An OK year under the circumstances, which is what you could say about pretty much anyone these days, from Shoprite on down. Clover totted up sales of R8billion (up 10.7%) for the year to June, compared with 10.4% last year. Operating profit, however, was up only 5.4% to R391.4million compared with 16.4% last year, a result, they say, of tricky trading conditions and investments in projects. Specifically, one supposes, the dashingly-title Project Cielo Blue, a massive re-engineering of the business to generate greater efficiency, which this year saw the relocation of machinery between plants and the unfortunate retrenchment of staff, at a cost of R26.2million. Greater competition in the market – particularly in the long-life category – had meant price cuts, which further eroded profits. Coming down the track, expansion into Africa is planned, with facilities under development in Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola.
Comment: Big picture boys (and girls) over at Clover, who seem in it for the long haul.