Manufacturers Milling around
Two centenaries, two beleaguered businesses, two otherwise very different bits of news. First off, Tongaat Hulett, of recent (and ongoing) reported accounting scandal fame, is selling off its 100 year old starch business to Barloworld subsidiary KLL Group for R5.35bn in an attempt to relieve the old balance sheet of some of its debt and to finance ongoing operations. The business produces modified and unmodified starch, powdered glucose and agri-products in four mills, processing close on a million tons of mealies a year. Next up, Tiger Brands is celebrating the centenary of its venerable Jungle Oats business with the opening of a state of the art mill in Maitland to supplement the output of its existing factory, also in Maitland. The new mill offers improved output and increased efficiencies, as well as reduced manufacturing costs and food waste. What it does not offer is windows: of those, it has none, relying instead on a computerised air management system. And the great thing is the whole place can be operated remotely via – anyone? – yes! An app. Although it does employ 180 new staff, and provides revenues for small local farmers through a supplier development programme.
Comment: That’s the way, Tiger. A feel-good story from the Striped One, at last.