In the just concluded Annual General Meeting of the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, the chairman of the Board Mr J N Ferrand said the company had put certain measures in place to curb future losses.
In his statement the chairman said, “a strategic reorganization and restructuring was carried out in 2006 in which various departments of the company were reshaped to reflect the operational needs of the business”.
He said they were now operating with a more efficient and leaner structure, designed to be more dynamic, efficient and flexible in their drive to turn around the company.
Mr Ferrand said the phasing out of some positions across different cadres led to job losses. However, all affected employees were compensated by the company with severance benefits that would assist them to settle down quickly into life outside the company.
The chairman said with the aforementioned reorganization, the company had been reinforced on many fronts.
“In 2007, the company has committed over Euro1.3million or Le5.4 billion for capital investments in upgrading our production facilities particularly in the utilities and brew house departments”, the chairman said.
Also the statement said before the end of 2007 the company would be commissioning a fully automated brew house that would not only give a valuable productivity gains which would guarantee the production of consistently high quality and value added products.
Mr Ferrand said the investment consisted of upgrading the brew house and automation of the wart cooling, installation of a new bright beer filter with tanks and beer systems, commissioning of an 800 KVA generating plant, new air compressors and a second bore-hole.
“Combining this without ultramodern bottling line will firmly set us on our way to achieving world class standards and the accruing competitive advantage”, said the chairman.
He stressed that with the challenges of the remaining year, potential savings programmes had been identified with the target of saving Le950 million before the end of 2007.
“The company has already started the training and empowerment of our entire work force in the application and adaptation of best proven practices, reinvigoration of a robust portfolio, and depth and breadth penetration of the brands and distribution network that is now affording us the opportunity to reach out to all our consumers in Sierra Leone,” he stated.
The chairman appealed to all concerned that the company, even with all the losses, was still backed by Heineken and Guinness Diageo who were the biggest shareholders.
He went on to allay fears of a price increase as the company had no intention of increasing prices.
Mr Ferrand said very soon the minority shareholders would soon begin to smile as the signs were there that the Sierra Leone Brewery would be a force to reckon with.