HARARE, November 23 (The Source) – Regional seed producer, SeedCo narrowed its loss after tax to $2 million in the six months to September from $9,3 million in the comparable period last year, attributable to an increase in sales and a decline in finance costs.
Revenue increased by 45 percent to $36,1 million from $24,8 million in the same period last year on early maize seed sales and improved winter cereal seed sales.
Both maize seed and winter cereals sales volumes rose 34 percent and 251 percent respectively, resulting in gross margin increasing by nine percentage points to 49 percent.
Finance costs decreased from $2,1 million to $1,3 million as the group reduced its borrowings by 28 percent to $32,9 million.
However operating expenses increased by 27 percent to $20 million from $15,7 million in the same period last year as a result of increased research and marketing activities.
Total assets increased to $224,3 million from $196,4 million previously.
Outside Zimbabwe SeedCo has operations in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
The group is in the process of partially unbundling its external operations which it inturn plans to consolidate and list on a regional stock exchange.
“We are making good progress in terms of listing our regional operations and right now we are left with very few regulatory requirements. We are expecting to list in the first quarter of the next calendar year, hopefully before our financial year end which is March,” Chief executive Morgan Nzwere told The Source on the sidelines of the company analyst briefing.
Finance director, John Matorofa said all the governments that owed the group in the previous financial year had almost cleared their debts. Seedco was owed a total of $16,7 million by the governments of Botswana, Zambia, Malawi,Tanzania and Rwanda.
“The government of Zimbabwe has already paid up in full for this season, partly in cash and the remainder in treasury bills,” said Matorofa.
He said the group received treasury bills worth $32 million from the government of Zimbabwe for the current season.
The group indicated that it expects an increase in its profit for the full year on the back of continued market share growth in key markets such as East Africa and government input support programs.