Tobacco firm BAT hires new MD

Gitonga replaces Kimesh Naidoo, who resigned on Marh 25, the company said.

TOBACCO firm British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT) has appointed Ken Gitonga as new managing director as the firm seeks to implement effective business strategies to navigate the “oscillating” economic environment.

Gitonga replaces Kimesh Naidoo, who resigned on Marh 25, the company said.

In a statement attached to its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2023, BAT also announced the appointment of Lucy Irungu as the new financial director.

“The board is pleased to announce the appointment of Ken Gitonga as the new managing director with effect from March 26, 2024,” board chairperson Lovemore Manatsa said in the statement.

Irungu’s appointment as finance director was with effect from March 26.

She replaces Wilson Chitsonga, who resigned.

The appointments come at a time when the period under review was characterised by hikes in retail prices for basic commodities triggered by rising inflation resulting in pressure on consumer purchasing power.

“Although trading conditions are expected to remain challenging in 2024, the board is confident that the group and company are on a sound footing to navigate through the oscillating economic environment through the implementation of effective business strategies, the equity of our brands and the quality of our people,” BAT said.

“The group and company will continue to deliver growth and value for its stakeholders.”

According to the financial report under review, BAT achieved total revenue of ZWL$288 billion during the period under review, an increase of 147% above the prior year.

The growth was driven by the continuous price reviews in line with the currency devaluation together with revenue generated from cutrag tobacco and leaf exports.

“Selling and marketing costs increased by 109% compared to the same period in prior year and administrative expenses also increased by 46% versus last year and the increase in costs was attributable to the significant devaluation of the currency which led to suppliers revising their prices and charging more for their goods and services,” Manatsa said.

“Nonetheless the group and company recorded a significant increase in profit after tax of 131% compared to prior year. The amount recorded for the year ended December 31, 2023, was ZWL$55,4 billion and the earnings per share increased to ZWL$2 684,85 from ZWL$1 163,51 in the prior year.”

In terms of liquidity, BAT was liquid having ZWL$2,87 to every dollar of short-term debt because of increases in cash and cash equivalents as well as inventories.

Total assets were up 42,32% to ZWL$153, 68 billion during the period compared to the 2022 comparative.

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