By Alois Vinga
Some companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) are experiencing serious performance pressures as a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They are reporting significant losses in revenue, results from a short survey by covid19zim.com, showed.
Several companies attributed the downturn in business to the pandemic’s impact, whose effects are being felt across all sectors.
Others, particularly in the retail sector, are holding on, and, although decrying the pandemic’s impact, have reported stability in their operations .
African Sun Hotels company secretary, Vernon Musimbe, said Covid-19 forced the company to operate below capacity for the most part since the pandemic’s emergence.
“Our hotels continued operating, albeit at limited capacity,” he said. “Since the easing of the lockdown at the beginning of March 2021, the group achieved encouraging performance, closing the months of March and April 2021 with 24% and 29% occupancy respectively.”
Musimbe said the group expects Covid-19 to continue affecting operations at least in the short to medium term. He expressed hope that the vaccination programmes being implemented across the world will slow down the pandemic and allow international travel to restart.
“We expect the growth to remain modest on the back of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, with real impact likely to be felt in the last quarter of the year.
However, international business is expected to remain subdued over the coming months as some of our key source markets are experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 infections.
“This third wave of infections requires the company to remain diligent in its various cost containment and cash preservation initiatives,” Musimbe added.
Axia Group, which runs companies such as furniture and appliances firm, TV Sales & Home, and motor vehicle spares retailer, Transerve, ,disclosed they had lost at least two employees to the pandemic.
The group’s chairperson, Luke Ngwerume, said the company, however, remained focused on ensuring the safety and health of its employees, customers and other stakeholders and would continue to implement and observe guidelines approved by the World Health Organisation.
“At present, the financial status of the Group remains healthy, and the impact of the Covid-19 has not created any issues from a solvency or liquidity perspective.
“The Group believes its businesses will continue to thrive based on its dedicated staff, adaptable business models as well as its desire to improve, win and create value,” added Ngwerume.
British American Tobacco chairman, Lovemore Manatsa , said Zimbabwe’s economy is forecast to rebound in 2021 as the country shrugs off the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government takes further measures to stabilise the currency and thus bring down inflation.
Border Timbers Limited judicial manager, Peter Lewis Hailey, said the Covid-19 pandemic is not expected to disappear any time soon as most countries in the regional markets are already preparing to fight the third wave of the virus which is reportedly more dangerous than the first wave.