior year.
The average tea export pricing improved by 11% during the period.
In the outlook, the company said the slow start to the harvesting period for 2017 performance was in line with expectations.
“Due to the cyclical nature of our agricultural model, the second half of the year represents the harvesting and selling season for the majority of our crops, All estate dams are full, greatly enhancing the group’s ability to irrigate in the season ahead.” Spear said.