By Mc Donald Chapalapata, A Contributor:
Conglomerate Press Corporation plc has posted a 14 percent increase in profit after tax for the first half year ended June 2020, to K12.69 billion from K11.16 billion realised during same time last year.
In a statement announcing the half year financial results signed by Board Chairperson, Randson Mwadiwa, Director Betty Mahuka, Group Chief Executive Officer George Partridge and Group Financial Controller Elizabeth Mafeni, the firm says the results were achieved amid a volatile political atmosphere and the advent of Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm hailed its financial services segment especially National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc for satisfactory performance after registering a 16 percent increase in non-interest income and a seven percent and 11 percent growth in customer deposits and the loan book respectively.
The company, however, cautioned that increase in non-performing loans in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic poses a major risk.
PCL said its telecommunications segment which includes mobile phone company TNM and fixed telephony and board band company Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) registered a 24 percent decline in its profit after tax.
“The fixed line company continued to make losses, albeit, lower than same period last year. The mobile phone company registered a 29 percent decline on its net earnings. The general trend of reduction in voice usage and the mandatory order by the regulator to lower costs by 40 percent on all mobile money transactions could not be compensated by the revenues emanating from the increase in data usage,” reads part of the statement.
The energy segment comprising of ethanol manufacturing companies Press Cane Limited and Ethanol Company (EthCo) delivered excellent results and more than doubled its profit after tax.
In the consumer goods segment which comprise of retail chain Peoples Trading Centre (PTC) made a loss but ‘is expected to improve following a change in strategy to reduce the company’s footprint and streamline operations to improve efficiency and reposition the company as an upmarket brand’.
The firm also said the economic outlook for Malawi appears promising following the successful fresh presidential elections, while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to present a significant downside risk to the economy.
The company resolved to pay an interim dividend of K721.20 million (2019: K721.20) representing K6.00 per share (2019:MK6.00 per share).
The dividend will be paid on Friday, 26th October 2020 to members whose names appear on the register as at the close of business on 18th October 2020.