Supermarket giants face logistic issues

One of RB’s supermarkets at Suvavou outside Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED

The RB Patel Group has started to notice logistics issues coming to the fore with the second wave of the virus affecting the country.

The supermarket giants experienced shipping delays, increasing freight costs and unavailability of certain products on a timely basis, according to the company. The group stated they expect such issues to remain for the foreseeable future and it might become more challenging.

“RBG has a strong balance sheet, with access to liquidity and funding,” said RBG chairman Yogesh Karan. It is well supported by its lenders, with significant headroom in available facilities and lending covenants.

“RBG’s cash flows are being managed efficiently, and payments to the employees and suppliers are being made on time. As this period of uncertainty continues, both discretionary spend and capital expenditure will be reviewed with adjustments appropriated as required.”

Mr Karan said the group had two construction projects which were currently in progress, in Nadi and Lami, funded by ANZ Banking Group Ltd.

“Work at these sites will continue to completion. As major landlords we have continued to receive requests from our tenants for relief with rent payments. These are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis and our rent revenues have already been impacted.”

Mr Karan said no decisions have been made about dividends and this would be announced after consideration by the board.”

“The board is confident that RBG remains in a strong financial position and the team is doing everything possible in this very challenging circumstances.”

He said given the significantly increased uncertainties associated with the second wave of infections forecasts of sales performances, changes to customers’ shopping patterns including impulse stocking and the closure of non-essential businesses, they remained unable to accurately forecast the net impact of COVID-19 on the financial year 2021 results.

“At this stage, given the increased uncertainties, we remain confident that we will be close to last year’s results.

“Further updates on the impact of COVID-19 on the company’s performance will be provided as appropriate,” he said.

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