ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed cigarette-making firm British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT) recorded flat cigarette sales volume for the five months to May due to the depressed demand in the first half of the year.
Speaking on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting in Harare yesterday, BAT managing director Lovemore Manatsa said the group’s figures were 1% below target.
“In terms of trading for the first half of the year so far, we are flat compared to last year, but certainly in line with our target. We are just down by 1% hoping that in the second half of the year, the trading would have much improved and hopefully will claw back the 1% in the second half of the year,” Manatsa said.
He said going into the second half of the year the company would be targeting to improve performance.
“If you look at the rest of the regional performances all of them are picking up now, including the eastern part of the country,” Manatsa said.
He, however, said the Dunhill and Everest brands were doing well on the market and were ahead of target while Madison brand was slightly below target although it was the leading brand in the country contributing the highest volumes.
Manatsa said the company plans to improve the brands, particularly Madison, and will run a promotion to reward consumers, a move that would also boost volumes.
He added that Harare had the biggest consumption because of the economic activities in the capital and Mutare was also picking up due to the ethanol plant.
In the financial year ended December 31 2013, BAT saw its revenue declining 14% to $44,5 million compared to the same period in 2012 due to discontinued export of cut rag to Mozambique.
Operating profit was reduced to $9,8 million from $17,6 million in 2012 due to a share-based payment expense of $10,9 million which represent total value of shares and dividends awarded to employees under the employee share ownership scheme.