Tongaat's Zim unit posts moderate growth

Harare - Tongaat Hulett [JSE:TON] experienced modest growth in its Zimbabwe-based operations for the year ended March 31 2015.
 
Operating profit for the year amounted to R386m compared to the R330m recorded in the prior comparative year.
 
In a statement accompanying the results, CEO Peter Staude said local sales in Zimbabwe recovered significantly with improved local market protection.
 
“Revenue in Zimbabwe was however impacted by a further substantial reduction in prices for exports into the European Union,” he said, adding that the local market remains suppressed by macroeconomic conditions.
 
In 2014, Zimbabwe introduced new tariffs and import licences in an effort to protect the local sugar industry.
 
However, sugar production for the year at 445 000 tonnes slipped from 488 000 tonnes prior year comparative.
 
Management said production was affected by low dam levels for irrigation at the end of 2013.
 
Going forward, management said Zimbabwe is likely to record modest growth in sugar production.
 
Currently Tongaat supports 857 active indigenous private farmers, who farm some 15 880 hectares and employ 7 300 people.
 
Local sugar farmers made as much as US$70m in annual revenue amid the ongoing orderly development of sustainable private sugarcane farmers in the country.
 
Development initiatives are expected to increase the number of active private farmers to 1 023 and farmed hectares to 19 270.
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