… As food and distribution division moves to shed employees
By Hilary Mare
THE Bidvest Food and Distribution Division under Bidvest Namibia Commercial Holdings is facing retrenchments, due to economic pressures and non-profitability, Confidente can reveal.
Henry Feris, who is the managing director of the division, has confirmed the imminent retrenchments in a notice to workers this week
The food and distribution division handles the distribution of fast-moving consumer goods, frozen and chilled products, dry goods and other commodities
In a notice of anticipated retrenchments, drawn up in accordance with Section 34 of Labour Act 11 of 2007, Feris highlights that due to the further loss of two major principals, Pamalat and Nestle Water, the company has to restructure, and therefore some positions have become redundant.
With the workers facing the axe particularly from Taeuber & Corssen (T&C), a subsidiary that is a distributor of fast-moving consumer goods in Namibia, Feris says: “T&C is forced to critically review and reduce its cost structures to sustainable levels, with immediate effect, to counter the impact of the major economic recession.”
Other portfolio’s under the food and distribution division include, Caterplus, a distributor of perishable foods to hospitality, leisure, food service, wholesale and retail industries, and Pro Trade Agencies, distributor of mainly non-food products to retailers.
“The overall holistic business plan includes scaling down on each cost element within the business division, the discontinuation of trucks not needed, through truck optimisation, the discontinuation and/or renegotiation of principals/products that are not profitable in the business, reducing costs through the implementation of various system and related processes, and other cost savings, through better and more efficient service provider arrangements,” Feris added.
Bidvest Namibia anticipates basic earnings per share (EPS) and headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year ended June 30 2017 to be down by between 70 and 75 percent on the previous corresponding period, according to notice shared by the board of directors on the Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX).
The decline in EPS and HEPS is the result of lower profits in all trading divisions.
“Bidvest Namibia’s fishing division continues facing severe adverse external market factors and environmental conditions, as well as a shortage of (its) own quota allocations. All the other divisions experienced pressure on revenue, due to the recession in Namibia. Although the food and distribution division recently started showing improvement in stock-related costs, losses were incurred for the financial year. Various initiatives are being taken to improve efficiencies and save costs,” Feris said in the notice.
The release of the announcement of the annual results for the year ended June 30 2017 is expected to be published on or before 25 August.
In the 2016 financial result, the division highlighted that trading conditions were expected to remain difficult and could become even more challenging, should pressure increase on consumer spending.
The division, however, noted that its turnaround plan and subsequent efficiency improvements had enabled it to secure a competitive advantage in core areas of its business in 2016.
“In the coming year, the full 12-month effect of the turnaround strategy will help us secure further gains. Our mission is to establish ourselves as Namibia’s only truly national broad line, multi-temp distributor of food, food service products and associated product lines.
“In the year ahead, all teams will begin to align their businesses with this national mission. Silos are already being collapsed in favour of integrated structures that permit closer collaboration and greater efficiency.
“This work will be accelerated. Rapid movement is planned to the next level of integration across the warehousing, logistics, supply chain and planning systems. Investment in people, capital equipment and the branch network will be maintained at a high level. In 2016 we created the potential for renewed growth. In 2017 we plan to realise this potential,” the division said in the report.
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