The lifting of price controls on some of the products manufactured by milling company, National Foods, saw some of these products, which could only be found in the informal market, returning to supermarket shelves at prices lower than those on the parallel market.
And though the company continued to be dogged by shortages of raw materials it managed to post a net profit of nearly $8 billion in the first half of this year, more than 10 times the profit for the similar period last year and double that for the entire last year.
It made a profit of $729.4 million in the first half of last year and a net profit of $3.4 billion last year. Total revenue shot up from $10.6 billion to $36.8 billion with operating profit at $11.7 billion, up from $1.2 billion.
The company says it did not have adequate flour and was working with relevant authorities to import wheat. Maize supplies were also totally unviable with the division being supported by toll milling for the World Food Programme feeding programmes.
Stockfeeds were also down largely because of the land reform programme. Most of the ingredients for stockfeeds were now being imported making stock feed very expensive for the poultry and dairy industries.
Salt and rice remained at reasonable levels and contributed to the company’s earnings. The products had, however, become increasingly less affordable to consumers.
The oil division was affected by the reduced soya crop with the company, once again, having to rely on toll crushing contracts. The lifting of price controls also enabled the company to get back oil onto the supermarket shelves.
The packaging division was able to fulfill its order book and maintain efficiencies while the malt division operated below capacity but maintained its profitability because of contract malting.
The company in which fast food giant Innscor and an indigenous consortium now have a substantial shareholding says its new shareholding structure should enable it to proactively manage the evolving challenges in the milling, food and agricultural industries.
It says it has the resources and capacity to play a significant and stabilising role in the production, supply and pricing of basic food products, and is committed to achieving this through dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders.