Pandemic blues hit TSL – Business Times

TINASHE MAKICHI

The devastating Covid-19 pandemic has impacted agro-business concern TSL Limited’s volumes across most of its units resulting in 16% slump in the group’s revenue.

Revenue for the group stood at ZWL$2.1bn in the year to October 31, 2020, from ZWL$2.5bn in prior comparative period.

Inflation adjusted profit for the group also fell 47% to ZWL$378.4m from ZWL$709.2m.

“The increase in infections in the country has significantly disrupted business operations.

Though group entities continued to operate as essential services during the lockdown period, supply chains have been disrupted to varying degrees.

The full impact of the pandemic on the group’s future financial performance remains uncertain,” company secretary James Muchando.

He added: “The pandemic increased health and safety risks and consequently the cost to business of keeping staff and business partners safe while operating at reduced capacities.“

Supply chains were significantly disrupted and will be for the foreseeable future.

The disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were expected to continue beyond the calendar year.”

Volumes at Tobacco Sales Floor were 6.69m kg, which was 69% below prior year owing to the smaller tobacco crop and auction floors not receiving the requisite approvals to decentralise.

Contracted volumes handled for tobacco merchants were 8.46m kg, reflecting a 42% decline compared to the same period last year.

Volumes at Propak Hessian were down 24% due to the decline in national tobacco crop and reduced volumes through the independent auction market.

End to end logistics services tobacco handling volumes were 9% behind prior year due to the later start of the tobacco selling season and delays in tobacco processing.

Volumes in the ports business decreased 51% due to generally slower movement of both imports and exports owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Handling volumes at Premier Forklifts were 23% below prior year due to the delayed start of tobacco processing.

Forklift sales were also depressed as most customers held back on capital projects under lockdown.

Volumes in the freight forwarding and customs clearing business were depressed as imports by the customer base remained subdued while vehicle rental services Avis’rental days were 54% below prior year as the business was significantly affected by the ban on both local and international travel during the year as a result of the global pandemic.

Agricura, however, recorded volume growth across major product lines, largely attributable to product availability and more attractive pricing on locally manufactured products.

The drought impacted the uptake of agro chemicals in general; however, Agricura has seen an increase in market share.

The business invested in enhancing its manufacturing capabilities in partnership with international players.

This allowed for a strategic shift in the current year from over-reliance on imported finished products to more locally produced chemicals under license.“

Volumes in these product lines are growing steadily with the business being able to better meet demand for animal health remedies in the current period.

The business will continue to invest in upgrading its plant and machinery to widen the range of products that are locally manufactured,” Muchando said. 

The company has also been producing hand sanitisers and disinfectants for the market as part of its social responsibility in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

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