ZIMBABWE – Paper and packaging group Nampak Zimbabwe has said the business recorded growth in revenues for the six months to end March 31, 2019 supported by growth in volumes in some categories.

The company however said that the overall performance was negatively affected by foreign currency shortages that resulted in supply gaps especially in plastic packaging in addition to rising inflation.

At Hunyani paper and packaging, revenue increased over the period supported by 10 percent growth in volumes while raw material constrains negatively impacted performance of the cartons, labels and sacks division.

According to Nampak, the corrugated products division experienced higher local and export orders but still suffered from stiff competition in the corrugated division from the commercial sector.

Under the plastics and metals segment, CarnaudMetalbox revenue rose significantly despite a 33 percent decline in volumes as demand was affected by the obtaining illiquidity in the market, reports The Herald.

During this year’s annual general meeting, the company’s managing director, John Van Gend, said that the firm had grown its export base in the region over the past year, though it was not sufficient to cover operational costs.

Van Gend said the biggest challenge facing the company was inadequate foreign currency to source raw materials.

“We are continuing to develop export markets for our products and have grown our exports into the region, particularly Malawi and Democratic Republic of Congo over the last 12 months. However, these exports are not yet enough to fund our raw material import requirement.

“Overall, we continue to look for areas where we can rationalise and improve the business, with focus on continued cost control, growing our exports and preservation of shareholder value,” he said.

He said the company’s unit, Megapak, was attracting a strong demand for beverage-related products with a sizable export market into the DRC.

“I am pleased to report that demand is firm across all sectors of our group, and our turnover for the first quarter was ahead of the comparable period last year by 13%.

We must however acknowledge that there is a certain inflationary element in the numbers,” he said.

Going forward, Van Gend said management would continue to cut costs, though it was becoming more challenging in the face of mounting inflationary pressures.