he restructuring programme KWV implemented last year is starting to bear fruit, said CEO Thys Loubser. Financial results for 2008 have been released, and impressive figures were achieved. Sales for branded products increased by 19%, headline earnings are up by 40% and operating profit from continued operations is 99,2% up from 2007, Loubser said. KWV simplified and streamlined its operations by selling underperforming assets, including Eggers & Franke in Germany, NMK Premium Global Brands in SA and Vititec, previously KWV’s grapevine improvement centre.
These transactions impacted negatively on the group as a whole, but nevertheless overall revenues still increased by 8,6% compared to last year, Loubser said. Long-established brands such as Roodeberg, KWV Lifestyle and KWV 10-Year-Old Brandy were once again the prime growth drivers, Loubser said. “We consistently focused on the implementation of the new strategy and are now seeing the result of our efforts,” he explained. He added that a simpler structure enables KWV to react quicker to ever-changing consumer demands.
Loubser said that Scandinavia, the UK, and Canada were strong growth areas, but that the South African market also grew by 12% over the past year despite difficult economical conditions. “We expect local conditions to be tough for the next six months, but are still upbeat about the near future,” Loubser said. This positive sentiment is reflected in the 12,5c dividend declared for the year, which is 78,6% higher than in 2007. – Wouter Kriel