By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Mazabuka
Mon 08 Aug. 2011, 11:59 CAT
OUTPUT at Zambia Sugar has this year risen to an all-time high of 385,000 tonnes on account of increased capacity utilisation at its new factory and favourable rainfall pattern. In the 2010 season, Zambia Sugar Plc, produced 315,000 tonnes of sugar.
The country’s biggest sugar producer in December 2009 commissioned the K1 trillion Nakambala Sugar Estate Expansion Project, which raised sugar production capacity at its factory from previous 200,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes.
According to the annual report seen after the company’s open day for its minority shareholders last Friday, Zambia Sugar Plc, which is 82 per cent owned by Illovo Group, said total cane throughput both from its internal sources and from outgrowers rose by 19 per cent to 3.1 million tonnes.
“Sugar production increased to 385, 000 tonnes from 315, 000 tonnes in the previous season, representing a new sugar production record for Zambia Sugar and the most produced by a single factory in the Illovo Group over the same period,” it said.
“Factory time efficiencies and the recovery of sugar from cane showed considerable improvement compared to the previous season.”
Separately, company secretary Lovemore Sievu, said favourable rainfall patterns this year helped to lift sugar output which, he said, would help improve its sugar export.
“We had good rains this year and the rains did our crop very well and we are looking at a very good year,” said Sievu in an interview.
About 60 per cent of sugar from Nakambala factory goes to the European Union and the Great Lakes region, with each market claiming half of the lot.
Zambia Sugar earnings per share dropped from K16. 09 in 2010 to K4.45 this year, and in tandem, dividends per share dropped from K7.50 to K3.55 during the same period, a move that unsettled some minority shareholders.
Sievu said the company would explain performance of the company during the AGM slated for Lusaka this month to avoid breaching Lusaka Stock Exchange rules on insider trading.
According to the statements of cash flow, Zambia Sugar’s net financing cost for the loans used by among other things the company’s expansion project this year surged K125 billion from K47 billion in 2010.
In April this year, the LuSE-listed Zambia Sugar Plc sealed a US $128 million syndicated term debt to refinance its three-year expansion programme.
Zambia Sugar administers a large estate with more than 2 500 housing units, accommodating over 16, 000 people, and it also provides and supports all municipal type-services, together with schooling and medical services.
During the period 2010/11 period, Zambia Sugar spent K22.7 billion on employee-related social investments.
Labels: ZAMBIA SUGAR COMPANY