HomeBusinessAriston re-lists shares after successful scrip offer

Ariston re-lists shares after successful scrip offer

Ngoni Chanakira

ARISTON Holdings Ltd (Ariston) on Monday re-listed its shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) after a successful scrip dividend offer.

e=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>A total of 265 shareholders resident in Zimbabwe had accepted the scrip dividend offer.

ZSE chief executive officer Emmanuel Munyukwi in an interview said the re-listing of the Ariston shares had gone as expected.

“This is an ongoing trend and we are likely to see more companies do such deals,” he said.

Ariston shares traded at $390 on the first day of its re-listing on the bourse where 40 000 shares exchanged hands.

Last week the company said 2 000 456 of its shares had been allotted to resident shareholders, thereby increasing the issued share capital of Ariston Holdings Ltd to 240 543 130 shares.

Ariston said in addition, acceptances had been received from non-resident shareholders, which subject to pending Zimbabwean Exchange Control approval, would result in the issue of an additional 582 704 shares.

The diversified company is capitalised to the tune of $41,1 billion on the local bourse.

Last year Ariston underwent a boardroom shakeup and appointed prominent bankers Cornelius Sanyanga, former chairman of Stanbic Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd and Trust Holdings Ltd chief executive officer William Nyemba, chairman and deputy chairman, respectively.

The group said the move was intended to provide a broader base to take it forward into the next development phase.

Ariston also disposed of its non-core interest in the Tetrad group.

In its unaudited results for the half year ended March 31 Ariston’s group turnover amounted to $9,3 billion, reflecting a 475% increase over the prior period.

Profit attributable to shareholders of $2,3 billion increased over the comparable period and was 98% above the previous full year.

Earnings per share of $10,25 ($1,01 in 2002) showed substantial meaningful growth in real terms.

The company said a record interim dividend of $2 per share (20 cents in 2002) with scrip alternative had been declared.

The group said it was cash positive at the half-year with a strong balance sheet.

Ariston is currently pursuing an aggressive development policy.

New areas of flowers are being opened up and existing infrastructure is being improved and upgraded to achieve higher standards.

The company said the Memorandum of Understanding between Trust Bank Ltd (Trust), government, itself and growers had now been signed by all parties.

The scheme will help ensure the viability of more than 1 500 new farmers.

Ariston would provide plant material, extension services and processing and marketing facilities, while Trust would inject cash into the project.

“With the strong performance from flowers, much of which accrues in the first half of the year, the group’s earnings will be more evenly distributed throughout the financial year in future,” the company said.

Ariston is planning a new Export Processing Zone frozen vegetable project whose output will be exported under contract to supermarket chains in other countries.

l Meanwhile Munyukwi said the bourse was currently trading soft and had declined from an industrial index high of 500 000 on Tuesday.

“The market is soft right now,” Munyukwi said.

“What is surprising is that companies are releasing good results yet there are no takers. Those firms who export should be attracting more buyers, but this is not happening.”

He said the Zimbabwe dollar was losing against the United States currency, resulting in exporting firms chalking up handsome amounts.

“It’s all very funny,” Munyukwi said.

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