Tongaat Hulett's Zim unit returns to profitability

Harare - Tongaat Hulett‘s [JSE:TON] Zimbabwe based sugar producer Hippo Valley has shown growth in both revenue and profits for the year ended 31 March 2017.

In its results released on Thursday morning, the company, which is also listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, reported that revenue had grown by 26.5% to $117m - up from $148m the prior year.  Volumes increased by 12% with private farmers increasing deliveries by 11%.

Operating profit more than doubled from $6.5m to $13.4m. This reflects better pricing and sales mix dynamics due to very low imports into the market.

Hippo returned to a profit of $7.7m, a huge improvement from a loss of $8.8m recorded in the previous year.

“The interventions by Government (Zimbabwe) to protect the industry against unfair competition from imports continued to yield positive results whilst securing jobs in the industry," said Hippo Valley.

“Export realisations increased on the back of higher sales and prices into the EU, US and regional markets which were some 20% above the prior year.”

There was also a 6.8% improvement in the cane to sugar ratio which was positively impacted on by the dry weather conditions that favoured sucrose accumulation.

It said overall the results were achieved under challenging operating conditions characterised by reduced irrigation water, worsening liquidity and foreign currency shortages within the country.

Hippo Valley is Zimbabwe’s largest sugar producer along with its sister company Triangle, which is also owned by Tongaat Hullet.

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