SOUTH AFRICA – Africa’s largest fishing company, Oceana Group, has appointed Zafar Mahomed, the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Cell C and McDonald’s SA, as its new financial head effective 1 November.

Mahomed will take over from interim CFO Ralph Buddle, who has been filling in since February 2021 after the suspension and eventual firing of Hajra Karrim from the company for “gross negligence”.

According to Oceana, Mahomed will officially assume office as its CFO and executive director of its board from 1 February 2023, to allow for a smooth transition and handover.

The new appointee has more than 25 years’ experience in finance and business across major industries, multinational and listed companies as well as worldwide brands in multiple industries ranging from manufacturing to retail, financial services, real estate and property, food, medical devices, hospitality, mining equipment and FMCG.

He has vast experience and a proven track-record in the telecommunications, food franchise; and furniture retail industries.

In addition to the above skills and expertise, Mr Mahomed brings to the group a wealth of multinational finance experience with particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions, strategy and development, property management, investor relations, change management and business turnaround skills.

“I am excited and proud to be joining a group with such a long history and I am looking forward to contributing to its future success,” said Mahomed.

Mahomed is a chartered accountant (SA) and holds a Master of Business Leadership (MBL) degree from the Unisa School of Business Leadership, a Bachelor of Commerce honours degree from Unisa and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“The Oceana board extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr Buddle for stepping in to assist the board and the group on an interim basis and note[s] that he was a significant role player in driving a positive culture and stabilising the business during recent months.

“The Board wishes Mr. Buddle well as he pursues other interests outside of the Group,” highlighted the company.

Mahomed is expected to steer the company to profitability at a time the fishing group, reported a difficult first half with revenue declining by 11% to R3.179 billion (US$189m) and gross margin 3.7% lower at 30.2%.

This was largely due to lower inventory levels carried forward from last year as a result of Covid-19 supply chain disruption, the civil unrest in Kwa-Zulu Natal that impacted our SA canned fish sales volumes, and Hurricane Ida in Louisiana that impacted fishmeal and fish oil production at its US Daybrook operations.

Performance was further impacted by higher fuel and freight costs, lower landings due to La Niña weather conditions, scheduled vessel maintenance in Namibia, and lower cold storage occupancy levels due to the global supply chain impact on import activity.

Its headline earnings decreased by 50% to R153 million (US$9.10m) and headline earnings per share declined 51% to 126.4 cents per share.

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