Hippo Valley Estates advanced 403 percent in the year to close at 176 cents. Currently Hippo is valued at $339.72 million. Its net profit rose four-fold to $5.6 million in the six months to September from 1.4 million in the comparable period in 2016. This was despite a 12.6 percent decline in revenue to $72.4 million compared to $82.9 million in the comparable period in 2016 due to late start to the season. The company continues to leverage on its asset base ,benefitting from synergies within Tongaat Hulett. Additionally, the current dam levels following the good rains at the end of 2016 into 2017 are providing full irrigation during 2017 /18, leading to significant crop recovery by 2018/19.
Ariston advanced 386 percent in the year to close at 1.7 cents. The company is valued at $27.44 million. In the six months to March, Ariston narrowed its loss position to $1.99 million from $2.14 million in the comparable period in 2016. The company envisages higher yields than the prior year, on the back of firmer prices and adequate export orders, especially for its high grade macadamia nuts.
First Mutual Limited (FML) advanced 364 percent in the year to close at 19.5 cents. The insurance company is valued at $134.58 million. The group reported a 63 percent increase in after tax profit in the six months to June to $4.3 million from $2.6 million in the same period in 2016 driven by high returns from investment securities. In December last year the group got approvals to acquire Zimbabwe’s largest short term insurer, NicozDiamond, a strategic move to expand its business. The transaction will see FML increasing its holding in NicozDiamond to 80.92 percent, and as a result, NicozDiamond will become a subsidiary of FML. Additionally, the company has indicated that it will delist NicozDiamond once the transaction is completed. This will see operations of NicozDiamond and FML’s Tristar Insurance Company being merged to form a giant short term insurer, a move which analysts say will boost FML on synergies.
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