MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE FOCUS: ADVERSITY BRINGS OUT THE BEST
AGAINST the background of low world sugar prices driven off a fourth year of global production surplus and major upheaval in the European sugar industry, both of which affect our own export markets and the domestic trading conditions of the countries in which we operate, the Illovo 2014 management conference took time out to focus attention on our existing business model and the robust strategies we have in place for sustaining our business over the longer term.
Confidence comes out of our five-year plans for the growth of our existing cane and sugar operations, enhancing revenue-stream diversity, such as the addition of the Kilombero potable alcohol distillery to our downstream showcase and capturing fundamental opportunities across existing and new markets.
At the source of the issues, there are increasing indications that the global sugar balance is moving towards a production deficit, while in Africa strong consumption growth is supported by rising GDP per capita levels, ranging between 3% and 6%. We remain deeply encouraged by the steady growth in some of our sugar markets, particularly in the current year, against a set of extremely challenging circumstances, and by continued strong market demand for our downstream products and - using the Kilombero distillery example again – the material requirement for potable alcohol in the East African region.
Turning back the clock to previous year performance, but indicative of Illovo's responses in difficult times, South Africa was presented with the Best Country award for a wide range of accomplishments in the year to 31 March 2014. At the formal presentation ceremony, Gavin Dalgleish commented on the excellent factory operations, including a number of downstream production records, the significant improvement in the safety and quality performances and the strong sales achievements of the sugar and downstream teams, despite some significant challenges such as the high volumes of low-cost imported sugar which had found its way into the South African market. In addition, the Furfural downstream commercial team won the Best Marketing Team award for their particularly strong performance during the year.
We salute these efforts, and all winners at Illovo's Annual Awards Presentations (pictured in order, all names from left):
Best Country Award, won by South Africa and represented by (back row): Gavin Dalgleish, Stephanie and Don MacLeod, Jonah Lyall, Charles Kruger, Edgar Bruggemann, Sbu Hlela, Henry Van der Heever, Mark Gounder, Elaine Moodley, Michela Cutts, Graham Mann, Johann Van Rensburg, Barry Cornish, Gavin Van Schoor, Charles Crebo, Rainer Talanda and David Sutherland; (front row): Vis Pillay, Ntokozo Magwaza, Guy Shange, Dave Howells, Hans Hackmann, Harry Jogi, Lal Bachan, Eckard Lucht and Suren Naidoo
A special presentation was made to Don MacLeod who announced his retirement as director and chairman of Illovo with effect from 15 July 2015, coinciding with the company's 100th Annual General Meeting. Don is joined by his wife Stephanie and Gavin Dalgleish, who presented Don with a special commemorative cricket bat signed by members of the 2014 test and one-day international teams.
Best Factory Performance, won by Ubombo, and represented by Oswald Magwenzi.
Best Agriculture Performance, won by Dwangwa, and represented by Lengster Mlenga and Ken Tembo.
Best Marketing Achievement, won by Sezela Downstream, and represented by Hans Hackmann.
Financial Management Award, won by Jeff Blumberg of Ubombo.
Risk Management Award, won by Kilombero, and represented by Mark Bainbridge and Beda Marwa Chacha.
MD's award, won by Dave Coates.
Safety Award, won by Maragra and represented by Hans Veenstra.
Corporate Office Award, won by the Nakambala II expansion project team represented by (back row): Gavin Dalgleish, Stephanie and Don MacLeod, Rebecca Katowa, Mwansa Mutimushi; Beatrice Mutambo, Doreen Kabunda, Andrew Francis, Christian Rees and Warren Wessels; (front row): Burger Pretorius, Ian Parrott, Marc Pousson, Matthew Jolly and Wes Cowden.
Human Resources Award, won by Kilombero and represented by Beda Marwa Chacha, Mark Bainbridge and Nigel Hawley.