ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
ZAMBEEF Products Plc says the new hatchery being constructed in Mpongwe Farm at a cost of K131 million is expected to start operations in September this year.
Meanwhile, Zambeef has recorded profit of K75 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITA), in the last quarter ended March 31, 2015, representing a 56 percent increase, compared to the same period last year.
The breeder farm and stock feed plant being constructed at Mpongwe farm is a joint venture with RCL Foods Limited of South Africa.
In a statement on Wednesday, Zambeef Products Plc Joint chief executive officers Carl Irwin said the hatchery will have an initial production capacity of about 220,000 chicks per week, with intentions of increasing to 320,000 chicks per week over a period of 12 months.
Dr Irwin also said that more projects are on cards including a new processing and distribution hub in Kitwe, as well as wholesale depots in Solwezi, Mongu, and Lusaka.
â€œIncreased focus on Zambeefâ€™s core business, which is the processing, distribution, and retailing of cold chain meat, and dairy products, has seen strong growth in these business units. Looking at beef, chicken, pork, milk, eggs and fish, the gross profit has increased by 48 percent (US$29 percent).
â€œThe new stock feed plant should be operational before the end of the financial year. This project will take Zambeefâ€™s chicken operations to a new level, and the benefits from this will start flowing through during the 2016 financial year,â€ he said.
The agribusiness conglomerate attributed the rise in earnings to strong sales of its cold chain meat, dairy products and continued tight control of administrative costs.
The rise in profit was despite a 22 percent depreciation of the kwacha against the United States dollar during the period.
Zambeef chairman Jacob Mwanza said the disposal of Zamanita will help the company focus more on driving the core business of Zambeef, which is the production, processing, and distribution of cold chain meat and dairy products.
â€œZambeefâ€™s financial performance is significantly up on the same period in the previous financial period and the company has also concluded the sale of its subsidiary, Zamanita Limited, in line with the strategic aim of unlocking value, and capital gains, from within the group, and reducing the dollar gearing of the business.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka