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Meikles, govt bury hatchet


Diversified Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed group Meikles Limited has reached an agreement with government over a central bank debt issue which has been outstanding for two decades.

The group’s chairperson, John Moxon, told the company’s annual general meeting yesterday that a resolution to the long standing dispute over the debt recorded during the Zimbabwe dollar-era had since been agreed to by both government and the group.

“An agreement with government has been reached following high level meetings between its representatives, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and ourselves. The final figures now await the signature of the minister of Finance and the information will be made public thereafter.”

The closure of the debt issue will also see the group finally release its delayed financial results.

Moxon said the financials would be released in a fortnight and they would fully reflect the position taken on the debt.

“We had to delay publishing our previous results due to the outstanding government debt issue. Now that it has been resolved, we will be in a position to advance the restructuring and repositioning of the group.

“We will also use some of the funds to ensure that the stores segment acquires appropriate inventory,” he said adding that net borrowings in the expected results will also show a significant reduction

On the company’s performance, the Meikles boss said earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) for the year doubled while profit after tax remains better than the comparative year ago period.

He further indicated that TM/Pick n Pay performance has been extremely encouraging especially on the bottom line.

“As part of our strategy to remain relevant in the market, we have also been trying to operate at competitive market prices. We constantly make market comparisons and from those surveys, our prices remain the most competitive. We are also confident that while our competition is losing money, the TM/Pick n Pay chain is on an upward trajectory,” he said.

Moxon said Tanganda also had an extremely good year driven by good rains and an increase in prices and sales recorded during the period.

“The prices of Tanganda products managed to grow during the year especially for Macadamia, Tea and Coffee. We have had an increase in performance for Tanganda because new crops have now reached maturity and now contributing,” he said adding that the group recorded its largest EBITDA in history.

In the period under review, Victoria Falls hotel also had a good year after completing the first phase of refurbishment. Phase two is set to commence soon.

Moxon noted that Meikles Hotel’s convincing performances will only start once there is an improvement in the economy.

“At present, the group charges three-star prices for a five-star facility and that’s entirely due to the prevailing economic conditions”

The group’s retail stores, which include Meikles Mega Market and the department stores, had a good year but the business unit was greatly affected by low stocking levels which will, however, be corrected once the proceeds from government kick in. Daily News

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