Agro-focused group, TSL Limited says performance during the five months of the year is better than same period last year and the group is expecting improved profitability for the half year period.
Chief executive Washington Matsaira who retires at the end of this month after six years at the helm of the conglomerate, told shareholders in a trading update that the group has witnessed a good start to the year with operations above budget.
“We are only one month away from our half year results, but indications are that we are above last year with the group having witnessed an encouraging start to this year’s season,” he said.
He said the agricultural trading operations witnessed strong performance during the period buoyed by product availability and strong weather patterns.
Outlook for the tobacco related business is positive with the national crop estimated around 200 million kilogrammes up from 189 million kg last year.
Matsaira said the company’s share of tobacco merchant auctioning business remain strong, adding that the group has secured sufficient hessian stocks to meet greater demand.
Farming operations remains satisfactory with improved yields and quality for tobacco, soya and maize crops. He said a new 25 hectares of banana has been planted while also a trial run of peas for export has been planted.
The logistics cluster registered an increase in general cargo volumes while distribution and ports volumes were depressed due to foreign currency shortages.
The forklift business registered satisfactory performance due to increase in non-tobacco handling business while the freight forwarding business performance was ahead of prior year but hard currency availability remains key. The car rental unit, Avis, registered a marginal increase in demand.
“Overall focus remains on securing new customers and upgrading technology,” he said.
Investments in both Nampak and Cut Rag remain profitable but the shareholding is remains for sale.
Matsaira will be replaced as CE by Pat Devenish, a former chief executive of the now disbanded AICO Holdings.
Devenish rejoins the group, eight years after leaving. He has previously worked as the managing director of TSL’s flagship unit, Tobacco Sales Floor.- The Source