EXPORTS: Capespan on Crest of the Wave
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Bellville-based Capespan has transformed itself into a quite different, enhanced organisation following its inception in 1999 when the then deciduous fruit specialist Unifruco and citrus marketing company Outspan International merged to form the new entity.
During the ensuing years Capespan not only overcame the seasonal nature of fruit exporting from South Africa but, by becoming a global operator, it started buying fresh products in many parts of the world so that it can now offer clients across the globe a flow of fresh fruit, vegetables and value-added products for 12 months of the year.
In 2007 the group’s revenue exceeded the R2 billion mark for the first time and increased by more than 19% from R1.79 billion to R2.14 billion, mainly driven by the increase in the fruit and logistics divisions.
But it is not always plain sailing. Business activities take place in a complex environment which at times is difficult to predict and is potentially volatile. Key drivers that impact on performance include climatic conditions globally, fruit volumes and quality, selling prices and exchange rates, shipping costs, competitive activities and, perhaps the most important of them all, fickle customer and consumer trends.
The group’s procurement drive stretches to 43 other countries apart from South Africa and the product range includes not only various fruits but also vegetables and nuts such as lettuce, tomatoes, dried mushrooms, capsicums, broccoli, peanuts and, yes, dried potatoes. In addition it also markets processed fresh-cut fruit, pineapple sticks, fruit juices, dried mangoes and processed peppadews.
In 2007 Capespan exported 2.2 million pallets, up from 1.9 million pallets in 2006. The group is also lessening its reliance on locally produced fruit and global sourcing has been prioritised to increase volumes 50% by 2010. Already in 2007 it sourced 19.2 million cartons of fruit from more than 40 countries and this year the figure may reach 21 million cartons.
Main non-RSA procurement countries include Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico and the USA in the Americas, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Benelux and Poland in Europe, Namibia, Egypt, Israel and Morocco in Africa and India, China, New Zealand, Australia and Costa Rica in other parts of the world.
Capespan’s primary business partners comprise most of the top global retailers. These include: Wal-Mart, Tesco, J Sainsbury, Ahold, Carrefour, Metro, Ito-Yokado, Casino, Auchan, Delhaize, Aldi, Costco, Tengelman, Schwartz Group, ITM Intermarche, Daiei, Rewe, Safeway AEON, Edeka, Leclerc, Kroger, Target, Albertsons, Walgreens, CVS, Kmart, Loblows, JC Penny, Park n Shop and Coles Myer.
Its accreditation credentials are: ISO, GLOBALGAP, BRC, HACCP, Nature’s Choice, LEAF, Field to Fork, ETI, Sedex, BSCI and Fairtrade.
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