MEIKLES Limited is set to expand its footprint into the mining sector after it announced that it had concluded a chrome opportunity and had identified its first gold project. Well placed sources say Meikles through its partnership with Centar Mining will be involved in the export of chrome in a structure where they will pre-fund chrome miners, including small scale to produce the mineral.
“Meikles won’t be involved in the mining of the resource but will fund miners to produce chrome for export.”
The source also said the group was also on the verge of concluding a transaction in the gold mining sector with a medium sized mine in Bulawayo. Executive director Mark Wood could neither confirm nor deny when the Herald Business sought his comment yesterday, insisting that the group will issue a statement on February 26.
“I can neither confirm nor deny but will only give you full details after the board meeting on February 26,” said Mr Wood.
In its trading update for the nine months to December, Meikles said it had progressed with its involvement in the mining sector.
“We are working very closely with our partner, Centar, and have a vision to become a significant player in the mining sector.”
In terms of hotel operations, Victoria Falls hotel had enjoyed good occupancy rates post the hosting of the UNWTO and the hotel, jointly managed with African Sun, has benefited substantially.
The Average Daily Rate has improved by 17 percent and revenue per available room has gone up by 12 percent for the period ended 31 December 2013 when compared to the same period in 2012. The Meikles Hotel achieved a 2 percent growth in its ADR and Revpar compared to the same period in 2012.
At Tanganda, the group said plantation development has progressed well with 351 hectares being put under new crops in the last nine months. Thus, as at December 31, 2013 the hectarage under coffee, avocados and macadamia was 229ha, 318ha and 62 ha respectively.
The target remains for the company to have 300ha, 500ha and 750ha under coffee, avocados and macadamia by March 2015.
The group said it had instituted legal action against both the RBZ and Ministry of Finance in an effort to recover its +US$70 million debt from the central bank. The funds initially at US$40,5 million before accruing interest were a deposit held by the central bank under Meikles foreign currency account.
Trading in its retail operations has been subdued as consumer demand has been receding.
According to the group, trading in the supermarkets has been subdued in the nine months of the current financial year, particularly in groceries. TM Supermarkets turnover was 1 percent above that of the comparative period in 2012. However, the group said in spite of the challenges being faced by the economy, TM is continuing with its branch refurbishment programme and the opening of new stores. As previously reported, the funds for this programme are in place.
Meikles Mega Market had been well received by customers since its opening in December 2013 with the daily turnover reflecting a satisfactory trend.
“Consumers have found favour with this new model due to its value offering.”
Accordingly there are plans to roll out MMM in the key cities of Zimbabwe progressively by the third quarter of the next financial year.