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RESTAURANT chain, Simbisa Brands Limited (SBL) will spend US$19,3 million on 92 new stores for its 2022 financial year as it seeks to expand its footprint.

This comes as part of the group’s efforts to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 restrictions that have meant fewer trading hours for the company on a daily basis.

“The group’s focus remains on growing our footprint with 92 new stores in the pipeline in FY22 at an estimated investment cost of US$19,3 million. Of these stores, eight will be drive-thru sites in line with increased focus on diversifying the group’s customer service channels,”

SBL independent non-executive chairman Addington Chinake said.

It was also announced that the group  will continue to invest in growing the dial-a-delivery (DAD) business across all its markets leveraging on a refreshed DAD mobile application.

Other investments will include customised tech-enabled logistics management, call-centre platforms and expanded delivery zones.

“With the gradual easing of trading restrictions in our operating markets, we expect an improvement in trading capacity and continued growth in customer count to drive revenue growth,” SBL chief executive officer Basil Dionisio said.

“New revenue streams from an improved, more efficient delivery business will also underpin top line growth in the short to medium term.”

He added:

“Continued cost management to maintain or make further traction in improving operating efficiencies will translate to increased profitability and shareholder returns.

“A strong investment pipeline, as the focus moves from navigating the COVID-19-induced challenges to growing the group’s footprint, would also deliver growth and create value for stakeholders.”

Dionisio said growth would be primarily focused on Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ghana while the other regional markets would focus on making improvements in the existing business to maximise returns on existing capacity. He said SBL opened 13 new counters between June 30, 2020, and June 30, 2021, that brought its tally to 232 operational counters in the country.

SBL also  operates restaurants in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

During its financial year ended June 30, 2021, SBL recorded an increase in revenue of nearly 108% to $18,79 billion from a 2020 comparative of $9,044 billion. This was as a result of increased sales through delivery channels and aggressive cost- containment measures.

From this amount, SBL realised a profit after tax of $2,16 billion, up 96,41% from a 2020 comparative of $1,1 billion.

Despite the profitability and the rise in total assets to $13,81 billion, from a 2020 comparative of $8,33 billion, SBL had 71 cents for every dollar of debt at the end of the period under review.

“The group realised a net monetary gain of $227 million (2020: $564 million), mainly attributable to inflation hedging strategies in Zimbabwe anchored on reinvesting profits in new stores to hedge against inflation,” Chinake said.

He said the group recorded foreign currency exchange and other gains of $1,1 billion) driven by depreciation of the local unit against the greenback.

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