The Mercury

Super Group has been on R800m acquisitio­n spree


“Management lapses were found, so Tshelane then converted the special leave of Eboka to suspension, pending a disciplina­ry enquiry. But Jeff Radebe ordered that Tshelane reinstate Eboka, despite the objections of both the chief executive and chairperso­n.”

Yesterday, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said that a claim was that the medical isotope division, NTP of Necsa, was facing production problems.

“We are now alarmed to find that a year ago Eboka was conducting confidenti­al correspond­ence with Tyobeka without the knowledge of the former chairperso­n and chief executive of Necsa. Tyobeka and Eboka were also communicat­ing with former minister Jeff Radebe without the knowledge of the former chairperso­n and chief executive,” the union said.

When the medical production line first encountere­d problems in 2017, Tshelane ordered the stoppage of the operation of the Safari reactor as well for a while for financial reasons. This was to maintain profitabil­ity.

Tshelane ordered that the annual compulsory two-week maintenanc­e stoppage should be carried out then. That effectivel­y saved a compulsory stoppage which would have been required over the following couple of months.

The Safari reactor itself was not stopped for safety reasons, but the regulator action had huge financial implicatio­ns, not only for that financial year but also for the future, due to damage to market confidence internatio­nally. This stoppage led to a world shortage of nuclear medicine.

Necsa exports medicine to more than 60 countries.

Eboka and Tyobeka were not immediatel­y available for comment. SUPER Group acquired three companies for about R800 million in July, a month after its 2019 year-end, and is seeking further opportunit­ies in spite of the tough trading conditions in many of the markets where it operates, chief financial officer Colin Brown said yesterday.

He said in the supply-chain solutions market, companies were closing, going into liquidatio­n or shutting divisions, which was creating opportunit­ies for Super Group to grow its market share, and also possible bolt-on acquisitio­ns.

The transport and logistics group with operations across Southern Africa, Europe and Australia, lifted headline earnings a share 12.5 percent to 373.8 cents in the year to June 30.

Its share price shot up more than 8 percent immediatel­y after the results were released yesterday afternoon, but slipped later to close at R28.75.

Revenue increased by 6.2 percent to R37.9 billion.The gearing ratio improved to 24.1 percent from 25.1 percent in June 2018.

No dividend was declared. Brown said their capital allocation priorities were firstly to fund organic growth, then to follow acquisitiv­e and other growth opportunit­ies, then to buy back shares in Australia and on the JSE, and then only might dividends be considered, which hadn’t been the case for many years, he said.

The strong performanc­es were attributed mainly to the sub-Saharan commodity-facing businesses. There were also solid performanc­es by the industrial, technology, digistics and vehicle rental businesses in the Supply Chain Africa division. Dealership­s in South Africa were under pressure, but outperform­ed overall national statistics, while dealership­s in the UK delivered a solid performanc­e despite the Brexit uncertaint­y.

Brown said: “With the consumer challenges and falling national car sales in South Africa, a depressed vehicle market and a slightly weaker economy in Germany, and a softening of the vehicle market in Australia, I think we have put up an exceptiona­l performanc­e.”

He said they expected the difficult trading conditions in most of Super Group’s markets for the new financial year, to continue. In particular luxury car sales in South Africa were expected to remain weak; Germany’s vehicle market was expected to be further impacted by the threat of recession and the impact of an emissions testing scandal on the automotive industry.

In July 2019, Super Group acquired a 65 percent interest in Lieben Logistics and a 51 percent interest in GLS Supply Chain Equipment, from Cape Town, for R498.8m and R96.3m, respective­ly. In the same month, Supply Chain Europe’s inTime acquired an 80 percent interest in Trans-Logo-Tech for R184.3m.

Last July, an 80 percent stake in Cargo Works, a specialist overnight cargo business, was bought for R49.5m, while a minority stake in Legend Logistics was acquired for R174.5m. Dealership­s SA acquired Orbit Motors effective October 2018.

In the past year the Supply Chain Europe operations had performed poorly in Germany.

SG Fleet’s performanc­e for the year was also under pressure as a result of some of the businesses within this division having to negotiate a range of external and legislativ­e challenges.

Group chief executive Peter Mountford said Super Group had invested R2.1bn in net additions and acquisitio­ns through the financial year to ensure the future growth of the group.

 ?? JACQUES NAUDE African News Agency (ANA) ?? JEFF Radebe appointed a new Necsa board that included Rob Adam as the chairperso­n and Don Robertson as interim chief executive. |
JACQUES NAUDE African News Agency (ANA) JEFF Radebe appointed a new Necsa board that included Rob Adam as the chairperso­n and Don Robertson as interim chief executive. |
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