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CFI mulls joint ventures

SHAME MAKOSHORI

AGRO-industrial dealer, CFI Holdings Limited is scouting for joint ventures (JVs) to strengthen its poultry operations and achieve a broad strategy that targets full-scale recapitalisation of its units.

The animal health group, with interests in a broad range of agricultural-based units, including milling firms Victoria Foods, Agrifoods, Agrimix and Vetco, saw inflation adjusted turnover shoot by 30,1% to $3,4 billion during the full year ended September 30, 2020, underpinned by the consolidation of poultry breeder, Crest after coming out of judicial management.

Farm & City Centre, Crest Breeders and Hubbard Zimbabwe also fall within the CFI empire.

This week, chairperson, Itai Pasi confirmed that CFI largely presides over a balance sheet that is relatively short of capital, as some operations ran under care and maintenance, or were under administration.

“Crest Poultry Group’s units Crest Breeders, Hubbard Zimbabwe and Suncrest Chickens remained under care and maintenance during the period,” Pasi said.

“Joint ventures leveraging the group’s poultry infrastructure and brands are still being pursued. The board will be supporting further recapitalisation of all the business units in the year ahead. The management of a consistent raw materials supply line for Agrifoods and Victoria Foods will remain an ongoing priority given the current liquidity situation in the economy and long delivery lead times for imported products,” she said.

“Priority will also be given to the development of low-cost housing delivery in Harare South, in support of government’s Vision 2030 on housing. The scourge of land barons will need a resolution to make way for progressive and orderly infrastructure development and service delivery to the various settlements,” Pasi noted, in relation to the firm’s property interests.

CFI is also seeking the reversal of several regulatory actions, including an end to judicial management to some of its units. On Sunday, the firm said it lifted operating profit by almost 11% to $701 million from $633 million previously. Post tax profits slowed to $235 million during the period, from $236 million.

Pasi feels the operation has to pursue more liftings of judicial management, including one slapped on Victoria Foods, while pushing for a return to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

The ZSE suspended trading in the CFI’s stock in January 2018, saying it had violated listing requirements.

It was a dramatic year for CFI, which saw Victoria Foods slip into administration around the same period. But after Crest Poultry came out of judicial management and helped CFI scale up revenues, directors would want to see the rest of the group freed from these regulatory actions, as it faces a tough 2021, whose turbulences have been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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