12 of 2020

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 Newsletter 12 / 9 April 2020

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Intamarket Technology drives Gerber’s PPE Task Force initiative locally to increase production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Supporting companies transitioning to PPE manufacturing.

Gerber Paragon® Cutter used in mass mask production

In what is an unprecedented global emergency where COVID-19 inexorably continues to spread, companies around the world need to band together, think creatively, and act fast to protect all people, but especially our healthcare workers, where the shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment needed to keep them safe is a global concern.

Based on its successful initiative in China, Gerber Technology has created a PPE Task Force of experts to help companies increase their production or transition into producing PPE by sharing best practices, offering support, and providing resources such as pattern data, cut files, markers, and tech packs for masks, technical suits, gowns and caps as well as sign and graphics templates such as labels.

More than 300 manufacturers, including major global companies, rely on Gerber’s advanced software, hardware solutions and expertise to produce protective masks and other PPE. Over the last few months, Gerber has helped several customers transition into producing these much needed medical supplies, including Shanghai Challenge Textile Co., Ltd, BELLA + CANVAS, Hickey Freeman, Taglio Marchesini, and most recently Hardwire, LLC, where adding two new Gerber Paragon® multi-ply cutting solutions with CutWorks® software, as well as CutWorks® to their existing machines, is allowing them to produce tens of thousands of face shields per day.

Gerber AccuMark® software being used to make PPE patterns

Shanghai Textile Gerber Paragon® Cutter used to mass produce

As the authorised distributor of Gerber Technology in South Africa for over 40 years, Intamarket Technology has been driving and supporting the Gerber Task Force initiative locally and has appealed to customers with sewing or cutting capacity to get involved by firstly considering excess or scrap fabric currently in stock that can be rolled out into healthcare garments such as gowns, masks, caps, aprons, surgical covers, uniforms, and other PPE desperately needed by hospitals and healthcare workers. Then, assisted by Intamarket’s knowledgeable applications specialists and through Gerber Technology portals, Accumark® 3D and Pattern Design Marking and Grading Software, patterns of the essential items are quickly made up. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and the Intamarket team has been assisting interested customers by offering guidance on how to optimise production, and providing the necessary resources and support for PPE manufacturing.

With warehouses in Durban, Sandton and Cape Town, and through the Intamarket Group’s  Medical division, Intamed, the Company is geared to supply Hospital Groups and Healthcare Facilities  nationwide. Intamarket Group’s Capital Hotels have partnered with Discovery Health to provide isolation facilities and Intamarket Graphics are supplying much needed Perspex and PET protective shields to companies.

For further information please visit The Gerber PPE Task Force website or www.intamarket.co.za or email tech@intamarket.co.za

Woolies – COVID-19 update and trading statement

The impact of the COVID-19 virus is being felt across all markets in which the Group operates. The Group is actively pursuing operational steps and considering strategic options to best mitigate the impacts of the crisis and to ensure the appropriate robust response in this developing situation.

This update provides a perspective on current trading across our various business units and outlines the range of operational actions our teams are taking to address the impacts and mitigate business risk.

Our first priority is the health and safety of our people, our customers and all our stakeholders, including our extended value chain. In terms of our stores, distribution centres and other operations, we are working closely with our health and safety partners, ensuring that all operations continue to conform to the highest level of hygiene and social distancing protocols. In respect of our employees, we have implemented a range of initiatives from alternative working hours to more flexible practices, including work-from-home, leveraging a full suite of technology tools.

In terms of business performance, the temporary closure of non-food stores in accordance with applicable law and regulation, decline in foot traffic and consequent loss of trade are likely to have a substantial impact on our earnings and cashflow in the second half of our financial year ending June 2020 (“financial year”). We have considered and embarked on a range of actions and are implementing several key initiatives intended to mitigate some of these effects.

There is a significant focus on facilitating trade and driving revenue including through online channels, given the current circumstances. We are also aggressively reducing costs, and managing inventory and working capital. Capital expenditure has been cut, with only critical projects moving forward. We have engaged with our suppliers to reduce apparel product intake and to extend payment terms. We are also meeting with landlords to explore alternative arrangements to current lease commitments, through the relevant period.

In recognition of the challenging circumstances, the WHL Board, Group CEO and senior Executive team members have decided to forego up to 30% of their fees and salaries over the next three months. The savings arising from this will be used to provide additional financial support to staff who find themselves in extreme hardship as a result of the current crisis.

South Africa/Rest of Africa
The South African government announced a national lockdown which required the closure of non- essential businesses between 27 March 2020 and 16 April 2020 (“the current lockdown period”) and has implemented various regulations and directives which impact the manner in which we do business. We have, therefore, temporarily closed our Fashion, Beauty and Home stores and continue to operate only our Food stores. During the current lockdown period we will continue to remunerate all our staff, and those who are part of the essential workforce will receive an additional appreciation payment for the duration of the current lockdown period. Our business operations across other African markets have also been significantly constrained due to slowing demand, store and border closures in response to local government requirements and responses to the COVID-19 virus.

