ARISTON Holdings Limited (AHL) says Cyclone Idai damaged the company’s plantations in the Eastern Highlands, with early indications suggesting that the damage could be worth US$1,5 million.

“In March 2019, the group’s estates located in Chimanimani and Chipinge were affected by tropical Cyclone Idai. The damage on the estates varied substantially, with the greatest effects being experienced at Roscommon Estate which is located in Chimanimani,” chief executive Paul Spear said in a statement accompanying the company’s half year results.

“While there was no loss of life, damage was incurred on infrastructure, including roads, bridges, irrigation equipment, housing and to a lesser extent,
orchards. The group is currently seized with rebuilding the infrastructure that was damaged. Early indications are that US$1,5 million is required for this
rehabilitation work. The group is engaged with the matter through an insurance claim.”

Roscommon Estate produces the red tea wanganella, macadamia and potatoes, with a potential to increase production along with other key crops.

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“The group closed the half year with a profit-after-tax of ZWL$0,79 million compared to ZWL$0,028 million for the prior comparative period. Positive steps in
the restructuring of the group’s statement of financial position continued,” Spear said.

“The group was able to restructure the majority of its debt into long tenure and the weighted average interest rate continued to decline from 8% per annum to
6% per annum.”

Revenue was up 50% to ZWL$7,96 million in the period under review from the 2018 comparative of ZWL$5,3 million, driven by better pricing on export crops as
quality improved.

Of concern was a 249% increase in operating expenses to ZWLS$6,73 million from ZWL$1,92 million in 2018, which the group says was a result of the depreciation
of the ZWL$ versus the US$.

Total assets grew to ZWL$57,91 million for the period under review from last’s year comparative of ZWL$46,31 million.

In terms of liquidity, AHL had a current ratio of 1,79, indicating the firm was adequately covered to cover its liabilities should they come due. AHL’s net
profit margin was 22,34% at the end of the period under review.

In an outlook, Spear said the company would look to macademia and tea exports, while also leveraging on the interbank market to maintain value.

“The majority of our harvesting and selling activities occur in the second half of the year,” he said.