Johannesburg, South Africa – Listed packaging manufacturer Nampak on Monday announced that Sasol executive André de Ruyter had been appointed as an executive director and CEO designate of Nampak, with effect from January, 2014.
Mr de Ruyter, who will take over as Nampak CEO in April, is Sasol’s senior group executive of global chemicals and North American operations. As previously announced by the company, Nampak CEO Andrew Marshall will step down at the end of March.
Nampak’s share price rallied 5.4% to an intra-day high of R32.74 on Monday, before closing 2.22% higher at R31.75.
Avior Research industrial and consumer goods and services analyst Mark Hodgson said while the market may have anticipated an internal appointment, the market had reacted positively as Mr de Ruyter was seen as an experienced and credible appointment, and there was now more certainty.
The issue was now about “how quickly André can understand the packaging nuances”. A focus area for Mr de Ruyter would be on ensuring Nampak’s South African operations became “more robust” given that margins and production volumes were under pressure, Mr Hodgson said.
Nampak’s expansion into the rest of Africa should also be maintained and Mr de Ruyter would need to be close to various African markets.
“He will need to be hands on and continue the process that’s already under way under Andrew Marshall,” Mr Hodgson said.
In the six months ended March, Nampak reported a 39% rise in trading profits from Africa, as margins on the continent, excluding South Africa, rose to 15.9%.
Including exports, the rest of Africa accounted for 28% of the group’s trading profit. This shot up from R142m in the same period last year to R197m.
Nampak’s overall revenue grew 7%, with South Africa gaining 4%, the rest of Africa 19%, and the UK increasing 13%.
Mr Marshall said in May that “South Africa is our challenge”.
Sasol said on Monday that Fleetwood Grobler, MD of the Sasol Olefins and Surfactants business, had been appointed group executive to succeed Mr de Ruyter with effect from December 1.
“Fleetwood has extensive operations, technical research and capital project management experience gained in his 29 years at Sasol,” the company said.