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31st Oct 2007 , Ed

KEETMANSHOOP (Namibia) – Karas Abattoir and Tannery Processors has been sold by the Namibian Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) to Brukarros Meat Processors, a consortium made up of two Namibian groups and two South African companies. The consortium is scheduled to officially take control from January 1.

The Namibian companies, Frans Indongo group and Naneni group, are investors, and will hold 50.1% of the company when negotiations are finalised before year end.

The South Africans are Dr Kabols le Riche, a meat trader, and SA Dorper Export Co., a South African/Italian company which exports sheepskins.
Le Riche declined to reveal the purchase price.
Karas, which was originally opened to process mainly ostriches, converted entirely to processing sheep several years ago.
Le Riche said on the meat side, the initial intention would be to export carcasses to SA, as well as doing some primal cuts on site, also for export.
He said because Namibia had been foot-and-mouth disease-free, south of the country’s veterinary fence, for a number of years, the Namibian government was negotiating with the European Union to allow the export of bone-in meat to the EU, and Karas would hope to benefit from that.

On the skins side, Karas would give SA Dorper a guaranteed source of supply. Until now, the company has had to compete for a share of the very competitive skins market in SA.
Le Riche said in future Karas would also slaughter and process cattle and game carcasses, and would consider tanning their hides and skins. “They have a lot of small game, like Springbok, in the area, and there’s already a lot of interest in that from local farmers,” he said.
Willem Swartz remains acting CEO of Karas, but the new owners are negotiating with unions regarding reorganising the 190-odd strong workforce and managers.

Tega Shiimi ya Shiimi, CEO of Sanlam Investment Management Namibia, which acts as development capital portfolio manager for the GIPF, said Karas had struggled under “quite a heavy debt burden”, which had led the GIPF to decide to sell.
“It’s currently operational, processing about 1,800 sheep a day, generating positive cash flows,” he said, “but management decisions from the past had left it with quite a big hill to climb.” – [Dr Kabols le Riche, tel: +27 (0)11 826 6452, e-mail: kabols@justlamb.co.za Tega Shiimi ya Shiimi, tel: +264 (0)61 264 61 274100, e-mail: tegas@sim.sanlam.com]




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