BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
LISTED stationery, paper, and batteries manufacturer, Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) Corporation’s overall sales for the year to September 30 2021, surged by 30% compared to the prior year.
The stock exchange-listed entity said in its financial statement for the year ended September 30 2021 that the delays in the disbursement of foreign currency allocated on the auction market affected market confidence resulting in the widening of the gap between the auction market exchange rate and the alternative market.
The battery segment continued to push up the group’s performance with volumes increasing by 39% for the year despite supply chain disruptions while export volumes were driven by the recovery in Zambia.
Paper Mills and National Waste Collections sales volumes jumped 27% and 13%, respectively, albeit from a low base while Softex volumes reduced by 9%.
The performance of the Paper Division was affected by the intermittent supply of raw materials and spares and the resultant commercial downtime adversely impacted fixed cost absorption, operating efficiencies and profitability.
Eversharp volumes were 35% higher than the prior-year due to the easing of restrictions and reduced school calendar disruptions.
Timber remained unaffected by the pandemic and the group capitalised on firm timber market demand and saw milling capacity was increased during the year, which enabled the division to increase milling partnerships.
Group chairman Thomas Wushe said the COVID-19 pandemic affected the group’s performance during the reporting period, but the group was rescued by the battery segment which remained resilient.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt businesses across the globe and materially impacted the group’s performance during the reporting period.
“The improvements in Zimbabwe’s economic environment at the beginning of year characterised by stable exchange rates and slowing inflation were negated by the impact of policy interventions taken to regulate foreign currency transactions through Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021,” he said.
The group recorded an increase in operating expenses due to general inflationary increases in cost and the initiatives taken to stimulate demand and cushion employees. Fair value losses on biological assets and investment properties amounting to $191 million and $54 million were recorded respectively.
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