Klein Karoo to buy Camexo

5 September 2005

Klein Karoo International and Courthiel Holdings are awaiting a go-ahead from the Competition Board for the proposed sale of Courthiel subsidiary Camexo SA Ltd, which includes the Camdeboo ostrich abattoir and the Exotan tannery, to Klein Karoo. The purchase price - R1 plus the debt - indicates the difficulties Camexo was facing, particularly in the wake of the avian influenza (AI) outbreak in the Eastern Cape last year. However, AI was not the only reason for Courthiel's willingness to sell. Courthiel, their sister company, KAP Holdings Ltd, and the Daun AG group of which both are part, have significant leather interests in SA: African Hide Trading, Feltex Automotive Leathers and Mossop-Western Leather. 'We decided ostrich doesn't fit in', Courthiel group managing director Kevin Wright said. 'We feel ostrich faces many challenges internationally and that the South African ostrich industry needs a South African solution. We believe KKI is in the position to offer that.' The AI epidemic was the final straw. 'It affected us directly', he said. 'Our feedlot birds were the first to be culled. 'We're an investment company, and although we had skills on the ground, we were not aware of the protocols [of handling the epidemic] at that time. There are serious complexities in the ostrich business and it's not something I would readily get involved with again.' For KKI, acquiring Camexo would give them the biggest vertical ostrich set-up in the Eastern Cape, and probably make them the third biggest in the country when it is operational. Wright said Camexo would be transferred as a going concern. Exotan will continue to occupy their current premises, which are owned by African Hide. The sale of Camexo will not affect African Hide's marketing arrangement with Swartland Tanning, which sells their ostrich skins through African Hide.

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