BY MELODY CHIKONO
CABLES producer Cafca was this week rated the best Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed company in the 2021 edition of the Quoted Companies Survey (QCS), a product of the country’s leading business weekly, Zimbabwe Independent.
Piping products manufacturer Proplastics was named first runner-up. Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART), one of Zimbabwe’s most outstanding conglomerates, rated second runner-up. This year’s survey was dominated by manufacturing sector giants.
The 2021 QCS period presented complex challenges to Zimbabwean firms after Covid-19 tore through the world, turning economies upside down as governments, including in Zimbabwe, responded by rolling out hard lockdowns.
For Zimbabwe, Covid-19 presented a unique challenge, as the country had already slid into its most significant crisis in a decade when the pandemic reached Africa.
Masimba and Proplastics represent an interesting case. Proplastics was unbundled from Masimba and separately listed on the ZSE, after which it embarked on the construction of its US$1 million production plant, which came on line this year. The two giants have since dominated in their respective niches.
Lead adjudicator Respect Gwenzi said while Zimbabwean firms demonstrated significant resilience under a vexing economic crisis, the currency issue needed to be solved.
“The survey observed that listed companies are yet to fully stabilise following the changes in currency,” Gwenzi said.
“The lack of stability is reflected in mixed-to-reduced volumes performance across most of the companies. The survey observed that while there was a general sustained reduction in volumes, on average, the declines were not as severe as the prior year. Also, the decline in volumes was largely noted in the first half period of the year.
“The tilting macro-environment did not only affect companies’ performances, but also the preparation of accounts. First, Covid-19 delayed the preparation of accounts as movement restrictions dragged all processes. Further, the adoption of hyperinflation accounting and some accounting standards pertaining to the change in currency complicated the accounting processes.”
Commenting on the top three winners, Gwenzi said: “Cafca has leveraged its geographical spread to mitigate the risk of economic downturn and cushion sales. A surge in exports helped drive the company’s performance in a year where most listed concerns suffered volume losses. Since its unbundling from Masimba in 2015, Proplastics has become nimble and focused, which over the years has allowed it to exploit opportunities in its space, both locally and regionally. The installation of a PVC 9 line plant in the year under review, however, proved to be the game-changer. The company’s production capacity is set to increase to 70%, while production is projected to double.”
Croc skins producer, Padenga Holdings Limited, which has recently ventured into mining, emerged winner in the Sustainability Award.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe came in as first runner-up, while cane producer Hippo Valley Estates Limited was second runner-up.
In the Innovation and Technology category, Simbisa Brands Limited was voted as the best.
Logistics outfit, Unifreight Africa Limited was first runner up.
Financial services giant, FBC Holdings was the second runner-up.
CBZ Holdings chairperson, Marc Holtzman won the Corporate Leader of the Year award.
His runner-up was corporate governance guru, Canaan Dube.
“Marc Holtzman is an accomplished corporate leader with 31 years in frontier and emerging markets. He is recognised as the inaugural corporate leader of the year for listed companies for his efforts in turning around CBZH,” Gwenzi said.
“The bank has historically made profits, but not at par with the relative size of its assets. With the change in shareholder structure Holtzman came in as board chairperson and led a massive restructuring exercise. He scouted for Zimbabwe’s best talent across the world, relieved underperforming managers and helped inspire a new culture at the bank. The bank’s 2021 financials reflect early fruits of these changes. The bank’s earnings are now spread wider with the risk of non-performing loans further diminished,” he noted.