By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Chairperson of Malawi Stock Exchange-listed Press Corporation Limited (PCL), Patrick Khembo, has said the conglomerate has set a good platform for growth and is bound to grow in 2019 if conditions are favourable.
This came out at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) held Thursday in Blantyre, where some minority shareholders expressed worry over the performance of the company.
This comes against the background that the company’s profits declined in the year 2018, from K39.67 billion in 2017 to K36.71 billion, representing a 7 percent drop.
At the AGM, some minority shareholders asked the board to shed light on why the company has lost its foot on the market when it used to contribute more than 30 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
They said this in the wake of reports that its current GDP contribution stands at 5 percent.
Khembo said, much as the notion could be true, some of its businesses such as National Bank, TNM, Limbe Leaf and others have done fairly well despite problems at Madelco, PTC, Press Properties and MTL, which prompted them to put strategies for a turn-around.
“Press Properties is already making profits and we have a new fiber optic business that is making profits. Although PTC is at a loss, the loss has been reduced; therefore, the trajectory towards profitability is very promising.
“All in all, we are satisfied that we have done fairly well and have set a good platform for us to grow. Assuming that the economy grows in 2019, we are hopeful that we should do even better than last year,” Khembo said.
He said, even though the economy, last year, registered a stable exchange rate, reduced interest rates and single digit inflation, most of its companies were faced with energy challenges mostly in the first three quarters which made them fail to reach targets.
On the outlook of the business in 2019, Khembo said, despite being affected by Cyclone Idai and elections-induced slow pace of business in the first quarter, they hope that the outcome would be positive.