Chairman's Statement

SUPER GROUP CONTINUES TO BUILD ON ITS VISION TO BE A LEADING TRANSPORT AND MOBILITY GROUP IN THE COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT OPERATES.

Introduction

The Group has achieved a solid set of results for the year ended 30 June 2017. This is despite unrelentingly difficult and uncertain economic and political conditions, both locally and abroad.

Super Group’s vision is to be a leading transport logistics and mobility group in the countries in which it operates. This vision is being realised under the capable leadership of Peter Mountford and his team, through a blend of strategic acquisitions and organic growth. The Group continues to focus on providing end-to-end supply chain solutions, fleet management and dealership services to customers in Africa, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and New Zealand.

 

Super Group is pleased to announce that, despite South Africa’s Sovereign Credit Rating being downgraded on 3 April 2017, Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”), in an unexpected review on 10 August 2017, upgraded Super Group’s long-term and short-term credit rating to zaAA and zaA+, respectively.

Super Group Holdings Proprietary Limited, which houses Super Group’s South African businesses, is a Level 2 B-BBEE Contributor and the Group will continue to place emphasis on promoting race diversity as well as gender transformation when making new appointments within the Group.

THE GLOBAL AND LOCAL TRADING ENVIRONMENT

Globally and locally it has been a year of political and economic uncertainty. Globally, contributing factors included the change of administration in the United States of America, elections in several European countries and continued uncertainty around the impact of Brexit. For the South African economy, it has been a tumultuous period. Heightened political uncertainty and the resultant downgrade in South Africa’s Sovereign Credit Rating have had a ripple effect on the economy. According to a PSG Report, it is estimated that R350 billion has left South Africa over the past 18 months and I believe that this trend is set to continue as long as our current political landscape persist.

New technologies in logistics are playing a major role in improving both productivity and meeting customers’ growing needs in terms of being able to monitor the movement of their inventories. Super Group continues to invest in the development of innovative technology and across its various businesses, has state-of-the-art systems to provide customers with more visibility. Following the Truck Conference & Expo 2017 “Beyond smart trucks, the next evolution of Internet of Things”, it is expected that the future of logistics will see entire supply chain systems linked to Internet-related Apps. From driverless vehicles to the “Internet of Things”, together with the global telematics market exploding in terms of connectivity and growth, there is no doubt that a new era has begun for this industry. Trucking is no stranger to this sort of change; indeed, many fleets are leading the way in terms of how to increase benefits from such technology and solutions. Big data offers unprecedented access to real-time information, with the potential to reduce vehicle downtime, improve safety and increase efficiencies. For more information on this subject, visit www.supergroup.co.za/Media/News/Internet of Things set to transform global logistics space.

The German logistics industry and, especially the automotive industry, have been impacted by the fallout from the Volkswagen emissions scandal that occurred in 2015, manufacturing recalls on a number of diesel brands during the year and the recently announced allegation of collusion between the large OEM’s pertaining to using industry committee meetings to agree on costs, suppliers, technologies and even the prices of diesel emission treatment systems.

During the year, the Australian economic environment continued to lack direction, and this was duly reflected in wavering consumer sentiment.Within our industry, the environment stabilised as the year progressed, with some of the aggressive tactics seen at the turn of the calendar year being less prevalent towards the end of the reported period. Residual values remained strong, with manageable fluctuations in certain vehicle segments.

NAAMSA continues to report declines in new vehicle sales, reflective of the continuing pressure under which South African consumers find themselves.

The immediate impact of the UK vote to leave the EU was not as severe as many expected. Growth in new vehicle registrations has been positive up until March 2017, but the uncertainty pertaining to Brexit and the change in government’s policies on shifting diesel technology used towards the latest cleaner Euro 6 diesel standard, have impacted growth negatively. On the positive side, in a survey done in 2016, the biggest selling model in the UK was the Ford Fiesta, with the Ford Focus in third place.

The recent modest strengthening of the global economy is a welcome change to the negative expectations in recent years. Global growth is forecast to improve to 2.9% in 2017 compared to the 2.5% growth achieved in 2016.


GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY

Super Group maintains high standards of corporate governance and has adopted the new corporate governance requirements, as set out in King IV, published in 2016, when compiling the Integrated Report for the year ended 30 June 2017. The Board and its Committees continue to play an important role in enhancing good corporate governance and review sustainable practices throughout the Group in order to ensure compliance with all corporate governance- and sustainability-related requirements and regulations.

The Group takes stakeholder engagement seriously and we endeavour to maintain transparency in all our dealings with our various stakeholder groups. Super Group, as at 30 June 2017, employed a total of 10 797 employees across its various businesses and strives to be the “employer of choice”. We meet regularly with various stakeholders in as much as open communication is critical to our long-term success.

Our Corporate Governance and Sustainability Reports, available on the company’s website, set out our principles and policies in more detail.

BOARD CHANGES

There were no changes to the Board during the financial year under review. However, Super Group has a policy where, in the ordinary course, non-executive directors retire from the Board at the age of 75. Both David Rose and John Newbury qualify this year but they have agreed to remain on the Board until suitable replacements are appointed.

OUTLOOK

The recent modest strengthening of the global economy is a welcome change to the negative expectations in recent years. Global growth is forecast to improve to 2.9% in 2017 compared to the 2.5% growth achieved in 2016.

In June 2017, the International Monetary Fund reduced its expectation for economic growth in South Africa to 0.5% for 2017. The difficult market conditions are expected to persist through the second half of 2017 and into 2018 as the effects of the Sovereign Credit Rating downgrade and political uncertainty continue to be felt. Despite a degree of uncertainty, as well as political risks, the Rand exchange rate has been relatively resilient. The unexpected interest rate cut of 0.25%, announced by the South African Reserve Bank on 20 July 2017, will hopefully counter to a certain extent the country’s deteriorating growth.

In Australia, telematics penetration has accelerated significantly during the reported period and that trend continues unabated, helped by the trials SG Fleet conducts. Our ability to demonstrate how telematics can help develop an actual, implementable and bespoke solution for our customer’s requirements is creating a unique competitive position for us in what undoubtedly is the future direction of fleet management, both locally and internationally. The addition of a telematics solution creates a clear uplift in profitability, so SG Fleet believes that this trend will provide them with healthy additional growth over a long-time period.

Europe is expected to continue its modest recovery into 2018, with the data released in the first half of 2017 giving the Group reason for optimism. Business confidence in Germany exceeded market expectations when it reached a six-year high in April 2017 and again in May 2017. The defeat of populist anti-Euro parties in two EU countries has reduced political uncertainty in the Euro-block. Brexit is regarded as the most significant economic demerger between major economies since World War II. Michael Barnier, a European Commission Brexit negotiator, painted a bleak picture of a post-Brexit world, which will see high customs duties, burdensome controls and higher transport costs for the UK. As all Ford vehicles in the UK are imported from Germany, the full impact of Brexit continues to remain uncertain.

Super Group’s future strategy is to continue to explore investment opportunities internationally and in South Africa to maintain our position as an innovative, integrated mobility solutions company.

APPRECIATION

On behalf of the Board, I would like to extend our appreciation to our CEO, Peter Mountford, the Super Group leadership team and all our employees for contributing to the Group’s continued success under difficult and challenging trading conditions.

To my fellow Board members, thank you for your support and commitment throughout the year.

  
Phillip Vallet 
Chairman of the company 
20 September 2017