Sales volumes slacken at General Beltings

Conrad Dube

GENERAL Beltings managing director Joe Tuson says sales volumes were in line with 2002 levels for the first four months of this financial year but below planned levels.


<
FONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>”Local volumes were especially firm but volu-me growth was negative-ly affected during the first quarter by Zesa load shedding and stayaways and this pattern is likely to persist to varying degrees for the rest of the period,” said Tuson.


He said good margins were achieved, driven by buoyant local sales and higher export proceeds arising from the new US$1: $824 exchange rate for exporters.


The period under review ended with both local and export order books being healthy and earnings per share were in line with management forecasts.


Tuson said installation of the new press was on schedule and it was still projected to be in production during the third quarter.


“The Samancor con-tract in which General Beltings supplied up to one kilometre of belting per month to Samancor, the chrome division of South Africa’s BHP-Billiton mentioned at the company’s previous analysts’ briefing has run its course and has not been renewed,” the managing director said.


He said export sales at $987 million were 56% of total turnover of $1,8 billion to help the company record basic earnings per share in line with market forecast of 258 cents in the six months ended December 31 2002.

The company posted an attributable profit of $228 million during the period under review.


Earnings per share forecasts polled by the businessdigest for the six months were between 230 cents and 258 cents with the average being 244 cents per share.


Tuson said Zimbabwe remained the biggest single market with a contribution of $775 million to total turnover buoyed by firm demand from the mining sector during the six months under review.


Contribution to turn-over from combined export markets however exceeded local sales.


General Beltings is amanufacturer of a widerange of textile-rein-forced conveyor belting.


The Gryphon belting offered by General Beltings is designed to meet southern African conditions, and the company holds both the SABS1173: 2000 and SABS 971:1980 product marks which position the company strongly in the region in terms of pricing power and margins, analysts said.


“We are certified to the SABS ISO9002 and SAZ ISO14001 quality and environmental manage-ment systems respect-ively and count among our customers mining and industrial multina-tionals throughout thesouthern African re-gion,” the company said.


Pigott Maskew, ano-ther division of General Beltings Ltd based inBulawayo, which is re-presented by distributors throughout the region,manufactures a widerange of non-beltingrubber products for mining, agricultural, transport and constru-ction.


General Beltings share price gained 793% on the $7,50 listing price to close at $67 on Tuesday this week and analysts said the price is likely to continue on the upward trend during the last six months of the year.