Zimbabwe based sugar miller Starafrica appoints new head as company turn to profitability

ZIMBABWE – Starafrica Corporation, an established sugar refinery in Zimbabwe, manufacturing and marketing sugar-based products, has appointed Engineer Robson Nyabadza as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective February 1 2022.

The new appointee replaces Mr Regis Matyiri who had served the company for 16 years as the head of the entity.

Before his appointment, Mr Nyabadza was Chief Technical Officer for the company and is a Chartered Accountant and Electronics Engineer.

He has vast experience in sugar refining, mining and manufacturing, project management and general management at senior executive level.

Mr Nyabadza has been instrumental in the re-tooling of the sugar refining plant, which is crucial to increasing production, improving plant efficiencies, product quality and growing sales locally and regionally.

Starafrica registers bullish performance

According to the miller’s recently released financial results, for the six months ended September 2021, its turnover registered a 38% rise from ZWL$2.84 billion (US$7.8m) to ZWL$3.92 billion (US$10.8m).

The increase in earnings was largely buoyed by the enhanced throughput at Goldstar Sugars Harare (GSSH) and the strength of the demand for all the group’s products which remained high during the period under review.

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GSSH sold 39,294 tonnes against 26,959 tonnes sold in the prior year comparative period. This 46% improvement in sales was possible due to the demand for white refined sugar in the market which remains high.

Meanwhile, its Country Choice Foods (CCF) CCF products continued to dominate the market with the unit having implemented a successful cost leadership strategy that has positioned its products among the most affordable in the market.

This has led to sales volumes increasing by a laudable 27% from the prior year comparable period.

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During the six months under review, the unit launched new products into the market namely, chocolate, lemon and mint icing and bun and bread premixes which expanded the product portfolio.

The unit continues exploring trade channels of making further inroads into the regional market with its products.

Its associated business, Tongaat Hulett Botswana, recorded a profit after tax of ZWL$91.1 million (US$251,000), of which the company’s share was ZWL$30.4 million (US$84,000).

Overall, Starafrica’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation also grew by 20% from ZWL$482.10 million (US$1.3m) in the prior year comparative period to ZWL$579.68 million (US$1.6m) in the six months ended 30 September 2021.

The improved financial performance is a direct outcome of the capital investment and equipment maintenance plan which has resulted in the increased plant throughput in the period under review.

Starafrica plans future investments

The company has further indicated that the procurement and commissioning of two new centrifugal machines, an effluent treatment plant, an injector pump, coupled with the rigorous plant maintenance regime that has been put into effect, are expected to augment throughput in the second half of the year to fully satisfy local demand.

It also revealed that the rehabilitation of GSSH’s raw sugar warehouse, which was razed down by a fire last year, is well underway and expected to be completed by end of March 2022.

Once completed, the structure will be able to house 15,000 tonnes of raw sugar which will assist in supporting efforts to increase productivity through stable inlet of the primary raw material into production.

CCF is also set to undertake procurement and commissioning of the syrup filling machine and the icing packing machine in the second half of the year, to further boost production at the unit through automation of some production processes.

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