Ariston records $1,7m loss

ARISTON HoldingsBusiness Reporter
ARISTON Holdings recorded a loss of $1,7 million in the full year to September 2015 from a profit of $1,5 million a year earlier due to an increase in finance costs.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed firm, which is involved in the production of horticultural, tea, macadamia and poultry products said finance costs rose to $3 million from $829 000. The average weighted costs of borrowings was 18,8 percent per annum.

Long term borrowings increased to $10 million during the period under review from $2,8 million a year earlier. Short term borrowings decreased to $5,4 million from $10,6 million.

The majority shareholder intends to convert loans it extended to the company into equity as part of the balance sheet restructuring.

Origin Global Holdings owns about 68 percent of Ariston and the deal will see the main shareholder raising its equity.

Revenue for the period declined by 6 percent to $11,8 million, while loss from discontinued operations, in respect to the closure of the trading division FAVCO, was $3,4 million.

Southdown Estates contributed about 76 percent of the group’s revenue at $9 million.

On operations, macadamia volumes increased by 25 percent to a record yield of 1, 385 tonnes. Prices were also at an all-time high.

The company said considerable work has been made on the rehabilitation of orchards in addition to a modest expansion of the planted area.

“All indications are that prices will remain high and approximately half of next season’s crop has been sold forward at favourable prices,” chairman Dr Rob Mupawose said.

“Thus the macadamia crop is poised to make an increased contribution to the group.”

Sales of blended tea slightly dropped to 740 tonnes from 750 tonnes. The company is seeking to have its tea estates obtain Rain Forests Alliance approval in the next season.

“Our belief is that this certification, combined with work done during the season to improve made-tea quality and steady small improvements in international pricing, will return viability.”

Stone fruit sales volumes increased to 340 tonnes from 143 tonnes a year earlier after new plantings delivered their first output.

Pome fruit production and sales volumes were 50 percent up on the prior year 1 174 tonnes and 874 tonnes respectively.

Potato sales volume were marginally above the prior and below expectations. Poultry sales volumes was at 1 038.

The company said it expects to start making profits during the current financial year from Nyanga Trout Farming, a joint venture with Three Streams Holdings.

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