Our strategic focus is to be a major player in the southern African agricultural sector.
The Crookes Brothers group specialises in the production of primary agricultural products, including sugar cane, bananas and deciduous fruit in South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia, with a major new macadamia nut and annual crop farming operation under development in Mozambique. The group has also recently embarked on a major property development project at Scottburgh to create value from marginal farmland.
In the past year, for the first time since the inception of the group, sugar cane was not the largest crop contributor to group profits, partly as a result of the diversification undertaken in recent years, but also due to the impact of drought on cane production.
We are proud of the group’s history as a pioneer in the South African sugar industry and the reputation it has established for integrity, excellence and fairness. We believe that our reputation is a major and sustainable source of competitive advantage in positioning the group as an employer and partner of choice in the industry.
The group’s reputation for excellence is reflected in the commitment, enthusiasm and loyalty of its employees. Staff development through bursary schemes, mentorship and on-the-job training is a core focus. In the current unsettled labour environment in the South African agricultural sector the group continues to strive to provide a supportive working environment, to maintain healthy community and labour relations and to give every employee, at every level, an opportunity to achieve his or her full potential.
Global food security has been identified as a key challenge of the 21st century, with the nutritional demands of an increasing world population becoming more difficult to supply from finite natural resources, specifically water and land.
The demand for food is also driven by changes in dietary patterns in the rapidly expanding middle classes in China, India and Africa, and the often unpredictable impact of climate change on agricultural production.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the few areas in the world that still offers abundant under-utilised land and water resources for a substantial expansion of agricultural production to meet global food security needs.
Crookes Brothers has the resources and expertise to capitalise on this opportunity, with the aim of leading the way in developing farm production in southern Africa, focusing on the more stable countries with established administrative and fiscal processes.
Values and culture
- We care
- We do things right
- We keep our promises
- Climatic variability
- Socio-political forces
- Market volatility
- Cost increases
We plan to continue to expand farming operations in southern Africa to exploit market opportunities for a variety of crops, balancing commodity, currency and geographic exposure.
In setting our long-term financial goals, we have considered the characteristics of the industry, market benchmarks, opportunities, resources, and the expectations of stakeholders.
Our primary financial goal is to achieve long-term growth in headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 15% per annum.
This compares favourably with average long-term growth of JSE-listed companies. In evaluating the appropriateness of this target, it needs to be borne in mind that farming is an asset and labour-intensive business, which limits opportunities for rapid growth. Farming is a long-term endeavour, subject to climatic and market fluctuations, hence a rolling five-year average is used as a measure of HEPS growth.
A secondary financial goal is to achieve a return on equity of greater than 15% per annum, as measured by headline earnings per share as a percentage of capital and reserves. This is considered aggressive for a farming operation, where single digit returns are the norm.
In order to achieve these goals, we need to identify and implement high-return projects on a continuous basis.
The achievement of goals requires the continuous identification, evaluation and implementation of projects generating superior returns.
The quality of the portfolio of farms under our management is a key determinant of success for the group.
In all of our operations, we follow a philosophy of continuous improvement, largely through implementing new technology and applying best-practice management and conservation techniques.
Geographic and crop diversification
We mitigate climatic, market, resource, regulatory and geo-political risks through the cultivation of a range of crops in a variety of well-spread geographic areas.
We forge operating partnerships with like-minded organisations to add value to the group’s agricultural production.
We also establish partnerships with rural communities in farming and other ventures to support transformation and empowerment initiatives.