Chris Schutte, CEO of Astral Foods. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
Chris Schutte, CEO of Astral Foods. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Both the chair and CEO of Astral Foods have tested positive for Covid-19, the poultry group said on Thursday.

CEO Chris Schutte and chair Theuns Eloff are self-isolating at home, the group said. Schutte is considered a high-risk patient as he underwent cardiovascular surgery in August 2019, the group said, and is under the strict supervision of physicians.

“Astral’s board extends its best wishes to both Theuns Eloff and Chris Schutte and their families during this challenging and uncertain time,” the group said, adding it had a competent executive team in place to handle operational matters in their absence. Daan Ferreira, Astral’s CFO, is the key point of contact for the group.

Since the national lockdown became effective at midnight on March 26, Astral’s board has held their board meetings via a digital platform, the statement read.

Astral has been operating as an essential service, under SA’s lockdown but noted in May during the release of its results for the year to end-March that it was preparing itself for pressure on SA’s consumers, having already seen the effects of restaurant closures on fresh-chicken sales.

The group also said at the time that its staff remained laudably committed to ensuring food supply under trying lockdown conditions and that its operations were “running like clockwork”.

In afternoon trade on Thursday, Astral’s share price was down 1.47% to R147.50, having fallen by just less than a third so far in 2020.

Update: July 16 2020
This article has been updated with information throughout.

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