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Clover allays industry fears

Clover Industries is keen to hit the ground running following its dual-listing on the Namibia Stock Exchange. Following its primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in May 2010, Clover has turned its attention to towards the rest of Africa as it continues to grow its business.

Speaking to Clover Industries Chief Executive Johann Vorster just after he had rung the bell at a function in the capital this week, the Economist was able to tap into Clover and Vorster’s Sub-Saharan African vision.
“When Danone entered the South African market we were sceptical at first. This was however followed by a smart partnership with Danone.” Under the arrangement, Clover provided Danone Southern Africa with a range of services including raw milk, packaging and manufacturing services. Clover however cancelled its supply and service agreements with Danone in December 2014.
“We are more than willing to partner with industry stakeholders. A multi-national can bring a lot to the table. We need to look at Clover’s dual-listing differently. Ultimately, the consumer will benefit.” said an excited Vorster who is keen to start building relationships with local farmers.
Added Vorster, “We want to show our long term commitment. Our presence in Namibia will also enhance our availability and quality of our products and services. Our dual-listing is also not as a result of infant industry protection. Whether it happens or not is immaterial. There are a lot of opportunities available for us in Namibia. We can spur greenfield initiatives, engage the farming community, venture into packaging. A great number of permutations exist.”
In an interview with South African based Business Day, Vorster touched on the inactivity of the Namibia Stock Exchange. “The cost as far as it is concerned, it’s very little. It’s almost the same as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange requirements in terms of when we propose SENS and so on. It is thinly traded but it also gives an opportunity that public funds in Namibia can invest then in our shares.”
Currently, Clover commands a healthy 40% market share for juices, 29% for fresh milk and 17% for its long-life products and a paltry 10% for mineral products according to Vorster.
Said Vorster cautiously, “It is not easy going into other countries.” Following its dual-listing on the Namibia Stock Exchange, Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola have appeared on Clover’s horizon. According to Vorster. “We are looking at the possibility of buying or getting a plant in these countries. We already have a plant in Botswana.”
Clover chairman Werner Büchne used the same opportunity to allay possible fears. “We are very selective where we invest. Our dual-listing helps raise our credibility. We are keen to investigate opportunities with industry.”
The listing will according to Büchner also benefit local consumers. “We are more active in the communities where we operate. The advantage to the consumer is a bigger choice of goods. We will build a robust structure locally.”

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