Willdale fired up after $4,3 billion profit

Willdale Limited, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed brickmaker, says it is shipping a new crushing technology to bolster efficiencies and product quality.

The giant, which said on Thursday volumes took a hit during the year ended September 30, 2022, has enjoyed a near monopoly on the brick market for decades.

But it has been increasingly seeing swathes of its market share chipped away by a sea of new entrants, including aggressive Chinese firms.

Beta Bricks, another key player, has also been consolidating its operations, triggering fierce competition that could end with significant improvements in pricing and quality.

In a commentary to financial statements for the review period, Willdale chairperson Cleopas Makoni said the crushing plant would be part of a broad capital expenditure pipeline meant to drive the business, which saw inflation adjusted profit rise to $4,3 billion during the period — a significant rise from $676 million during the comparable period in 2021.

Volumes dropped by 9%, while revenues climbed at the same rate to $5,1 billion compared to $4,7 billion previously.

“The late rains that were received in April and regular power outages during the year affected production resulting in a 3% drop in green output compared to prior year,” Makoni said, as he shared the results with investors.

“However, fired production was 4% up due to improved throughput from structured kilns. A new crushing plant, which will improve product quality, will be installed in the new year. Further investments in capital expenditure are planned for the coming year to improve productivity and efficiency of both fixed and mobile plant.”

The Willdale boss said he was concerned about the rapid depreciation of the domestic currency during the review period.

He noted that the exchange rate moved from $86,1667 at the beginning of the firm’s financial year to $621,8922 at the end.

“The stability in the exchange rate and inflation brought about by the monetary policy measures introduced towards the end of the financial year, if sustained, gives us confidence of a better operating environment for the ensuing year,” Makoni said.

“Demand for bricks for housing development and various infrastructural projects remains high. A sustainable financing model for housing development will result in increased volumes and profitability and will contribute significantly towards house delivery under National Development Strategy 1. Provision of stable electricity supply will be critical to efficient production.”

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