The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (CCZ), sub-Saharan Africa's largest processor and marketer of cotton, on Monday said its first-half profits climbed by 155 per cent from 2.3 billion Zimbabwean dollars (US$42 million) to 3.6 billion Zimbabwean dollars (US$65. 5 million).

Although production of drought-hit cotton fell more than a third of forecasts in the period, the company's turnover was up 51 per cent to 10.7 billion Zimbabwean dollars.

Managing director Sylvester Nguni said said the company had finished ginning last season's crop and would meet all its forward lint orders despite reduced production. To ensure future supply, the firm has signed an agreement with the Mozambique government's Zambezi Valley Development Authority and will soon be processing and marketing cotton grown here.

The CCZ exports more than 70 per cent of its lint production mainly to markets in Europe and the Far East.