Message from the Chairman
There have been substantial changes in 2017 and further substantial changes are planned, one of which is the offshore listing of our Shipping Division with an inward listing in South Africa. This project is detailed and time consuming and I would like to thank every person involved for their efforts. I am pleased that all is progressing well and we hope to make a public announcement in early 2018.
The Freight Services division has undergone internal reorganisation and adjustments and it is pleasing and exciting to see the increased volumes in the operations, and improving profitability. This is not only attributable to improved markets but also to the hard work, the attention to detail, and the passion for customer service displayed by the management and their teams. The groundwork has been laid and we look forward to an exciting 2018.
Grindrod Bank continues to perform well and continues to grow assets under management. The CoreShares Fund Managers as well as the UK Property Fund Managers are exceeding performance expectations. The Bank also continues to successfully provide banking services for South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant recipients, paying 17 million grants to 10.6 million distinct cardholders amounting to R11 billion per month. The SASSA payment structure continues to receive attention from the government. If a change in banking service is required, Grindrod Bank will assist in implementing the change, however the Bank remains fully equipped to continue delivering an efficient and effective solution.
From a company perspective, we are disappointed that South Africa has been downgraded to junk status as this will not make business easier, but as a resilient nation, we look forward to improvements in the future. We hope that disclosures in corruption will also contribute to an improved outlook.
To our staff who celebrate Christmas, I wish you all a blessed Christmas. Happy holidays to all and may 2018 be mutually beneficial and exciting for all.