Milling companies tend to thrive when there is a drought. CFI Holdings which owns Victoria Foods and Agrifoods was not exception. Its sales were up 150 percent from $10.5 billion to $26.2 billion during the year ended September. Profit attributable to shareholders shot up by 335 percent from $676.4 million to $2.9 billion.
The company says though Agrifoods had an extremely difficult year because of the inability of the Grain Marketing Board to supply maize, it produced excellent results through strategic purchases and control of expenses.
Its results were boosted by the launch of Agrimix, a new mineral and vitamin supplement business. The company installed a full fat soya and stockfeed plant.
Victoria Foods achieved real growth despite the fact that the prices of its core products, maize and flour, were controlled at October 2001 prices.
In the retail division, Town and Country achieved sales growth of 160 percent and opened four new stores. Farm and City was adversely affected by price controls on seed maize and fertiliser. Sales only grew by 57 percent.
A tripartite venture with the government and FSI Agricom was initiated to enable farmers to grow products for CFI’s operating companies which include maize, soya beans, wheat, sorghum and cotton seed. The scheme will receive $5 billion worth of inputs.
Vetco also produced excellent results above those of the previous year.
The poultry division also had good results. The division whose results were incorporated for the first time in the company’s results, comprises Ross Breeders, Crest Breeders International and Suncrest.
Though volumes of day old chicks were reduced due to non-availability of poultry feed in rural areas, exports of hatching and table eggs to neighbouring countries increased.
Volumes of broiler meat were down but sales have improved in the new financial year. A new poultry breeding project at Glenara was opened in August.
Land has been secured for the Botswana Hatchery.
In the specialised division, Dore and Pitt had an excellent year largely because of increased sales of equipment for new irrigation schemes.