By Staff Writer

The leading manufacturer and distributor of paper products, stationery, and lead-acid batteries Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) Holdings Limited’s export revenues have been drawn mainly from batteries segment that raked  in 13% in export volumes, whilst Timber sales volumes for the year increased by 37%.

In a financial statement released by the company chairman, Mr Thomas Utete Wushe indicated that the two segments of the company are performing better than the other slacking sectors of the Group.

“The batteries business segment continued to drive the Group’s performance with battery volumes increasing by 17% for the year. Export volumes increased by 13% for the year as the division managed to grow its presence in the region.

“Timber sales volumes for the year increased by 37% as a result of improved milling efficiencies and firm demand. Operations at the estates remained largely unaffected and there were no major fire incidents during the period.

“Export volumes were 3 percentage points ahead of last year despite pricing challenges emanating from the instability of the regional currencies”, he explained.

Others segments such as Softex tissue’s volumes declined by 20% from the prior year because of reduced disposable incomes and inconsistent supply of cheaper recycled bulk tissue and Eversharp pen volumes were 33% lower than the prior-year as schools remained closed during the period.

Meanwhile, the Group posted revenues of ZWL2,601 billion representing an increase of 28% on prior year due to the increased volumes and inflation-induced price adjustments.

Gross margins were held at 52% as prices were increased in line with movements in costs of raw materials and labour and the Group’s operating profit increased to ZWL824 million an increase of 32% from the prior year.