Brighton Gumbo, Business Reporter
AGRO processing concern Ariston Holdings recorded a six percent decline in its revenue to $11,8 million for the year ended September 30, 2015.
During the same comparable period in the prior year, the group posted $12,5 million revenue.
In a statement accompanying Ariston holdings financial results for the period under review, the company’s chairman Robbie Mupawose attributed the drop in revenue to the fundamentals of a shrinking economy and high interest rates.
He said these challenges continued to put a strain on the group, while working capital was at times critically short.
“Certain key crops such as macadamia have performed very well while others such as tea continue to suffer from low international prices,” said Mupawose.
“Strong performance from macadamia and deciduous fruit are the positive results of the recent investments. Short-term crops have been a disappointment this season. As production from plantation crops increases, the emphasis on annual cropping will decline.”
He added that the group was looking at beginning the harvest of macadamia this month as prices for macadamia nuts remain firm and interest from buyers was strong.
The group recorded a loss after tax of $1,7 million for the period under review compared to $1,5 million in 2014.
Finance costs for the group stood at $2,2 million and the slanted average cost of borrowing during the period was 18,8 percent per annum.
Ariston’s operating losses continued to fall and were significantly reduced by $3,2 million the prior year to $300,000 in 2015.
Mupawose said early rains were limited on the tea estates amid predictions of normal to below normal rains this season.
He said early season stone fruit production had been slightly disappointing and exports sales had preceded expectations while local sales prices had been forced downwards by increased local production.
He said the working capital would again be at a premium for the first half of the year.
The group recently announced that it was still negotiating a transaction which if successful will have an impact on the company’s share price, capital structure and in turn the shareholding structure of the company.
Ariston Holdings is a diversified agro-industrial concern listed on the Zimbabwe stock exchange.
Its interests span a variety of crops including tea, macadamia, banana, apples, peaches, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, maize, soya beans and it has poultry and beef cattle.