CAPE TOWN - PPC confirmed the appointment of Roland van Wijnen as chief executive, who takes over from Johan Claassen on October 1.
Van Wijnen’s appointment, first announced in June, was subject to his receiving a work permit, which he has since received. His appointment to South Africa’s biggest cement maker had followed a global search since last November, when Claassen announced he was taking early retirement.
Van Wijnen was previously with Holcim, now LafargeHolcim, for 17 years during which he held various senior leadership roles. As chief executive of the Philippine business, a public company, much the same size as PPC, he dealt with similar challenges that PPC was facing. During his time, Holcim Philippines successfully implemented a new retail business model and a growth strategy to best serve customers and increase profitability.
An Industrial Engineering graduate from Twente University, in the Netherlands, Van Wijnen was chief executive of certain of Holcim’s Eastern European businesses between 2005 and 2010 and also acted as chief executive of Holcim’s global trading business before the Lafarge- Holcim merger. Van Wijnen had signed a four-year contract with PPC.
“He will be tasked with building and developing the executive team and jointly accelerating the process of turning PPC into a high-performance organisation,” a statement said. PPC has struggled in the face of tough markets and imports for some time. Its share price was trading 1.84percent higher at R3.87 on Friday, but the price is well down from the more than R26 it traded at in 2015.
In the four months to the end of July, PPC said cement sales in Southern Africa had declined 10percent to 15 percent over the corresponding period a year before, but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) increased by 5percent to 10percent supported by cost savings.
In the materials business, Ebitda was marginally lower due to higher input costs. Aggregates and Readymix Ebitda declined due to constrained demand.