“This year has been one of recovery” Cindy Choong, CFO’s Report 2022

Dear Stakeholders,

This year has been one of recovery despite a challenging context. During the first half of the financial year, our activities were heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The second half of the financial year was marked by growing geopolitical tensions across Europe and the outbreak of war between Ukraine and Russia, creating turmoil in the international markets for food crops and energy, and disrupting the supply of goods.

These developments were also reflected in the main currency markets, with the Mauritian rupee experiencing a continued devaluation against the US dollar against the backdrop of a historic devaluation of the Euro and British pound against the US dollar.

Through its monetary policy, the Mauritian Government has sought to counter the increased imported inflation by raising the repo rate, thereby impacting the cost of borrowing. Despite these developments, Medine’s performance has significantly improved.

This was achieved through cost discipline and actions taken to achieve the Group’s objectives of reducing debt and increasing earnings. This year’s performance has enabled the Group to reach a milestone figure of more than Rs 1bn in profit after tax, while reducing its debt to Rs 5.6bn as part of its Target 4:4 strategy.

An analysis of our performance

In the current year, the Group generated a turnover of Rs 1.5bn, against Rs 1.1bn last year, representing a 36% increase. This reflects the partial recovery of the tourism sector, rising sugar prices and Medine’s successful execution of build and sell projects.

The Group’s commitment to its cost-containment strategy is reflected in the less than proportionate increase in operating expenses of 20% when compared to an increase of 28% in income, representing a Jaws ratio of 8%. The improved EBITDA figure of Rs 289m for this financial year, against Rs 157m from last year, was the result of the progress made in all business units, as depicted below.

The fact that each business unit made a positive contribution to operating profit is a reflection of the general pick-up in economic activity in Mauritius. In line with our Target 4:4 strategy, Medine has also carried out bulk sales of land, allowing the Group to reduce its debt levels. This has also impacted our income statement, which translated into a profit on sale of land of Rs 1.1bn.

The impact of the Group’s reduced debt was also reflected in a 10% reduction in our finance costs. As part of the debt repayment went through in the second half of the financial year, we will only benefit fully from the effects of the reduced debt in the coming financial year. Our income statement was also positively affected by a change in fair value gains on consumable biological assets and investment properties.

Our performance by business unit

A look at our financial position

The net asset value of Medine stood at Rs 21bn at financial year end, a 10% increase from last year. The increase in the value of current assets was driven by capitalised land development costs, representing expenses associated with upcoming morcellement projects Serenis and Magenta Parkside, which will be realised within the next financial year.

The upward movement in the fair valuation of biological assets was also recognised to reflect the potential for increased revenue from sugar following the upward trend in sugar prices; this further contributed to the total increase in the value of current assets. A higher cash and bank balance of Rs 467.9m was maintained at year end, partly due to deposits received on the sale of plots of land in the Serenis and Magenta Parkside morcellements, projects that are still under development.

It is important to highlight that during the year, Casela Limited issued redeemable convertible bonds for a value of Rs 140m with a maturity date of 9 years from the disbursement of subscription proceeds. An amount of Rs 106.0 was accordingly recognised under equity and the remaining value of the bonds were classified under debt.

One of Medine’s strategic focus areas has been reducing our debt to a sustainable level of Rs 4bn. This year has seen the alignment of actions to achieve that strategy through the sale of land, creating an influx of cash for the repayment of debt. As of 30 June 2022, the net debt position was successfully reduced to Rs 5.6bn, down from Rs 7.6bn for last year, which simultaneously pushed our debt-to-equity ratio down from 40% to 27%.

Our stakeholders

In the past year, Medine’s share price on the stock exchange increased from Rs 52.50 to Rs 55.50, demonstrating growing confidence in Medine’s performance and in the recovery of our activities following COVID-19.

Though we are pleased with the general upward trend in the share price, we take note of the disparity between the net asset value per share of Rs 200 and the share price of Rs 56, which represents a discount to NAV of 72%. While it is an indicator to investors of the potential value to be derived from their investment, our target is to create more returns out of this unexplored potential value through increased earnings per share. As an indicator of the progress in realising this earnings potential, our price earnings ratio moved from 30.17 last year to 5.80 in the current year. 

Outlook

Mauritius lifted most of its sanitary restrictions on 01 July 2022. The full impact of this is therefore only expected to be felt in the next financial year. As indicated in International Monetary Fund forecasts, Mauritius is expected to see a change in real GDP of 5.6% and a decrease in its consumer price index to 5.8% in the coming year, with an expected full recovery in tourism by 2024. The Flic-en-Flac bypass road, which is expected to be completed by December 2024, will be a game changer for Medine, making the West much more easily accessible.

This is definitely creating buoyancy in the market for property in the region, the impact of which should be felt in the coming years. As of now, Medine has several morcellement and build and sell residential projects in the pipeline and is pressing ahead with its plan to expand its build and lease portfolio. We are also developing an increasing number of partnerships with renowned institutions in the aim of becoming a hub for educational excellence, be it at a primary, secondary or tertiary levels. Overall, the Group is well on its way to creating a residential ecosystem in the West to attract more people to the area, and in so doing, unlock additional value from its land.

That said, the continuing geopolitical tensions between Ukraine and Russia remain of concern, with the duration of the conflict and its impact still uncertain while the sanctions imposed by countries and international organisations are constantly evolving. It is increasingly likely that there will be a global recession in 2023 and Medine is well aware of its possible implications. We are monitoring the situation closely and will make the most of any opportunities that arise.

With our focus remaining on debt reduction, cost discipline and diversification, we are expecting to reap the benefits of our achievements to date, while exploring new avenues through which to convert the potential of our land into revenue. I am honoured and humbled to have been named Chief Financial Officer for Medine, a Group with a 111-year-old heritage and an equally long history of innovation. I would like to convey my gratitude to the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors for their trust and their guidance, to my team for their commitment, and to our stakeholders for their support.

Download our Integrated Report 2022 ➜

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