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Namib Mills

Namib Mills occupies an extensive site in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area where the miller has consistently grown the extent and depth of its infrastructure to process and distribute cereals for the entire country.

As Namibia’s foremost grain processor, Namib Mills has grown in leaps and bounds since its establishment in 1982. It currently employs 1200 people of which 460 are in the distribution channel. Its products resonate well with many Namibian households and it is a market leader in its line segments. It is also a founding member of consumer lobby group Team Namibia which promotes the use and consumption of locally produced goods and services.

Its most notable investment to date is a US$72 million poultry plant and an N$85 million pasta plant with a capacity to produce, 2100 kilograms per hour in short form such as macaroni and elbows and 1500 kg per hour in long form such as spaghetti.

This week, Koos Ferreira, technical liaison specialist at Namib Mills explained its operations to the Economist.

 

Meteorologists expect Namibia to experience average to below average rainfall this year. Has this dampened Namib Mills’ expectations? It appears not so, as Ferreira explains, “we are cautiously optimistic that we will have a good 2015. With the current drought situation there could be a serious distortion in the economic position of a number of people. Past experience has proved that a good agricultural year also is a good economical year for the country.  The contrary is also true.  Disposable income on various fronts may be seriously hampered.” Adds Ferreira, “maize meal normally substitutes the shortage of mahangu in a drought year.  The additional maize required to be milled will be imported from South Africa.”
Namib Mills’ production facility in Windhoek consists of a wheat mill, a maize mill, a pasta plant, a complete mix plant, a rice packing plant and a sugar packing plant. In Otavi, it operates a maize mill, a mahangu mill and a sugar packing plant, while a mill in Katima Mulilo supplies the Zambezi Region with maize meal.

According to Ferreira, the total maize milled in Namibia in a normal year is roughly 150,000 tons, wheat contributes another 100,000 tons while between 60,000 and 70,000 tonnes mahangu is consumed.  “In the case of maize roughly 50% is produced locally on a long term average, but this year it may only be 30% due to the drought.  Wheat is roughly 15% local, 85% imported and since most wheat is produced under irrigation, this year will remain the same,” says an optimistic Ferreira.
“A normal mahangu crop is from 60,000 to 70,000 tons per annum.  This year’s crop will be much lower.  The shortfall will most likely be compensated by the usage of maize meal and a higher consumption of maize meal can be expected.  Whatever is short from local production will have to be imported,” he explains.

“Namib Mills is the market leader in maize milling, wheat milling, commercial mahangu milling and pasta production,” says a confident Ferreira adding that they source about 50% of their white maize requirements from South Africa in normal years and about 85% of their wheat requirements from wherever they obtain the required quality at the best price.  “We source whatever mahangu we can locally and the shortfall, from India. 100% of our pasta is manufactured locally while all rice is imported. Most of the sugar is sourced from South Africa.”
Namib Mills is engaged in maize milling, wheat milling, mahangu milling, pasta production, sugar packing and rice packaging. Its products range include such household ringers as Top Score, Bakpro, Meme Mahangu, Pasta Polana, Rice King and Sugar King.
“A large portion of our products are distributed through the major chains and retail trade with whom we have an excellent relationship.  Likewise we attempt to build a relationship with the small and medium enterprises and cuca shops in the outlying areas to enhance their position.” According to Ferreira, this ties in with Namib Mills’ corporate social investment initiatives saying that Namib Mills is currently engaging small and medium enterprises in Katutura and cuca shops in the Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshona regions.
“Our route to market hinges on servicing all customers throughout the country, irrespective where they are.  That is our competitive advantage, achieved through 10 depots spread across the country:  Three are located in the south and include Oranjemund, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, three across central Namibia which include Windhoek, Gobabis and Walvis Bay, three in the north which include Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Ondangwa and a tenth depot situated in the far north east in Katima Mulilo,” says Ferreira.
Regarding distribution costs and the large areas they serve, he says “It must be stated that the reduction in fuel price is most welcome and is assisting to curb price increases.
Distribution costs in Namibia, where vast distances have to be covered are a factor to be reckoned with and often blamed for unrealistically inflated prices. Obviously the fuel reduction has a positive effect to contain delivery costs.”
According to him, raw material prices, exchange rate fluctuations and freight costs are the main price determinants.  Concludes Ferreira, cautiously “Price adjustments will largely depend on the international price for raw materials as well as exchange rate fluctuations. Since neither can be accurately predicted I can not forecast the remainder of 2015.”

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.