By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, May 4 (The Source) – Agro and mining equipment manufacturing group Zimplow Holdings has recorded a five percent increase in turnover for the quarter to March 31 compared to last year although profitability remains subdued due to a decline in business at key subsidiary, Mealie-Brand.
Local volumes for the animal traction business were down 25 percent, attributed to low returns at the tobacco floors.
The company, which plans to grow exports by 25 percent this year, recorded an eight percent growth in exports during the period under review.
“Deliveries to certain markets have been delayed while the Zambian market was affected by the weakening Kwacha. It is hoped that exports will recover in the second half of the year,” chief executive Zondi Kumwenda told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on Monday.
Kumwenda last week told The Source that the company targeted to increase exports to 40,000 ploughs this year from 32,000 previously, with 25,000 meant for Angola by end of June.
Plans are also underway to resume exports to Zambia and Namibia.
Farmec tractor volumes increased by 37 percent and generator sets by 21 percent compared to the same period last year.
“The trend has also been encouraging on implements, increasing by 56 percent against last year’s achievement,” said Kumwenda.
He said workshop hours were “disappointing” at 30 percent below last year’s recovery.
Volumes at Barzem, which sells Caterpillar and Hyster brands, were up eight percent while workshop hours recovered were 61 percent ahead of prior year due to use of skills in the region.
CT Bots volumes for the quarter “have been encouraging with mild steel bolts increasing by 59 percent while HT bolts increased by 115 percent,” Kumwenda said.
Going forward, he said, the group would continue to focus on overheads rationalisation as well as growing exports and improve efficiencies in factories and workshops.
Zimplow’s subsidiaries include Tractive Power Holdings, Barzem, Farmec, Northmec, Mealie Brand and C.T. Bolts.