CFI upbeat despite unstable climate

Dumisani Ndlela


DIVERSIFIED conglomerate CFI Holdings, which recently received shareholder approval for an aggressive share buy back scheme, says its retail and specialised divisions grew “from strength to strength” during the half-year to March, with demand f

or all products remaining firm.

The group, with controlling interests in companies involved in the manufacture of animal feed, flour, maize products and irrigation equipment, retail trade and property management, increased revenue during the six-month period by 898% to $5,4 trillion, with operating income coming at 1 507% over the prior year.

Income attributable to shareholders, at $1,7 trillion during the half-year period, was 1 763% up on the previous year’s comparable period.

Earnings per share were up 1 732% at $3 505, from $191 during the comparable period the previous year.

“The period was characterised by acute shortages of foreign currency as well as locally-grown cereals,” said group chairman, Stanislus Chihambakwe in a statement accompanying the group’s financial results.

“In response to these challenges, capacity in our poultry division was reduced so as to realign poultry production with feed availability,” he said.

However, the retail division performed remarkably well, and there were positive prospects for the poultry division where production capacity has returned to normal due to a new harvest in the just-ended agricultural season.

Chihambakwe said the group’s good performance had been bolstered by stringent expense control and better margin growth arising from improved production processes, efficiencies and re-engineering.

“Overall, the group’s results were ahead of average inflation for the period,” said Chihambakwe.

The environment for the retail operations had provided considerable opportunities for growth, which had been exploited, but there were huge challenges for ever-escalating costs and shrinkage due to a hyperinflationary environment.

CFI’s retail division consists of Farm & City Centre, an agricultural inputs outlet, Town & City, a supermarket chain that experienced buoyant sales during the period, and Honeydew Farm, an upmarket outlet in Greendale.

The poultry division consists of Glenara Estates, which successfully grew soya beans and maize during the period for utilisation within the poultry group, Agrifoods, a producer of stock feeds which had been affected by unavailability of foreign currency for the import of raw materials, Agrimix and Hubbard Zimbabwe, Suncrest Chickens and Crest Breeders, the chicken breeding divisions.

Other group subsidiaries are Victoria Foods, Dore & Pitt and Maitlands Zimbabwe.

Chihambakwe said while the unstable economic environment was expected to persist, the group would deliver satisfactory results during the full year.

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