Tiger Brands Cuts 400 Jobs as CEO Strives to Reduce Costs

Tiger Brands Ltd. cut as many as 400 jobs as part of cost-saving measures the company says are needed to adapt to a post-pandemic slump in consumer demand.

Africa’s largest listed food maker, which produces staples such as Tastic rice and Albany bread, said the positions to be eliminated will be evenly spread between the Johannesburg head office and operating sites.

“We have to price our brands more competitively, that means we have to become much more efficient at delivering those products to the consumers,” Chief Executive Officer Noel Doyle said on a call with reporters on Friday. “We are quite confident in understanding the challenging environment that we can show total growth in 2021 financial year.”

Doyle was speaking after Tiger Brands reported a 23% decline in earnings per share before one-time items for the year through September, which he described as “extremely disappointing.” The CEO stepped up to the top job mid way through the period following the departure of Lawrence Mac Dougall, who oversaw a deadly outbreak of listeriosis that tarnished the company’s reputation.

Tiger Brands is still facing a class-action lawsuit related to the crisis, which is unlikely to be resolved in the next 12 months, Doyle said.

The company, which also makes household products such as Doom insect repellent, declared a special dividend of 1.33 rand per share following the disposal of its meat processing business. That brought the total payout to 6.70 rand, down 37% on the previous year.

The shares fell as much as 4.1%, the most in almost three months, and traded 2.8% lower as of 4:32 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 38 billion rand ($2.5 billion).

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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