Tongaat Hulett had appointed former SABMiller executive John Gain Hudson as new CEO effective from February, the agriculture group said on Monday. The appointment of Hudson, who replaces former long-serving CEO Peter Staude, could herald a shake-up in the underperforming sugar producer. In the past five years, Tongaat has lost 57.27% of its value on the JSE, compared with the all-share index’s growth of 16.32%. In the matching period, the food producers index was up 13.62%. In the 2017/2018 financial year, Tiger Brands’ headline earnings plunged 37.2% to R617m. Staude, who had been at the helm of the group since 2002, retired in November 2018 as the company’s strategy to sell some of its prime land in KwaZulu-Natal appeared to hit a snag. The company attributed its fall in earnings in the six months ended September 30 2018 to the conclusion of fewer-than-expected land sales. In the six months, Tongaat suffered a headline loss of R87m, compared to R661m in 2017.

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