Art Corporation’s battery division has been a boon for the group for the third quarter ended June 30, at a time other divisions within the group have taken a knock from the Covid-19 global pandemic, which has slowed down economic activity across all sectors.
In its latest trading update for the third quarter ended June 30, the group advised that trading was hugely affected by Covid-19 cases which resulted in a national lockdown in Zimbabwe and the group’s export destinations.
The lockdowns were particularly more pronounced in March and April but Governments began introducing exemptions to allow economies to kick-start and instead employed other mitigatory measures in curbing the spread of the virus.
In the period under review, Art’s overall volumes declined by 17 percent compared to the same period in the preceding year with export earnings dropping by 8 percent compared to the same period last year.
While other subsidiaries were struggling, the batteries division managed to meet its export obligations despite the Covid-19 challenges.
“The batteries business segment managed to meet export orders and improve product availability in the local market,” said the group in an update signed off by Abisai Chingwecha — the group’s company secretary.
“Sales volumes recovered from a 44 percent reduction in April to an overall decline of 6 percent for the quarter compared to the prior year.
“The Exide battery delivery service was enhanced in Harare and extended to Bulawayo to improve customer convenience,” said Mr Chingwecha.
However, the strong showing could not be extended to the paper business where over-reliance on imported paper continues hence stretching the not so easy to come by foreign currency and this was further exacerbated by low local collection volumes due to depressed economic activity.
In total, paper volumes plunged by 40 percent compared to the same period last year.
But the sharpest decline was Eversharp pen volumes, which plunged by a staggering 71 percent and this can be attributed to the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic.