Econet replaces Delta as ZSE heavyweight

Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter

Mobile operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited is now the biggest company on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) by market capitalisation at $3,108 billion as of Friday last week, replacing Delta Corporation Limited from its long held position.

In January 2016, Econet dropped two places to fourth on the local bourse’s list of top 10 capitalised companies, before it rose again to take the pole position.

The new development comes after its Class A shares were for the first time included on the ZSE but only for the purpose of calculating market capitalisation.

Econet spokesperson Fungayi Mandiveyi told our sister paper Business Weekly the Class A shares will not be trading on the ZSE but will now be included in the company’s market capitalisation, which “is not the same as having them listed”.

Delta with a total market capitalisation of $2 522 billion now sits second on the hierarchy of top 10 companies. Its strong cash generative business has made it stand the economic heat, at a time others have struggled, downsized operations or closed.

Industrial Holdings group – Innscor is on third position with a total market capitalisation of $791 million. Regional seed manufacturer Seed Co Limited is fourth with a value of $625 million.

At $529 million, cigarette manufacturer BAT is now the bourse’s fifth biggest company. Equities analysts contend while industry has been badly affected by the challenging economic environment and lost profitability and revenues in the past few years, BAT’s strong and consistent dividend policy has seen it remain one of the market’s most sought after.

Industry has also lamented foreign currency problems, with some failing to secure essential raw materials.

But BAT’s relationship with its sister companies in the region plays a critical role in offsetting operational disturbances induced by liquidity problems.

Although it has slipped 28 percent on a year to date basis to $25,40 BAT remains ZSE’s most expensive stock by nominal value.

On sixth position is National Foods worth $383 million followed by Hippo at $326 million. Crocodile breeder Padenga, at $324 million, is the eighth biggest company followed Old Mutual at $297 million.

Wrapping the top 10 biggest companies is retail giant OK Zimbabwe which is valued at $289 million.

These top 10 counters alone account for over 78 percent of the ZSE’s total market value, currently hovering $11,909 billion.

Now, for Econet, market watchers are of the view the current momentum, particularly in Ecocash and Steward Bank can be sustained in financial year 2019, which bodes well for the group’s profitability going forward with there being no end in sight to the current liquidity challenges.

Besides its cash generative business, Econet has been paying quarterly dividends since the 2018 financial year. The total dividends declared for the whole of FY2018 amounted to $60 million, equivalent to 2,3562 cents per share.

In the last quarter of the year ended 28 February 2018, the company paid a final dividend of 0,3927 cents per share amounting to $10 million.

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