ZAMBIA – Zambeef Products Plc, the integrated cold chain foods and retail business in Zambia, has set aside K130 million (US$7.45m) to construct 960 housing units at Huntley Farm in Chisamba to provide decent accommodation for employees and meet the shortage in the area.
According to reports by Daily Mail Zambia, the company has about 2,000 employees at Huntley Estate in Chisamba.
The estate will comprise three categories of units: low, medium and high cost.
This is according to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report submitted by Zambeef Products Plc to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
“With the economic growth in the food supply sector in Zambia in recent years, Zambeef Products Plc’s forward-looking prospects foresee the need to invest some of the financial resources in the provision of decent accommodation for its employees,” highlighted the report.
The agriculture focused entity is one of the beneficiaries of the government’s K10 billion (US$572.7m) stimulus package, aimed to help cushion local businesses from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, the government of Zambia through the Bank of Zambia, established a Targeted Medium-Term Refinancing Facility to provide short-term liquidity through commercial lending institutions such as Absa.
Tapping into the financing, the country’s largest retailer has signed an agreement with Absa Bank Zambia to receive K220 million (US$12.6m) from the government-backed COVID-19 stimulus package.
The drawdown will enable the agribusiness giant to repay a significant portion of its US-dollar denominated debt and boost its working capital pool.
In its full-year ended September 2021, Zambeef, has reported a 28% rise in revenue in Kwacha terms.
However due to the depreciation of the local currency, the metrics in US$ reduced by 2% in comparison to 2020.
The group generated an operating profit, including profit from asset held for sale, of ZMW299.3 million (US$14.1 million) compared to ZMW212.1 million (US$13.1 million) in the prior financial year.
The operating profit excluding profit from asset held for sale was ZMW267.3 million (US$12.6 million) compared to ZMW210.5 million (US$13.1 million) achieved in the previous financial year.
Profit before tax was ZMW203.9 million (US$9.7 million) compared to a loss before tax of ZMW22.7 million (US$1.4 million) achieved in the prior financial year.
The group’s performance in the face of headwinds illustrates the strength of its vertically integrated business model, the strength of its brands and a good management team.
Despite the macro-economic headwinds and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Zambeef’s underlying performance has been and is expected to remain resilient, improving as the economic situation improves.