Dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) has reported a K7.3 billion after-tax profit, a 244 percent increase from the previous year’s K2.1 billion largely driven by 84 percent growth in earnings at one of its subsidiaries, National Bank of Malawi (NBM).
The profit growth is by far the forecast of more than 70 percent the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE)—listed group gave a few months ago.
But the group, whose asset base has jumped 32 percent to K214.8 billion from K162.4 billion, said the performance in MSE—listed NBM was driven by the increase in all its revenue streams except foreign currency transactions that were in decline.
The consumer goods segment anchored by Peoples Trading Centre (PTC) and the brewing and bottling business [Carlsberg Malawi] achieved results which were more than double their earnings, according to the group.
“The fuel distribution business [Puma Energy Limited] registered a 71 percent growth in earnings,” said chairperson Clement Chilingulo and group chief executive officer Matthews Chikaonda, in a joint statement accompanying the financial results.
The group said the telecommunications business which has Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) and listed TNM plc made a loss, but it was a 93 percent improvement on same period last year.
“The fixed mobile voice telephony company restructured its balance sheet and sold part of its investment in TNM and the proceeds went towards the reduction of its debt burden and capital investment to optimise its revenue generation,” reads the statement, adding, however, that the mobile phone business continued to be profitable and registered a 38 percent growth in earnings.
The fisheries business at Maldeco in Mangochi made a loss mainly due to the decline in fish catches due to changing weather patterns.
And the group says in view of the continuing unpredictable weather, the company is scaling up its investment in aquaculture, particularly pond culture.
PLC says it sees potential in power generation, ethanol manufacturing and fish farming, stressing that in the short to medium term, the group’s focus will be to develop and grow these businesses to enhance shareholder value.
“Going forward into the second half of the year, the operating environment is expected to continue improving as both inflation and interest rates are expected to continue going down,” says the company.
The group’s directors have proposed an interim dividend of K240.4 million, up from K200 million last year, representing a K2 per share from K1.66 per share last year.