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Batteries power Art profits

Art Corporation’s profit after tax rose to US$3,2 million in the half year to 31 March 2018 from US$1,2 million thanks to strong performance in its battery division and other units.

By Melody Chikono

The group’s revenue jumped 45% at US$22million helped by improved sales volumes in all its business units.

The overall performance was mainly driven by a strong performance from the battery division which achieved a US$3,2 million operating profit.

Art last year commissioned a new battery factory in Harare which has increased capacity and improved efficiencies, helping lift volumes.

On the other hand, Statutory Instrument 20 of 2016 saw automotive batteries and deep-cycle batteries being protected, shifting the demand from foreign batteries to local ones. In a statement accompanying the interim results, group chairman Thomas Wushe said factory volumes showed a 25% increase, which was on the back of improved product availability. He added that the benefits of a capitalisation exercise were realised during the period as battery case supply challenges were addressed.

During the period, Chloride Zambia returned to profitability, posting earnings of US$192 000 compared to a loss of US$53 000 in the prior period.

The paper division reported an operating profit of US$285 000 compared to US$52 817 in 2017 with Kadoma Paper Mills sales volumes up 16% in the prior year.

Demand for timber was firm during the period, enabling the Mutare business to achieve an operating profit US$210 million compared to US$22 million last year.

The Eversharp unit achieved an operating profit of US$931 million buoyed by a 70% growth in regional sales.

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