Sugar production at Anglo-American- owned Hippo Valley dropped by 17 percent from 284 109 tonnes in 2002 to 236 116 tonnes last year but revenue for the company shot up from $19.3 billion to $101.7 billion.
The company received full water allocation and was able to irrigate its entire cane crop but yield per hectare dropped from 107.7 tonnes to 106.3 tonnes.
There was also a significant drop in deliveries from third party cane suppliers with delivery from Mkwasine dropping from 426 700 tonnes to 368 934 tonnes and that from independent Hippo Valley growers falling from 580 586 tonnes to 350 787 tonnes.
Some 10 664 tonnes of sub-standard quality cane valued at $641.5 million was rejected.
Recovery was down to 82.3 percent down from 85.5 percent the previous year. Efficiency was also down from 89 percent to 87.6 percent. A total of 1.96 million tonnes was milled compared to 2.32 million tonnes the previous season.
The industry produced a total of 501 423 tonnes of sugar, a decrease of 14 percent from the 580 000 tonnes produced in 2002.
Domestic sales were nine percent down from the previous year due to production bottlenecks and shortages of coal at the Bulawayo and Harare refineries, coupled with the shortage of wagons to transport raw sugar from the Lowveld to the refineries.
Exports were also delayed because of the shortage of wagons.
Despite these problems, the company managed an operating profit of $35.3 billion up from only $3.8 billion the previous year. Net profit shot up from $2.5 billion to $20.8 billion.