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starafricacorporation posts ZWL$679bn loss

SUGAR producer starafricacorporation Limited

SUGAR producer starafricacorporation Limited posted a loss of ZWL$679 billion for the year ended March 31, 2024, owing to a three-month plant shutdown caused by raw sugar supply challenges.

In the comparative year, the group posted a profit of ZWL$13 billion.

In a statement accompanying the group’s financial results, board chairperson Rungamo Mbire said the group expects the operations to improve as the challenges have since been resolved.

“This loss was primarily due to a three-month plant shutdown due to raw sugar supply challenges that have since been resolved and the increased cost of key raw materials and other overheads. The group continues to rationalise operations to reduce costs,” Mbire said.

He said the group will focus on improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs to return the business to profitability.

“Active engagements with our various stakeholders have largely resolved the raw sugar supply challenges. With the raw sugar supply challenges largely resolved and the plant refurbishment and replacement programme on track, the business expects a volume recovery, going forward,” Mbire said.

“The group will continue to improve on operational efficiencies and reduce costs to return the business to profitability. The business unit has sufficient production capacity to supply the market at competitive prices and continues to focus on innovation.”

He said the introduction of a new currency, Zimbabwe Gold, has stabilised the ecenomy, adding that such stability would be sustained if the tightening of the money supply continues.

Total turnover increased by 23% for the year under review to ZWL$1,90 trillion, largely attributable to inflationary pressures.

Mbire said the Goldstar Sugars (GSS) will continue with its refurbishment and replacement programme for critical components of plant and machinery to improve plant efficiencies and quality of refined sugar.

The business maintained its certification by The Coca-Cola Company and its Food Safety Certification under the FSSC 22000 series.

During the year ended March 31, 2024, GSS reported a 32% decrease in sales volumes of granulated white sugar to 55 799 tonnes from 82 321 tonnes in the previous year.

Production throughput at 52 605 tonnes was 32% lower than the prior year’s 77 270 tonnes due to raw sugar supply issues.

Country Choice Food also reported a decline in sales volumes of sugar specialty products by 39%, from 2 048 tonnes in the previous year to 1 244 tonnes.

During that period, the unit launched new products into the market, namely bicarbonate of soda, desiccated coconut and muesli.

Mbire said product uptake was adversely affected by exchange rate distortions that persisted for most of the year in mainstream retail outlets.

Performance of the properties business was stagnant  with ZWL$10,3 billion of rental income being recorded, from ZWL$10,4 billion in the prior year.

Mbire noted that Tongaat Hulett Botswana reported a profit of ZWL$21 billion for the period with the company’s share amounting to ZWL$7 billion convertible with official exchange rate for the period to March 31, 2024.

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