BAT Zimbabwe in $4.6m profit, declares dividend

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HARARE – Cigarette manufacturer, British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT Zim) on Wednesday announced a 27 percent jump in after tax profit to $4,6 million for the half-year ended June, 2017.

The jump in profit, despite a 0,5 percent decrease in revenue to $16,7 million, was aided by the group’s ability to contain its administrative expenses which fell by nearly $2 million to $3, 6 million.

The group declared 22 cents per share dividend.

BAT Zimbabwe chairman Lovemore Manatsa said the firm had recorded a 0,2 growth in sales volumes which was spurred by its low priced cigarette brand, Ascot.

“Conversely, sales volumes for Dunhill, the company’s premium brand,  declined moderately compared to the same period last year,”Mr Manatsa  said.

BAT Zimbabwe is estimated to control up to 80 percent of the local market and produces popular cigarette brands such as Benson and Hedges, Everest, Madison and Kingsgate.

The improved financial performance saw the group’s basic earnings per share going up by four cents to $0,22.

Mr Manatsa said while the operating environment remained challenging, given the foreign currency and cash shortages as well as high production costs, the group would strive to deliver a “decent return on investment to our shareholders.”

Foreign currency shortages have also seen the group owing its foreign shareholders around $11 million in unpaid dividends. In the period, BAT Zimbabwe paid $14, 1 million in taxes to the Government, down from $16 million in the comparable period last year.

By the close of the period, the firm’s assets were worth $35, 1 million, up from $31, 7 million. – New Ziana