Lack of clarity on Mazoe Citrus bogs down Intefresh's planned expansion

Though it continues to be bogged down by lack of clarity on the future of Mazoe Citrus Estates, as 88 percent of its land is designated for acquisition, horticultural group Interfresh posted impressive results for the year ending December with turnover increasing by 652 percent and net profit by 664 percent.

Sales increased from $11.6 billion to $87.2 billion while net profit grew from $1.6 billion to $11.9 billion.

Finance costs soared from $44.8 million to $2.2 billion resulting in the company's gearing increasing by 58 percent over the previous year but this has since been reduced to 20 percent.

The company said it continued to be disturbed by the fact that 88 percent of the land belonging to Mazoe Citrus Estates was designated for acquisition and 45 percent of this has been actively resettled.

Though communications with the government were good, lack of clarity on the future of the estates hampered major development and investment.

The company intended to build a new dam and to expand citrus and flower production.

Mazoe Flowers had exported 33 million rose stems while Smithfield Flowers exported over 700 000 hypericum stems. Bloomfield Flowers is expected to start exporting in the second quarter of this year.

Interspan increased exports of citrus by 20 percent. Half of the exports went to Europe, 28 percent to the Middle East, 20 percent to Canada, 14 percent to Russia, 4 percent regional and 2 percent to the Far East.

Volumes of fruit and vegetables airfreighted to Europe by Transfruit increased by 81 percent. Citrifresh exported 250 000 cartons of mainly soft citrus. The budget had been set at 100 000 cartons.

Interfoods Manufacturing was set back by inconsistent supplies of raw fruit, vegetables and metal cans but volumes grew by 2 percent while exports to South Africa, Germany, Kenya and New Zealand grew by 24 percent.

Local sales for Wholesale Fruiterers and Marlon Trading remained ahead of inflation. Intefresh increased its stake in Marlon Trading and Intercrop by 25 percent and now controls 75 percent in both.

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