Johannesburg - Nick Booth is retiring from Italtile from the end of next February, after at least 15 years with the company in various forms.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said Booth will step down from his executive duties as from Thursday to facilitate an effective handover, and will be available to support the management team until his retirement date.

Jan Potgieter, currently COO, will be appointed CEO from December 1, and his COO position will not be filled in the foreseeable future, Italtile says.

Booth, who was thanked by the board for his contribution, says “it has been a privilege to work for the group - previously as CEO of Ceramic Industries from 2001 to 2014, and subsequently as CEO of Italtile from 2014.”

Italtile owns a 20 percent stake in Ceramic and is the largest client of Ceramic Industries. It is currently trying to buy up to an additional 73.5 percent for about R3.75 billion. The matter is still pending before the competition authorities.

Read also: Italtile tries to revive Ceramic merger

“In that time, both businesses have delivered pleasing performances in terms of creating value for shareholders and building depth of talent in the operations. In this regard I am satisfied that the future of Italtile is in very competent hands.

“In terms of my retirement, I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing a number of recreational interests."

In the year to June, Italtile reported a 16 percent increase in trading profit to R1.05 billion. System-wide turnover increased by 14 percent to R5.96 billion, up from R5.22bn reported last year.

Like-for-like revenue at the retail store level also grew 14 percent compared with total retail growth of 17 percent.

Basic earnings per share rose by 16 percent to 87.8 cents per share, from 75.9c per share, while headline earnings per share increased 21 percent to 86.9c per share, up from 71.6c per share reported in 2015.

The group’s retail operation comprises three brands: Italtile Retail, CTM and TopT, with a network of at least 146 stores in southern and east Africa. The group opened 20 new stores during the period with TopT accounting for 15, Italtile Retail for two and CTM for three.

CEO-designate, Jan Potgieter thanked Booth for his support and guidance.

“I wish him all the best for his retirement. In terms of the business, I look forward to the challenge of continuing to build on the group's strong, consistent growth track record."

IOL