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Press upbeat over economic stability

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Dual-listed conglomerate, Press Corporation Limited (PCL), says despite Malawi’s economy still facing some challenges, prospects are high for a more stable environment in the remaining half of 2017 as key fundamentals have now taken on a positive trajectory.

The trend, according to PCL Chairperson, Patrick Khembo, offers hope to instill confidence in the private sector.

Khembo was speaking during PCL’s 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Thursday in Blantyre where the group also unveiled results for the year ending December 31, 2016.

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He said 2017 promises to be a better year with an expected Gross Domestic Product growth of 5.6 percent led by a recovery in agriculture production.

Khembo, however, feared that the local unit, the Malawi kwacha, may still depreciate gradually due to continuing underperformance in the external sector.

This, he said, may still pile pressure on the system.

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“We are, however, looking at a year that is reasonably promising. We are positive that provided we work on such issues like electricity, the rest of the year is going to be good,” Khembo said.

In the year to December 2016, the conglomerate registered a profit of K17.21 billion from K12.24 billion in the prior period, representing a 43 percent increase.

Khembo attributed the positive outturn to prudent performance of the group and some of its subsidiaries including National Bank of Malawi (NBM) and TNM, which also closed the year on a positive note.

“This is not a mean fit considering that we had a very challenging environment. The business environment was very hostile,” Khembo said.

Still, some of the group’s entities underperformed in the year, forcing the group to rework its turnaround approach.

At the AGM, the group declared a final dividend of K1.50 billion, representing K12.50 per share.

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