Conrad Mwanawashe — British American Tobacco Zimbabwe's first quarter to March performance remained flat on the comparative period last year but the group expects a stronger second half pinned on initiatives around premier brands Madison and Everest.
Despite challenges relating to affordability, liquidity and foreign payments for raw materials bottlenecks, managing director Clara Mlambo hopes the second half will bring better fortunes in line with the level of investment being put into the two brands.
"Our performance for the first quarter has remained flat versus same period last year. However, we are incredibly excited because we have a lot of initiatives that are going to be coming through during the course of this year," she said.
In the fast-moving consumer goods industry the success of any business is driven by its products and a good brand is the engine for growth and sustainability. For BAT, 2017 is a watershed year as the company celebrates the 40th anniversary for its Madison brand and a number of activities and changes to the brand have been lined up.
Also, there will be activities around the Everest brand in the second half of the year.
"The two brands take up close to 70 percent of the market share and when we look at the level of investment we are going to put in those two brands during the course of the year, particularly from the second half, we should see a stronger second half performance than what we have seen happening in the first quarter and towards the beginning of the second quarter. So we are confident that we will see a string second half performance," said Mrs Mlambo.
She forecasts that the trading environment will continue to be challenging for a number of reasons; affordability, liquidity and foreign payments.