Unifreight trading revenue up 7,15%

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Unifreight Africa Ltd trading revenues rose 7,15% in the five months to May helped by increased business in Swift and new contracts at Bulwark, management said.

Chris Muronzi

Unifreight CEO Gary Smith told shareholders at an annual general meeting in the capital on Tuesday that the business was set to improve in the second half of the year.

“To the end of May 2015, trading revenues have increased 7,15% compared to 2014. This is due mainly to increased business for Swift and new contracts awarded under Bulwark. The Group traditionally has a muted start to any trading year and results always improve in the second half of the year,” Smith said.

Although the business was in an overall loss position of US$350 000 to May, he said some of the group’s business units were either in a cumulative profit or break-even position.

Smith said Unifreight was continually looking to improve its fleet.

He said the company had added 24 branded Tautliner trailers to its Swift fleet, increasing capacity for volumetric deliveries for a number of key customers in the tobacco, sugar and bottling industries.

“We are also in the process of replacing our crucial collection and delivery fleet under the Swift business with the purchase of 10 Scania horses and rigids, as well as 30 Isuzu purpose built vehicles. In addition, we are looking to purchase another 12 Scania 460 horses to add additional capacity to our long haul fleet and 10 motorcycles for our smaller town deliveries,” Smith said.

“As a group, we are never content to maintain the status quo and are constantly looking for new business opportunities and markets to penetrate. With a robust and energetic management structure now in place which is continually evolving we strive to ensure quality staff are in place to drive the group forward. We are constantly improving our IT and are currently involved in replacing our accounting package with a system that will assist with more robust and effective reporting.”

Smith said in line with the group’s Indigenisation and Empowerment Plan, the company was finalising the establishment of an Employee Share Ownership Trust.

The company said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Indigenisation to train and support youths and woman in the transport and logistics fields.

He said Unifreight had also acquired an additional 10% interest in an associate company, Tredcor Zimbabwe t/a Trentyre.

Unifreight disposed of closed subsidiaries, Pioneer Transport, Pioneer Coaches and Pioneer Clan Botswana.
Unifreight recorded an operating profit of US$1,735 million in the full year to December from continuing operations compared to US$599 000 in 2013, but reported a net loss after taxation of US$233 000 owing to the impairment of goodwill of US$2,5 million which arose in the acquisition of Tredcor Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd.

“The board made a decision to fully impair the goodwill as fair value of the liabilities of that business exceeded the fair value of assets on acquisition date and the business has negative projected cash flows,” chairman Patrick Chingoka said in the group’s annual report.

He said a net profit of US$2,329 million of 2013 was due to a gain on the of the business of Unifreight Ltd of US$2,456 million.

Chingoka said shareholders wrote off discontinued operations’ loans amounting to a total of US$5 million in 2014 reported under other income.

“This resulted in the said operations recording an after taxation profit of US$1,507 million in 2014, compared to a loss after taxation of US$3,6 million in 2013,” he said.

Chingoka said the group continues to streamline and align costs throughout its remaining operations and the on-going recapitalisation of the business.

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