The Herald (Harare)

31 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Ariston Still in the Red

DIVERSIFIED horticultural company Ariston Holdings Limited recorded a US$531 648 loss for the year ended September 30 2012 owing to what the group said were control deficiencies resulting in setbacks in the trading business.

During the same period last year, the company recorded a US$2 million loss.

According to Ariston's audited financial results, although performance had improved, the group had not achieved the anticipated levels of activity in all areas largely due to the capital raising initiative being finalised later than anticipated.

In June this year, the company projected a profit of US$463 000 for the period under review, after securing a capital injection of US$8 million from a rights issue.

South Africa-based Afrifresh, who were underwriters of Ariston's rights issue, became a key shareholder in the company following the capital raising exercise.

According to the statement, the group's revenue grew by 0,69 percent this year to US$14 847 883 from US$14 747 151 during the same period last year.

An operating loss of US$2 826 349 was recorded before a fair value gain of US$4,1 million and a loss on orchard scrapping of US$1,4 million leading to a loss before tax of US$83 000.

The group said finance costs had declined by 4,8 percent while total borrowings had also gone down by US$760 000.

Macadamia volumes rose this season from 783 tonnes in the prior year to 843 tonnes due to the continuous firming of prices.

The crop contributed 40 percent of Southdown's total revenue.

Southdown reported a turnover of US$1,608 million, which was a 17 percent decline from the prior year.

Sales volumes of tea were 37 percent lower than the prior year as a result of a deliberate strategy by the group to focus the limited resources on a quality product.

Kent Estate achieved a turnover of US$1,608 million driven largely by poultry production representing a 34 percent decline from last year.

The group said work on poultry house upgrades was well underway and once completed, Kent would have a total capacity of 1,2 million birds per year.

Claremont Estates' turnover of US$1,105 million contributed 7 percent of the group's turnover, the same as last year.

The removal of old orchards had a negative impact on the fair value adjustment hence an operating loss of US$366 000 for the period under review compared to US$448 000 last year.

Favco's turnover grew by 21 percent and contributed 58 percent to the group turnover due to increased activities. An operating loss before interest and tax of US$977 000 was recorded compared to US$292 000 last year. The group said it was set to return to profitability in 2013 with significant increases in production across all operations.

They said adequate working capital had been put in place so operations would be able to function without constraint at current capital.

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