Our focus in recent months and months to come is to clean up operations and build our brand as a true and ethical partner to our clients.
We realise that there is a lot of work to be done to earn trust back from our existing clients as well as potential clients. After all, reputation takes years to build and only a second to lose. Our strategy is to concentrate on our competitive strengths in intellectual capital as well as more defined development programming that we are exceptionally good at.
Furthermore, we have a large focus on cost cutting to save where we can. One of our major issues has been paying for unused property. We were renting 104 thousand square metres of vacant space, so we’ve closed down 32 buildings this year which saved us about 65 million. There are another 44 buildings as they come off their leases next year – so we’ve taken about 600 million rand worth of cost out through better procurement and optimising how we deal with contractors as we’ve got quite a flexible workforce. There are various aspects to consider in making sure that we right size our business for what it really is today rather than what it was in the past to make it fit for purpose for the current economic environment.
Apart from this, we’ve sold around 15 assets and there’s about another 21 to go which is part of phase 1. We also conducted an experiment with one of our 4 IP businesses, CCS, to see if it was possible to get an international partner into a South African entity. We were successful in this transaction as we sold 70% of that business to German-Listed firm RIB. Our plan as it stands is to repeat this with our other 3 IP businesses as the software is scalable which promotes widespread growth.
We are fortunate by the fact that we’re quite a modular business so a lot of these assets are ring-fenced and actually run their own businesses under their own legal entities. This has also helped in containing the recent fraudulent activities within our head offices public sector unit without it dipping down into all our other businesses.