Despite recording a four percent rise in the Earnings Per Share (EPS), leading retail group Choppies says it will not issue out interim dividends to its shareholders for the half year ended December 2014.
The multinational retail group, which released its interim financial results this week, recorded an upward trend of 8.57 EPS for the period ended December 2014 from 8.25 registered during the same period in 2013. Chief Executive, Ram Ottappath said Thursday that no interim dividend has been declared for the half period under review.
“A final dividend will be declared and distributed after finalization of the financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2015.”
Despite the drop in its share price from 421 Thebe to 397 Thebe by Thursday, the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted entity remains the most profitable and fastest growing grocery retailer in Africa, outside South Africa. The group’s financials released on Wednesday show an upward trend of revenue which reached P3 billion, reflecting a 20 percent growth. Revenue growth was primarily driven by increase in retail space, up by 18 percent to 177,031 square metres (FY2013: 106,506 square metres). ┬áThe total number of stores rose to 121 during the period under review, according Ottappath.
At the same time, Gross Profit of the same interim period grew by 21 percent reaching P644 million while Profit After Taxation (PAT) stood at P103 million. The company’s assets are currently valued at P2.1 billion, a reflection of 22 percent growth from the previous period.
The financials further show that Botswana remains the core of Choppies operations, contributing 66 percent to total revenue, with strong Earnings Before Interest, Tax Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of 86 percent while the remaining 14 percent is equally shared by South Africa and Zimbabwe.
In the year ahead Choppies expects to roll out a further store footprint in its existing markets of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Choppies has 72 stores in Botswana, 31 in South Africa and 18 in Zimbabwe.
“We plan to open five new stores in Botswana, 19 in South Africa and 12 in Zimbabwe by December 2015,” said Ottappath.
At the same time, the company wants to extend its foray into Zambia and other sub Saharan African countries such as Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania. Ottappath said Thursday that there are opportunities to expand the Choppies footprint outside the region as the retailer aims to stamp its authority as the leading supermarket across the continent. While Choppies is still assessing possible entry into the Kenyan market, the leading retailer has also announced plans to open its first store in Tanzania before the end the current financial year. Ottappath says already Choppies has entered into a joint venture agreement with a strong local partner for expansion into East Africa.