Botswana-based food retailer Choppies has opted to hold on to its final dividend for the year to end-June, after taking a hit to volumes and revenue from Covid-19.

The group reported a loss of P370.6m (R537m) to end-June, about a 14% improvement from the year-earlier period.

Group revenue, comprising sale of goods from continuing operations, increased by 1.1% to P5.42bn. The increase was inflation driven mainly in Botswana and Zimbabwe, where volumes were under pressure.

The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on revenue from the group’s continuing operations is estimated at P190m, the statement read.

The retailer has been embroiled in legal and accounting scandals, and is still suspended from the JSE, having previously faced difficulties in finalising its financial results.

In 2019, the retailer announced an investigation by an EY forensic team, which uncovered accounting irregularities in how it recorded sales and inventory stocks in SA and Zimbabwe shops. The board then suspended CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu who was later reinstated.

The group said on Friday this matter was closed in August 2020. “No evidence could be found that any person was prejudiced, nor that fraud was committed,” Choppies said.

With Katharine Child


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