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ZAMBEEF GETS A STAKE OF K10BN STIMULUS PACKAGE

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

ZAMBEEF Products Plc is set to clear a significant slice of its external debt with the aid of a K220 million government-backed Covid-19 stimulus package signed with Absa Bank Zambia this week.

This is part of Government’s K10 billion effort to help cushion local businesses from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a negative effect on most local businesses.

The drawdown will enable the retailing and agribusiness giant to repay a significant portion of its United States-dollar denominated debt, in line with the company’s pledge to streamline its balance sheet and reduce exposure to foreign currency fluctuations.

The group reported net debt of K1.1 billion as of March 31, 2021 and is expected to close at K714.8 million by the end of the financial year, says Zambeef Chief Financial Officer, Faith Mukutu.

“The facility will enable us to support our growth goals and help ensure the long-term profitability of the group, which is a key player in the economy, accounting for 1 percent of GDP,” Ms Mukutu said.

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Zambeef Chief Executive Officer, Walter Roodt, commented that the success of the company would not be possible without Absa Zambia’s support.

Zambeef, he said, had helped cushion Zambians from the full impact of the disruptions in the local and international food supply chains.

Mr Roodt said the success would not have been possible without the unwavering support from partners such as Absa Zambia.

“Consolidating their role as an all-weather friend, Absa has yet again come on board to help boost Zambia’s recovery efforts. We would like to pursue our vision for growth as the country’s largest agribusiness, unencumbered by large external debt.

“This facility will help the group free up valuable capital for the business’ expansion plans so we can continue to do what we do best: feed the nation,” he said.

Speaking at the partnership event,Absa bank Zambia  Managing Director, Mizinga Melu said the deal was momentous because it went beyond short-term financing.

“We are extremely proud to see this agreement come to fruition. As a Bank, we have always committed to playing a pivotal role in the Zambian economy by bringing possibilities to life for businesses in key economic sectors like Agriculture.

“This stimulus package agreement to the value of K220, 000, 000 is concrete proof of our commitment,” she said.

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