ZIMBABWE Innscor Africa Limited shareholders have endorsed the appointment of South African Antonio Fourie as group chief executive.

However, Fourie is yet to get his work permit from Zimbabwe’s immigration authorities.

He takes over from John Koumides, who has been reassigned as head of corporate finance. “We should have done this the right way, but I am grateful to the shareholders for allowing me to be at the helm of Innscor,” Fourie said.

Meanwhile, in a trading update on Friday, the diversified conglomerate’s revenue for the first quarter ending September was flat compared to the preceding quarter.

However, Innscor believes that its performance would improve going forward buoyed by the ongoing restructuring exercise and an aggressive branch network expansion.

Innscor’s chicken division Irvine’s recorded slightly lower turnover compared to the prior period which, coupled with lower margins, resulted in a decline of 13 percent on trading profit.

“Work is continuing on the new stock feed mill, which is a strategic step taken to secure its raw material inputs. This will help tremendously in the future of Irvine’s. Commissioning of this work is expected later this financial year,” said Fourie.

The group’s bakery unit — Baker’s Inn, registered a 23 percent decline in trading profit while its fast food operations in Zimbabwe recorded a four percent decline in customer accounts resulting in lower revenues.

Fourie however, said stronger margins and lower overheads as a result of the restructuring had resulted in a seven percent increase in trading profit.

“Similarly to the bakeries we had a tough year, as a consequence we have revisited the structures and a number of operating issues within that business which is surely going to contribute to an improved performance in the next three quarters,” he said.

He said refurbishments of two shops were underway while two more are to be opened in time for the festive trading season.

Regionally, trading profit remained flat on the last quarter in the fast food business as preopening costs ate on a seven percent revenue increase.

November 24, 2014; http://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2014/11/24/innscor-shareholders-endorse-fourie-s-appointment