LISTED agricultural concern Ariston Holdings nearly doubled revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2020, buoyed by an increase in production.
In a trading update, company secretary, Acquiline Chinamo said revenue for the period increased by 98% in inflation adjusted terms.
She did not disclose the numbers.
“The group’s revenue remains predominantly foreign currency denominated,” said Chinamo.
“Revenue for the three months ended 31 December 2020 increased by 98% in inflation adjusted terms, owing to the sharp increase in sales of tea, fruit and maize,” she added.
Chinamo revealed that tea production volumes increased to 941 tonnes during the period under review, from 821 tonnes during the comparable period in 2019, due to more favourable weather patterns compared to prior years.
In the fruit category, which comprises stone fruit and bananas, Chinamo said the wetter season experienced than in the prior year resulted in a 65% increase in banana production.
She said there had been an increase in poultry production in the first quarter.
Chinamo pointed out that favourable weather patterns allowed for the production of 32 tonnes of commercial maize in the first quarter.
She said the harvesting of mature macadamia begins in March adding that the lower production that was obtained in the first quarter is a “good indicator allowing greater production at maturity”.
She said the group closed the fourth quarter of 2020 with substantial tea stocks.
“In the first quarter of 2021 demand for export tea improved resulting in the group’s stockholdings being depleted. There was marginal improvement in selling prices. Local tea sales also increased compared to prior year,” Chinamo revealed.
“Sales of macadamia, fruit, poultry and maize are in line with both the prior period and production volumes.”
She said the lockdown measures introduced by the government to curb the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had a very negative impact on the sale of fresh fruit.
“Accordingly, a disproportionately larger volume of stone fruit has had to be sent to processors at reduced selling prices,” she said.
“All the estates are operational during the lockdown period as they are classified as essential services. Harvesting and production is progressing well, with volumes predicted to be ahead of the prior year. Measures implemented to protect staff have continued to be strictly monitored and adhered to.”
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to continue having minimal effect on the group’s performance,” she said.
“The board and management therefore believe that the group’s financial results for the year ended 30 September 2021 will be more favourable than those achieved for the year ended 30 September 2020.”