Shoprite snaps up OK for R1

TUESDAY, 10.30AM:

Shoprite Holdings has bought the OK Bazaars Group from South African Breweries for the nominal sum of R1. The loss-making group had cost SAB an estimated R1-billion in capital injection since its delisting in March 1994.

The deal includes a guarantee of R540-million in assets and loan accounts as of November 1, the date of the transaction.

With the addition of 139 OK Bazaars stores and 18 Hyperamas, Shoprite Holdings will become the largest food retail group in the country, with 400 outlets and an annual turnover of about R16-billion. A spokesman for Shoprite said the group intended to repeat its successful turnaround of the Checkers group, acquired under similar circumstances six years ago.

Those OK stores not converted to either Shoprite or Checkers outlets are likely to be franchised; investment will be offered early next year, the company said, especially to redundant employees and entrepreneurs from disadvantaged groups.

BUSINESS BRIEFS

VW MEN STILL AT WORK IT would appear to be business as usual for the three top directors of Volkswagen SA who were reportedly fired by the group’s parent company. Financial director Wilhelm Kirchberger and technical director Burkhard Welkener reported for work yesterday, and MD Heinrich Holtmann was said to be in Germany on “routine business”.

A spokesman for Volkswagen SA, which is suffering poor sales and labour problems, said he did not know whether the directors’ services had been terminated. A statement clarifying their fate would be issued in due course.

EMPLOYMENT BILL PROGRESSES THE Basic Conditions of Employment Bill was approved by parliament’s labour portfolio committee on Monday, despite continued objections from Business SA and the Congress of SA Trade Unions. The committee did however find several issues in the Bill that it said would need further investigation. It accepted the labour department and Cosatu’s proposal that the 45-hour week be entrenched as a non-negotiable right, and rejected proposals that small businesses be exempted from the bulk of the Bill’s provisions.

MPUMALANGA TWINSMPUMALANGA linked up with Austrian province Carintia on Monday, by signing a 12-point twinning agreement to co-operate on environmental planning and technology, Carinthia will also host a Maputo Corridor investment seminar in Klagenfurt early next year..

IMF HOLDS BACK ON KENYA THE International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that it is continuing to hold back on aid to Kenya until the government shows more progress on eradicating mismanagement and corruption. Despite assurances from president Daniel Arap Moi, the IMF refuses to move until concrete reforms have taken place.

JOBS SUMMIT POSTPONED A PRESIDENTIAL summit on job creation, scheduled for November, has been postponed to next year because neither the government nor the National Economic Development and Labour Council have agreed on a strategy to balance economic growth and job creation.

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