HARARE: Listed diversified group Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) Corporation remained in the red but narrowed its loss for the full year ended September 2015 to $590 000 from $1,1 million last year on the back of improvements in sales on the domestic market.
Presenting the group financials, ART chairman Moses Chundu said in the period, revenue went up four percent to $29,8 million. “The improvement in performance was as a result of the recapitalisation of the factories, production efficiencies and focus on cost containment,” he said.
While the group could not declare a dividend, shareholders losses also narrowed due to the improvement in financial performance as the basic losses per share came down to 0,13 from 0,24 during the same period last year. ART Corporation produces popular brands in the local market such as Exide batteries, Eversharp pens and Softex tissues.
Mr Chundu said the group’s capacity utilisation improved to 69 percent from 59 percent last year while volumes for tissues and pens increased on the local market. A marginal three percent decline was however registered in terms of battery and pen sales on the export market.
In terms of divisional performance, the battery segment which contributed 65 percent to group turnover, recorded an operating profit of $1.2 million from $967 000 last year.
The pen division saw revenues surge 14 percent although its operating profit declined to $340 000 from $422 000 due to an on-going recapitalization program. The paper division was the only segment to post a loss, although the position improved to $387 000 from a $1 million loss last year.
Mr Chundu said ART was planning to complete the refurbishment of its battery plant in the new financial year to improve its technologies as well as cut production costs. “The board is confident that the group’s prospects are brighter in the financial year 2016,” the ART chairman said.