By Janice Kew for IOL
Shoprite Holdings Ltd. started a review of supermarket operations outside South Africa and would consider exiting certain countries if that would help reverse regional sales declines.
Africa’s biggest grocer reported a 4.9% fall in third-quarter revenue when its main market is excluded, the Cape Town-based company said at the start of its annual general meeting on Monday. Weaker currencies weighed on performance and the Nigerian business was affected by xenophobic attacks — a response to violence in South Africa against immigrants from elsewhere on the continent.
“We are not scared to take the hard decisions,” Chief Executive Officer Pieter Engelbrecht told investors, adding that leaving certain markets would be considered. Other measures including cost reductions are underway, he said.
The performance contrasted sharply with improved trading in South Africa, where quarterly sales jumped by 10% even as Shoprite’s main lower-income customers battle with the impact of an economic showdown. Chains including Checkers and U-Save are benefiting from a new IT system and the revamp and opening of new stores, the retailer said.
The shares rose 0.6% to 139.04 rand as of 11:50 a.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 82 billion rand ($5.6 billion). The stock has fallen 27% this year.
Shoprite reported the update at the start of its annual general meeting, where former billionaire Christo Wiese was re-elected as a non-executive director despite some investor pressure over his three decades as chairman. Shareholder All Weather Capital had last week nominated former Pepkor Ltd. head Jan le Roux as a director to try and reduce Wiese’s influence, though he received just 16% support.
The makeup of the board will change over the next year, Wiese said at the AGM, while more attention will be given to succession planning. A decision on whether he continues as chairman will be taken later on Monday.
Staples has announced that it plans to sell its Australian and New Zealand business to Platinum Equity for an undisclosed amount.
“As we execute our plan for long-term growth we want to focus primarily on our Staples’ North American business, and this will allow us to better do that,” says Shira Goodman, Staples chief executive, in a statement.
Shares of Staples rose 0.8% to $8.64 after hours.
By Wallace Witkowski for www.marketwatch.com
The Gupta family, owners of Oakbay Investments and friends of President Jacob Zuma, have been subjected to “cruel and harsh” treatment from the media in the country, contributing to the decision to sell their local businesses, the company’s chief executive officer said.
There has been tangible interest from a potential international buyer for the assets, Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
“There’s never a right time to sell a business, but we’ve had some interest from some international parties,” Howa said. “We’d be crazy to close our eyes just to one party, so we will consider other offers as well.”
The family made the surprise announcement on August 27 that it will exit all its interests in South Africa by the end of the year. Zuma, who has described the Guptas as friends while denying that they wield political influence, is facing a public backlash over a police investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Oakbay Investments owns 80% of Oakbay Resources & Energy, a gold and coal mining company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Other businesses include closely held Sahara Computers, a heavy-equipment supplier, a safari lodge, a television news channel and a national newspaper.
By Guy Johnson for News24
It continues to be rough going for Staples after its failed merger with Office Depot.
The office supplier is considering shuttering its 107 stores in the United Kingdom as part of a larger evaluation of its European strategy in the wake of the failed merger and the UK.’s decision to leave the European Union, according to a report in the British newspaper The Telegraph.
The company has 259 stores in Europe, including the UK. locations, and as with its stores in the US. has fought challenges in the face of a changing retail world that leads consumers and businesses to shop online. A recent restructuring helped return the company’s UK. operations to being profitable, but the recent turmoil that has resulted from the ‘Brexit’ vote and the uncertainty about the economic fallout raises questions about the turnaround’s sustainability.
Staples was considering shutting its UK. stores even before Brexit, but the vote to leave the EU hurt the case to keep them open. On Tuesday the British pound hit another 31-year low, falling 1.3% to $1.3139, which erodes the profits of US. companies doing business in the country.
According to the report, Staples is considering a sale of its UK. stores, but the poor locations of the stores may make them unappealing to potential buyers.
This comes as the company is trying to reposition itself in the US. after a federal judge in early May blocked Staples’ planned merger with Office Depot. Last month the company announced it would be rolling out a new same-day delivery option to customers in a variety of cities– including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — in a bid to keep up with the new consumer trend spearheaded by Amazon and Google.
“After the proposed acquisition was blocked, on May 10, 2016, Staples announced we are exploring strategic alternatives for our European operations,” Staples spokesman Bill Durling said in a statement. “This will allow the company to sharpen our focus and more aggressively pursue our mid-market growth strategy in North America, while right sizing our retail business. While this process remains on track, we have no additional details to share at this time.”
Staples’ shares were down 3,5% to $8.53.
By Eli Blumenthal for www.usatoday.com
BPGI’s members in Australia and New Zealand have decided to leave the purchasing organisation and form their own buying group.
Paperlinx is exiting Europe altogether. Its Benelux operations have been put into administration with the rest of its European operations described as being in a sale or “realisations process”.