Na­tional Foods weans off de­pot net­work

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

LISTED agro-pro­cess­ing firm Na­tional Foods (NatFoods) says it has stream­lined its op­er­a­tions by hand­ing over the run­ning of its de­pot net­work to Gain Cash and Carry.

NatFoods CEO Mr Michael Lash­brook told share­hold­ers at the com­pany’s AGM yes­ter­day morn­ing that the com­pany wanted to fo­cus on grow­ing its core busi­ness.

“The group has changed the oper­at­ing model for its de­pot net­work. With ef­fect from Novem­ber 1, Gain Cash and Carry has taken over the NatFoods De­pot net­work.

“The rea­son for this change was that NatFoods wishes to con­cen­trate on grow­ing its port­fo­lio of FMCG (fast mov­ing con­sumer goods) prod­ucts. At times the fact that we have op­er­ated de­pots has caused con­flict with our cus­tomers,” he said.

The group’s brands in­clude Glo­ria, Red Seal, Ma­hatma, Pear­lenta, Snow White, Rosetta, Bet­ter Buy as well as Stock­feeds. Gain Cash and Carry is ex­pected to trans­form the de­pots into to fully fledged whole­sales

“Gain Cash and Carry will be driven by Mr Lib­erty Murimwa and Mr John­son Gapu. Pre­vi­ously Mr Murimwa was NatFoods’ group fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor while John­son was NatFoods’ sales and dis­tri­bu­tion di­rec­tor,” said Mr Lash­brook.

In terms of the share­hold­ing struc­ture of the new en­tity, Messrs Murimwa and Gapo will be part­nered by a pri­vate eq­uity fi­nancier who will fi­nance what the CEO called “es­sen­tially a man­age­ment take-over.”

The group has since ap­pointed Mr Work­more Chimweta as group sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor to re­place Mr Gapu, while Mr Murimwa’s re­place­ment will be an­nounced in due course, said the com­pany.

Mean­while, for the first quar­ter ended Septem­ber 30, 2016, NatFoods’ vol­umes rose 11 per­cent on the back of a jump in de­mand for key prod­ucts.

“Vol­umes were firm, grow­ing 10,5 per­cent on prior year. The vol­ume growth was driven mainly by flour, and to a lesser ex­tent, rice”, said the CEO in a trad­ing up­date.

Ear­lier this year, Natfoods ac­quired a 40 per­cent stake in Pure Oil In­dus­tries, man­u­fac­tur­ers of the Zim­gold cook­ing oil.

“The group’s re­cent ac­qui­si­tions have added a new and ex­cit­ing di­men­sion in the group. Pure oils per­formed strongly and Zim­gold has be­come the coun­try’s top sell­ing brand in a very short pe­riod of time,” said Mr Lash­brook. — BH24

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