Sugar processor starafrica Corporation is now on a fresh path towards boosting its business operations across units after the group successfully retired nearly all its legacy debts.
Chairman Mr Joe Mutizwa said the group had settled 99,8 percent of its debts under the secondary scheme of arrangement which expires in February 2022.
He added all outstanding foreign liabilities have now been settled.
"The group has expunged the legacy liabilities and is now on a renewed drive to re-tool its operations, attend to plant downtime through replacement of critical machinery and grow its market share locally and in the region," said Mr Mtizwa in a statement accompanying financials for the year to March 31, 2021.
"The secondary scheme of arrangement, whose tenure expires in February 2022, remains in place with 99, 8 percent of creditors having been settled leaving an amount of only $1,3 million in liabilities under the scheme as at the end of year under review with $654 451 of this balance having been settled immediately after year end.
"The group continues with efforts to trace the whereabouts of the few remaining local scheme creditors with a view to clearing the small amounts still outstanding within the time frame of the Scheme," he said.
During the financial year 2021, profit for the period went down by 41 percent to $109 million from $185 million.
According to the sugar processor, a downward adjustment in fair value on investment properties caused by loss in value of properties in the market in real terms impacted negatively on profitability.
The group also incurred a monetary loss of $163 million caused by depreciation of the value of the monetary assets it holds.
Total revenue jumped 23 percent to $5,08 billion compared with $4,12 billion realised in the prior year.
Mr Mutizwa also bemoaned the challenging business environment during the year under review, which was mainly shaped by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the national lockdowns which caused inevitable business disruptions in some parts of the year. This, coupled with plant breakdowns and a fire incident at the raw sugar warehouse adversely affected production at Goldstar Sugars Harare (GSSH) which saw production decrease 9 percent to 59 571 tonnes from 65 568 tonnes of refined sugar.
The business unit sold 60 386 tonnes against 63 993 tonnes sold last year.
The 5, 6 percent drop in sales volumes is largely attributable to interruptions to production due to Covid-19 related factors and plant downtime.
"Demand for our products remained strong with volumes constrained only by production challenges," said Mr Mutizwa.
Sales volumes at Country Choice Foods (CCF) increased by 19 percent as the unit continue expanding its market share.
The properties business recorded a 54 percent increase in turnover to $20,7 million from $13, 4 million recorded in prior year on improved occupancy levels and higher negotiated rental amounts per month charged despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which had an adverse impact on tenants' ability to make rental payments timely.
At Tongaat Hulett Botswana (THB), the associate posted a profit after tax of $208,6 million of which the group's share was $69,5 million after converting the earnings into Zimbabwean dollars at the official exchange rate as at 31 March 2021.
The group is looking at enhancing operational efficiencies following the phased refurbishment of the dry section of the sugar refining plant, which will be accelerated in the ensuing year, with work having commenced on replacement of centrifugal machines, rehabilitation of the raw sugar warehouse and procurement of an effluent treatment plant using internally generated funds and foreign currency acquired from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's auction system.