Election challenges dampen PCL profit

Dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation plc has posted a 52 percent drop in first half profit after-tax to K11.1 billion from last year’s K23 billion largely due to pre and post-election challenges.

In the summary of unaudited financial results for the period ended June 30 2019 published on Monday, PCL said as a result of the “challenges and uncertainties in the business environment posed by a general election year” and the aftermath, the group did not reach its full potential and registered an eight percent revenue growth.

Khembo (2ndR) speaks during the recent PCL annual general
meeting in Blantyre as Partridge (R) and others listen

The group’s revenue increased from K96.6 billion to K104.7 billion.

The conglomerate, which is listed on Malawi Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange as a global depository receipt, has explained that the reduction in profit should also be read in the context of a one-off gain of K11.1 billion in the first half of prior year, arising out of the restructuring initiatives of the telecommunications segment—Open Connect Limited (K8.4 billion) and Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) (K2.7 billion).

“The underlying comparable result without the one-off gain in similar period of 2018 is, therefore, K20.3 billion, representing a seven percent decrease,” reads the statement in part jointly signed by chairperson Clement Khembo, chief executive officer George Partridge and others.

During the period, net finance costs jumped by 88 percent following increased borrowings to fund capital investments and overheads amounting to K1.3 billion.

The group, which has interests in banking, telecommunications, energy, consumer goods, real estate and food segment, among others, said it will continue with initiatives to improve operating efficiencies through the re-engineering of its processes and emphasis on cost control.

In the banking sector, its subsidiary National Bank of Malawi plc registered a seven percent growth in its earnings.

In telecommunications sector where the conglomerate owns MTL and TNM plc, profit from the sector declined by 31 percent.

Presscane and Ethanol Company registered a 108 percent growth in its net earnings driven by improved sales volumes and availability of raw materials from carryover stocks.

In the consumer goods segment, Peoples, registered a 44 percent increase in losses due to of a 15 percent decline in sales revenue and a 44 percent increase in interest and reorganisation costs.

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