Simbisa consolidates regional hold

Enacy Mapakame
Quick service restaurant (QSR) group, Simbisa Brands Limited has stepped up a gear in consolidating within the regional markets, with acquisitions of additional interests in Zambia, Ghana and Mauritius.

Customer count has hit a record high in the firm’s three-decade trading history.

During the year to June 30, 2018, the group acquired an additional 49,9 percent interest in the voting shares of its Ghanaian operating entity, increasing its ownership to 100 percent.

Simbisa paid $80 000 receivables set-off to the non-controlling shareholders. According to Simbisa, at acquisition date, the carrying value of the net assets of the Ghanaian operating entity was $1,796 million.

In Mauritius, the group acquired an additional 36,5 percent in its operating entity increasing its ownership interest to 87,5 percent after which a consideration of $1,767 million was settled through conversion of shareholder loans to equity of class A ordinary shares to ordinary shares.

At acquisition date, which was July 1, 2017, the net assets of the Mauritian entity was $1,286 million.

Locally, the group has expanded its casual dining segment after adding RocoMamas and Ocean Basket as well as Mugg and Bean in Zambia.

Simbisa’s wholly owned subsidiary in Zambia issued shares to its local partner in exchange for their 50 percent share of assets and liabilities in a jointly operated operation between both parties.

This resulted in Simbisa’s interests in the Zambian entity reducing from 100 percent to 51 percent and the group still has control of the entity.

However, in spite of the strong expansion drive, Simbisa has postponed the secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange (‘AIM’) to a future date.

“Shareholders are advised that, the parties to the Sale and Purchase Agreement for Foodfund have agreed that the acquisition as presently structured, be amended, due to the postponement of the proposed secondary listing.

“A notice to shareholders will be published in due course setting out such changes once all formalities are completed. Simbisa remains committed to joining AIM, and shareholders will be notified on resumption of the dual listing process in due course,” said the Group in a statement accompanying the results.

Simbisa also disposed of its 51 percent interest in the DRC due to continued macro-economic challenges in that country.

Its partner now operates the brands under a franchise arrangement in the market.

Meanwhile, the group recorded growth in earnings in the year under review driven by increased operating efficiencies and higher revenue streams.

Group chairman Addington Chinake said double digit growth was achieved on increased customer counts across all markets as well as improved average spend largely due to stabilisation of exchange rates against the US dollar in the regional  markets.

“Simbisa served over 56 million customers in FY2018 a record high in our 31-year trading history,” he said.

Average customers per counter increased 10 percent to 135 737 from 122 448 in the prior year.

Revenue for the year under review increased 33 percent to $204,7 million from $154,1 million buoyed mainly by organic growth in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Operating profit rose 60 percent to $28,1 million while profit before tax jumped 113 percent to $20,1 million compared to $9,5 achieved last year. Accordingly, profit attributable to shareholders increased by 107 percent to $14,2 million and basic earnings per share also rose 107 percent to 2,55 cents.

Cash generated from operations after changes in working capital increased to $28,3 million while cash utilised in investing activities of $11,1 million was incurred mainly for expansion activities in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The group’s gearing declined by $1,5 million during the period to close the year with a balance of $16,8 million.

Total assets grew 15 percent to $84,8 million.

Management at Simbisa are upbeat of maintaining the growth trajectory in the region.

The group is looking at growing its core QSR business in both existing and new African markets while expansion of casual dining services continues in Zimbabwe targeting the high income demographic.

“I am optimistic that a stabilisation in the socio-political environment and the impending economic reform in the wake of elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe will pave way for continued growth and new opportunities in these two markets where we are most developed,” said Mr Chinake.

Simbisa declared a dividend of 0,55 cents a share.

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