Zimplow targets to grow exports 25pct in FY2015, eyes more regional markets

Zimplow targets to grow exports 25pct in FY2015, eyes more regional markets

By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, April 28 (The Source) – Agro and mining equipment manufacturing group Zimplow Holdings expects to grow exports by 25 percent and will resume exports to South Sudan, an official has said

Chief executive, Zondi Kumwenda told The Source on Tuesday that the company had targetted to increase exports to 40,000 ploughs this year from 32,000 previously.

It will export 25,000 ox-drawn ploughs to Angola by end of June driven by the growth of agriculture in that country and resume sales to Zambia and Namibia to improve earnings in light of declining local market.

“We are planning to export 25,000 ploughs to Angola. Hopefully we would have delivered them by end of June,” said Kumwenda.

“We need to export as much as we can to try and bring liquidity back into the business.”

He said to the low demand due to the liquidity challenges in the local economy, the group’s primary goal for this year was “survival.”

On the debtors book, Kumwenda said it remained “messy” but the company was making progress in recovering old debts while new sales were now on a cash basis.

Following a rights issue to raise $5 million at the beginning of the year, the company also sold a building for $3 million and used the money to reduce a substantial amount of its borrowings which hamstrung the group’s operations.

“It has given us a bit of latitude in terms of the finance costs. We have a stronger balance sheet even during tough times like now,” he said.

Zimplow’s total debt stood at $13,15 million as at  October 31last year with $8,4 million of it being short-term while the company was paying close to $1,3 million annually in interest charges.

On the first quarter, Kumwenda trading has been mixed with some units behind budget.

“It has been slower than we expected and it’s also linked to the liquidity issues in the economy. Volumes are a  little bit lower than last year but in terms of market share on the agricultural side we have gained more market share in the first quarter,” he said.

Its subsidiaries include Tractive Power Holdings, Barzem, Farmec, Northmec, Mealie Brand and C.T. Bolts.