Australia/New Zealand
Our stores in New Zealand have been closed due to the lockdown enforced by the New Zealand government. Whilst Australia has yet to implement a full-scale lockdown, the government has, for several weeks, implemented significant restrictions on the movement and gathering of people and also limited businesses operations across many sectors. Although retail stores are not obliged to close, a number of Australian non-food retailers have announced the closure of stores, as a precautionary measure.

WHL Group earnings and trading statement
The Group fully endorses the actions taken by the governments in all the jurisdictions in which the Group operates in their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. The impact of the virus, including its socio- economic effects, will materially weaken the financial performance of the Group for this financial year.

Given the fluidity of the current circumstances, including the uncertainty of the duration and impact thereof, it is not possible to quantify its impact on the Group’s earnings. However, the Group remains committed and determined in its efforts to mitigate the reduction in earnings, optimise working capital and preserve cashflow and liquidity.

Shareholders are advised that headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the 52-week period ending 28 June 2020 is expected to be more than 20% (more than 66.1 cents) lower than the reported HEPS for the comparable period in the prior year (2019 HEPS: 330.4 cents). A further trading statement will be issued in order to provide specific guidance once the Group is reasonably certain regarding the HEPS and earnings per share (EPS) ranges for the 52-week period ending 28 June 2020.

The information contained in this announcement has not been reviewed or reported on by the Group’s external auditors.

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Organisation calls for companies to divert PPE stocks to healthcare sector

By Marleny Arnoldi

Stavros Nicolaou

Business grouping Business for South Africa, through its Public Health Work Group, is calling on all companies that are not operating and in lockdown to urgently divert their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in the national healthcare sector.

The organisation – which comprises Business Unity South Africa, Business Leadership South Africa, Business and Arts South Africa and Black Business Council – says the PPE is critical to protecting frontline doctors and healthcare workers, keeping them healthy while they fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PPE needed by the healthcare sector includes masks (N95 grade), surgical masks, latex-free gloves, plastic aprons, visors and goggles, gowns and suits, and overshoes.

“As we head deeper into the Covid-19 crisis, we are going to need all the PPE we can source to ensure the healthcare sector has a ready and ongoing supply. We appeal to all South African businesses, whether large or small, to unlock their stocks in the national interest.

“Critical to turning the tide against the Covid-19 pandemic is ensuring that our frontline doctors and healthcare workers are protected from the virus, to ensure South Africa’s most effective response. This effort will go a long way in keeping them productive in the clinical setting,” Public Health Work Group leader Stavros Nicolaou urges.

Since January, stocks of PPE have been severely impacted on by a global need for products to address the pandemic. This has been exacerbated by export restrictions, disruptions of logistics systems and escalating costs.

The Business for South Africa Public Health Work Group is working closely with government to consolidate all national health requirements in respect of PPE.

Besides this urgent call to companies, the work group is also driving efforts to boost local manufacturing and production where possible, and also expanding sourcing from global suppliers.

“Securing stocks from companies that already have these available, especially those that are not currently using them, will provide much needed immediate assistance.

Throughout South Africa, there are store rooms of PPE that could be used as part of the emergency response. This includes stocks that are held by companies in the manufacturing, forestry and agriculture, construction, mills, spray painting, mining and sign writing industries, besides others,” Nicolaou says.

Companies are urged to send details about the PPE stock they have available, including the location, brand and quantity, as well as if it is sterile or needs to be sterilised to –  covid19supplies@businessresponsecovid19.co.za.  EN

Alibaba founder Jack Ma donates more medical supplies to Africa

By Sane Dhlamini

President Cyril Ramaphosa & Jack Ma26/10/2018

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has announced the donation of another batch of medical supplies to each of the 54 African countries, through the Jack Ma Foundation.

In March, the Foundation had announced their commitment to donating 100 000 medical masks, 20 000 test kits and 1 000 protective suits and face shields to each country.

The latest donation includes 500 ventilators, 200 000 suits and face shields, 2 000 thermometers, 1-million swabs and extraction kits, and 500 000 gloves.

The supplies will be transported with the assistance of the Foundation’s partners, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Food Programme and Ethiopian Airlines.

Moreover, the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation are aiming to connect African medical professionals with doctors from China and around the world to collaborate online and exchange lessons learnt in the treatment and prevention of Covid-19.

The magnate said he was hoping Africans were staying healthy and safe during this difficult time.

The  World Health Organisation recently voiced concerns about the rising numbers of infected people in the continent.

Africa has 9 198 coronavirus cases, with 414 deaths across the continent.  EN

Did you know….

The spacesuits worn by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong as they stepped onto the surface of the moon in 1969 were manufactured by the International Latex Corporation—though most consumers know the company by its commercial brand name, Playtex. They’re better known for making another gravity-defying garment: the bra.

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported that Abercrombie & Fitch had offered Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino a deal to stop wearing their clothes. That’s… not the way endorsement deals usually work. The somewhat-fast-fashion brand is known for its appeal to college kids, but perhaps The Situation was a bro too far.

To Advertise…… Click here to see fact sheet with advertising rates. 

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