BAT scoops first prize at Zimind Quoted Companies Survey

LISTED cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco (BAT) Zimbabwe scooped the first prize in the 2014 Zimbabwe Independent Quoted Companies Survey at a colourful ceremony held in Harare this week sponsored by CBZ Holdings Ltd.

Taurai Mangudhla

The 16th edition of the prestigious survey ranked a total 10 companies out of the top 40 companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) based on their growth and activity.

The inaugural edition of the awards was held in 1998, a year after the Zimbabwe independent started publishing.

In an interview, BAT Zimbabwe MD Lovemore Manatsa said the award was uplifting for the cigarette maker which is operating in a difficult operating environment.

“This shows that we are pulling together as a team despite the challenges,” Manatsa said.

“Our volumes as of May were flat versus the same period last year, but as we run now in the second half of the year we are just there above last year,” he said.

Listed diversified group TSL Ltd was ranked second while retailer OK Zimbabwe came third.

Financial services group FBC Holdings was fourth, followed by National Foods in fifth. Beverage manufacturer Delta Corporation was slotted in at number sixth. Financial services group CBZ Holdings was ranked seventh while the country’s largest mobile network provider Econet Wireless Zimbabwe was eighth. African Distillers and seed manufacturer Seedco Ltd complete the list in ninth and tenth position respectively.

Adjudicators said the 2014 edition abandoned the traditional category approach due to the low level of activity on the local bourse.

“This year we said there was no activity in some sectors so we just said there is no need to rank the best of the worst. We just said there is one sector called the ZSE,” said one of the analysts and adjudicator Ranga Makwata.

Makwata said listed companies have been hamstrung by economic challenges that have seen a number of companies laying off employees or shutting down.

According to latest statistics Zimbabwe’s average industry capacity utilisation stood at 39,6% in 2013. Industry experts say the situation could be worse in 2014 due to infrastructure bottlenecks such as lack of adequate electricity and water supplies, lack of funding, reduced or low aggregate domestic demand have weighed down industry.

Insiders in the Retrenchment Board revealed that the recorded number of retrenchments from January to date stands at just over 2060, averaging 343 per month with an estimated 30% of the retrenchments done informally.