Dis-Chem Shares Fall the Most Since May After Profit Warning

(Bloomberg) -- Dis-Chem Pharmacies Ltd. plunged the most in nine months after South Africa’s second-biggest pharmacy chain said a continuing strike over wages will see full-year earnings come in below the company’s guided range.

Loss of income and additional costs linked to the labor unrest have amounted to 50 million rand ($3.6 million) to date, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Thursday. The strike, which mainly affects the wholesale operation, had a particular impact on the typically busy December period, when same-store sales fell 2.5 percent.

The shares slumped as much as 7.1 percent, the most since May 4, before paring the loss to be 1.1 percent lower by 9:48 a.m. Still, the stock has gained 42 percent since an initial public offering in 2016.

Dis-Chem is refusing to negotiate with the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers, which initiated the strike starting in November, because the company says the labor group isn’t representative of the work force. In any case, the call for a minimum wage of 12,500 rand, annual increases of 12.5 percent for three years and a guaranteed bonus are “unreasonable considering the economic climate,” the retailer said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.