Meikles' mining venture forges ahead

HARARE - Listed conglomerate Meikles Limited (Meikles) is forging ahead with its plans to venture into mining, as the group has applied for a licence from the Mines ministry.

Back in November, Meikles’ chairperson John Moxon announced the formation of a stand-alone mining unit Meikles Resources, projecting that revenues from the venture could exceed those realised by the group.

“The group is pursuing opportunities in the mining sector and has made the necessary applications to the regulatory authorities,” said Moxon in an interim update.

He did not disclose further detail.

“Stakeholders will be updated once there are new developments on this initiative,” Moxon said.

This comes amid reports that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed group has partnered state-controlled Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to form a diamond mining joint venture.

Meanwhile, Moxon said the group’s revenue went up 16 percent in the nine months to December 2012 driven by increased volumes and margins.

“Group costs only show an increase of three percent over the same period and resultantly, operating profit is showing a significant increase compared to that achieved in the prior year,” he said.

During the period under review, Meikles’ TM Supermarkets (TM) chain rebranded its Westgate branch to Pick n Pay store, bringing the number of Pick n Pay branded stores to two in the country.

South Africa’s Pick n Pay last year increased its stake in TM to 49 percent from 25 percent.

“TM has seen increased volumes and margins from the refurbished branches.

“The branch refurbishment programme is an on-going exercise as we seek to improve our offering at all branches that we operate from,” he said.

Moxon said the refurbishment of the group’s flagship Meikles Hotel is nearing completion and expect the new rooms to be available before the end of the financial year. He said procurement of materials to refurbish the Victoria Falls Hotel was also in progress.

“It is anticipated that phase one of the renovations… at the Victoria Falls Hotel will be completed at the end of July 2013 and in time for the UNWTO conference,” Moxon said adding that the second phase to complete the remaining rooms will commence after the conference.

He said plantation development on the group’s Tanganda Tea Estates progressed with 187 hectares of avocadoes, 457 hectares of macadamias and 125 hectares of coffee having been planted to date, adding that the global tea prices had gone up in the past months, which augurs well with revenues. - John Kachembere

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