HARARE, December 4 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s largest seed producer SeedCo narrowed its loss after tax by 27 percent to $5,5 million in the six months to September on increased volumes, reduced finance charges and exchange rate gains.
Group turnover increased by 17 percent to $18,8 million driven by winter cereals and demand for early maize seed in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Botswana.
Finance charges fell by 44 percent, benefitting from aggressive debt collection and access to more cost effective bank facilities in most markets.
Gross margins were lower as price adjustments were failing to keep up with currency devaluation in most markets outside Zimbabwe.
During the period under review, current bank borrowings nearly doubled from $11,7 million to $20,6 million while operating costs increased by 25 percent to $15,6 million.
“The current year presents major challenges for the group mainly from weakening of the currencies as well as erratic rainfall in the major markets in which we operate,” said company secretary John Matorofa in a statement accompanying group results Friday.
He said in the medium to long-term, the group would increase its market share in East Africa with Kenya, Tanzania and DRC all showing signs of growth.
Limagrain — the largest seed company in Europe and the fourth largest in the world — acquired a 30 percent stake in the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed group which has operations in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia for $60 million.