Zimpapers to grow top line in 2017

Mr Deketeke

Mr Deketeke

Business Reporter
LISTED media group, Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited, says it will focus on growing the top line while keeping an eye on costs, as part of key strategies for the business in the 2017 financial year.

Group chief executive Pikirayi Deketeke said in an interview that the group would continue to optimise revenue through innovation and product diversity in order to grow revenue streams.

This comes after Zimpapers saw revenue dipping 6,3 percent to $37 million in the 12 months to December 2016 while operating costs declined 23,5 percent to $21,8 million.

In line with the drop in revenue, the group recorded a drop in gross profit to $24 million from $30 million. After tax profit also fell to $2,2 million from $2,7 million.

Mr Deketeke said while keeping costs under wraps was paramount; growing the business required a sustained attack on the top line to optimise opportunities for improved profitability.

“Through the new products we have, such as The Suburban Newspaper, we will make an effort to make sure we grow the top line. New products have a gestation period and we expect that by now they have matured and are more acceptable to the market.

“We also expect that the market is now more familiar with them and we are beginning to see the growth coming through, (including products such as vernacular newspaper) Kwayedza,” he said.

“So, there is hope that the top line can grow and it is our momentum in 2017 that we need to drive growth in everything that we do. This can be in terms of growth in circulation volumes, advertising, listenership and our radios. Whether its events, there has to be revenue growth in all our business units,” Mr Deketeke added.

Zimpapers said it expects to benefit from restrictions through statutory measures such as rebates on some raw materials.

Some of the measures are already positively impacting on some of its operations including National Printing, which is now profitable. Natprint was the best performer in the group in February.

The Zimpapers chief said measures by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to cap bank interest rates at 12 percent per annum would help efforts to keep a lid on growth in operating costs.

Zimbabwe’s leading and only listed media group closed the year with borrowings at $37 million and a drop in borrowing costs should augur well for the company’s efforts to lower finance costs.

Other measures to keep costs within check will include a freeze on hiring, prudent procurement of raw materials (eliminating middlemen), and being prudent in managing other costs.

Mr Deketeke said the organisation had no plans to further reduce the head count, although he would not completely rule it out, adding that multi-skilling the firm’s workforce would be critical.

Being a diversified media group, Mr Deketeke said the organisation would seek to optimise benefits from its convergence concept where a single reporter should be able to provide material usable across the group’s different media platforms.

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