Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) Holdings is the holding company of several manufacturing businesses in Zimbabwe. The business units under ART Holdings include Chloride Zimbabwe, Chloride Zambia, Exide Express, Eversharp, Kadoma Paper Mills, National Waste Collection, Softex Zimbabwe and Mutare Estates. These companies manufacture and retail wide-ranging products which include lead-acid batteries, stationery, hygiene products and others. ART Holdings is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. We take a look at the ART Holdings empire in greater detail in this article.
With 7 divisions nationwide, ART Holdings currently employs a total of 629 employees. In terms of financial performance for 2018, the group achieved an operating profit of $7.3 million compared to $5 million in 2017. This is despite an increasingly difficult operating environment. Their battery business drove the group’s performance with revenues of $32 million attributable to increased sales volumes. Chloride Zambia also recorded a revenue increase of 17%. Its sales volumes increased by 34%. The paper division achieved operating profits of $0.73 million compared to $0.12 million recorded in 2017. This was as a result of improved efficiencies emanating from recent retooling initiatives at Kadoma Mill. Eversharp also performed well. Despite a reduction from the $0.92 million operating profit recorded in 2017, their 2018 operating profit was $0.81 million. Softex’s operating profit also improved. Not to be outdone, Mutare Estates’ turnover increased by a whopping 55% to $2 million. Unfortunately, no dividend was declared as the available cash resources were used to settle outstanding foreign creditors as well as funding other capital expenditure projects. ART Holdings’ share price was 9.20 RTGS Cents as at 8th April 2019.
Chloride specialises in renewable energy solutions, solar distribution and installation. They offer car batteries, solar batteries and standby batteries. The company also distributes battery terminals, battery water, clamps and chargers. In Zimbabwe, they have a market share of more than 56%. Their Zambian operation formed back in 1963 is the largest distributor of automotive batteries with its flagship Exide brand.
Eversharp began its operations in 1972. It is currently the leading manufacturer of ballpoint pens, rulers, markers, exercise books, book covers and commercial stationery. Its performance has of late been affected by the proliferation of competition although it continues to do well financially.
National Waste Collection (NWC)
With over 20 years of experience in waste paper recovery, the company was formed to ensure that local paper mills get their waste paper requirements locally. NWC collect waste paper including newsprint, Khakhi boxes, archive records, computer paper and chipboard. The waste is collected from municipal dumpsites, government departments, printing companies, banks and other sources. The company currently employs 70 people directly and over 400 indirectly. These are agents and vendors.
Kadoma Paper Mills (KPM)
KPM is the sole producer of tissue and Kraft products in the country. They use 100% recycled waste paper. KPM manufactures enhanced white tissue, hand towelling tissue and Kraft paper. Despite several years of operating challenges, the company recently came alive after retooling interventions.
Softex Tissue products
Softex specializes in the provision of hygiene solutions. It is jointly owned by ART Holdings and Hunyani Holdings and was formed in 1983. Apart from tissues, the company diversified into feminine and baby care products as well as washroom hygiene products. These include paper towels, serviettes, facial tissues, cotton wool, panty liners, baby diapers, baby wipes, sanitary pads, soap dispensers, sanitary bins and the like. The company is certified ISO 9001:2008.
Despite a tough economic environment, ART Holdings continues to hold its own. Recent retooling initiatives have done well to improve efficiencies and capacity. A shift towards export business has also been made in order to minimise the effects of the current foreign currency shortages.