Padenga targets higher skin exports to Europe

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KARIBA — Crocodile products exporter, Padenga Holdings Ltd has targeted to grow skin exports to Europe by 80% to counter falling sales of crocodile meat, an official has said.

Group chief executive, Gary Sharp in an interview last Thursday said although meat export volumes declined in 2014, sales for Himalaya skins, which are for high end ladies’ handbags improved significantly.

The first tier skins fetch 25% more than the other grades, attracting luxury brands such as Louise Vutton, Gucci, Channel and Prada.
Sharp said the group was reducing the slaughter of crocodiles to October from December to cut costs and maximise on the winter period in which crocodile skins thicken, improving quality.

“We noticed the advantage of the winter season, skin quality improves,” Sharp said.

In 2013, Padenga produced 43 000 skins which were all sold.

The company said revenue increased to $26,9 million for the 18 months to December 2013 after achieving $17,9 million in the 12 months to June 2012. Attributable profit declined 5% to $3,2 million.

Padenga changed its financial year end from June to December to match with the culling season.

Cash generated from operating activities doubled to $8,2 million despite an increase in consumable stock and livestock costs.

“Demand for crocodile meat in both Asia and Europe remained depressed, forcing us to start offering low value cuts previously sold to Asia into the local market.

“Total meat volumes sold across all markets declined 16% to 209 tonnes from 249 tonnes sold in the year to June 2012,” group chairman Alexander Calder said in a statement accompanying the results.

Earnings per share fell to 0,60 cents from 0,63 cents in the comparable period last year. It declared a dividend of 0,16 cents per share.

— The Source