Struggling sugar producer Tongaat Hulett’s difficulties have spilled into the new financial year, with the company expecting interim headline earnings to fall by 60%. The expected fall in earnings for the six months to end-September attests to the difficulties the company has been experiencing, with its sugar operations under pressure due to high volumes of imported sugar. In the past financial year, company’s headline earnings were down 37%. Amid the poor financial performance, the company in August announced that the retirement of long-serving CEO Peter Staude had been brought forward to November. Staude, who has been at the helm of the company since 2002, said in June the transition process was expected to be completed only by April 2019. The company in September announced the appointment of Sydney Mtsambiwa as interim CEO, with effect from November 1. This fuelled speculation that the company’s poor performance brought about the leadership change. Tongaat has lost more than 40% ...

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