SIMON BROWN: I’m speaking now with Ian Lourans, CEO of OneLogix. Results by the end of May. Revenue was up 24%, HEPS was down 69%, net tangible asset value was 336.70 cents.

Jan, I appreciate the morning time. This [for] until the end of May. Obviously, this includes the terrible strikes and violence in KZN last July. Since we last spoke, I believe it was about six months ago, have you had any more truck fires, employees being threatened or even life-threatening?

JAN LAURANCE: Yes, we’ve had some pretty sporadic cases, Simon, many of which don’t even make it to the press. This is not only on the N3 but also on the ring roads. So this is what we get used to; it happens regularly.

SIMON BROWN: And what we really want not to get used to.

JAN LAURANCE: Undoubtedly.

SIMON BROWN: You also had a freak hailstorm in your Umlaas in September [facility]which is approximately 40 kilometers from Durban on the N3.

JAN LAURANCE: That’s right. It was an important event for us. It was a really amazing event. Hail isn’t expected there at all, and certainly our insurance company, with all the resources they had to analyze the coverage they needed, wasn’t expecting it either. The extent of that loss was actually about eight cents per share in terms of our earnings metrics, our EPS metrics. So it was significant. This alone accounted for a significant portion of the decline in our performance. It was a one time amazing event and unfortunately it won’t happen again.

SIMON BROWN: The problem is, as I understand it, you obviously have insurance, but you have insurance for major events. And it was like… 2:16 the cars had been damaged by hail once before, and it’s one of those weird things where the damage is small, but it’s damage that needs to be fixed. And this is not a cheap process.

JAN LAURANCE: That’s right. At the very time this happened, we were busy transferring several ships that had landed. So we were busy getting [the vehicles] for storage and acquisition [them] from trucks and things like that, so it also hit us at a bad time. So, small damage, but a lot of cars – and that’s how it turned out.

SIMON BROWN: Your Umlaas Road is your kind of warehouse for delivering goods. How is the delivery of the car? Obviously we had a blocking problem. We couldn’t go out and buy a car even if we wanted to. And there was a shortage of chips, which meant that new car supplies were almost impossible – or very difficult – to find. Are you starting to see it getting easier? Are you seeing an increase in throughput?

JAN LAURANCE: Yes, we are. It’s starting to normalize to a sort of pre-pandemic level. In terms of the truck market, by the way, it’s pretty much back to pre-pandemic, but for road vehicles, I think it’s still 6 to 12 months before we see a return to normalcy. But yes, we certainly see it.

SIMON BROWN: Good. So it’s just starting to come back. And the Port of Durban – obviously a lot of these vehicles go through the Port of Durban. They have a dedicated terminal when you depart. How does it work? We had a lot of problems with the port of Durban. I’m going to talk to Grindrod on Monday. Of course they are in Maputo. How does the port work?

JAN LAURANCE: Everything is fine in the port, in spite of myself. It’s kind of a metaphor for South Africa too, isn’t it? It works as well as before, but there are structural issues. And by the way, we’re dealing with the port as well as the customers to try to alleviate a lot of these bottlenecks – and luckily, it’s working quite well. Yes, yes, last year, as you may recall, there was a major problem when there was a cyber attack on Transnet systems and that also took quite a long time to get through the system. But yeah, it’s a pretty normal business as far as we’re used to it.

SIMON BROWN: You are obviously doing well in South Africa. You also do quite a bit of cross-border travel to some neighboring states. In fact, in some cases you actually go even further north. How did cross-border activities develop?

JAN LAURANCE: For this year, it has increased quite significantly for us, which we are very pleased to say. Obviously you will ask me the reason for this. There are several reasons why we see this in all the different businesses operating in this market. So, it’s cars and trucks, it’s agricultural products, it’s general freight. It has improved. So we’re doing pretty well. Yes, we are satisfied with this situation.

SIMON BROWN: And your Agrotrans? You are engaged in the transportation of agricultural machinery. I know some listeners might be thinking, hey, what? But these are giant-sized combines, and you’re doing storage and assembly and things like that. Certainly, we are seeing high prices for agricultural products, maybe farmers are doing a little better. This is the division.

JAN LAURANCE: Yes, everything is fine. We move agricultural products as well as agricultural equipment. So “Agritrans” is agricultural machinery, as you said. And yes, we had a good year. This is a whole range of agricultural products; mainly tractors, btw, but also all the ancillary stuff like combines and plows and stuff like that. It’s pretty bright and the forecast for a good rainy season this summer looks pretty good too. So we certainly have our fingers crossed for that.

SIMON BROWN: Good. Some of these prices have come down a bit. [I was] talking to Wayne McCurry about MPG a minute ago; prices have come down but they are still at a good level and we are seeing activity there.

Jackson is your cold chain. This is SA, this is to Africa. I was going to say [it’s] one of your new ones. I mean, when we started talking probably 10, 12, 14 years ago, it wasn’t part of your portfolio. How is it holding up in terms of activity?

JAN LAURANCE: It’s done well. In fact, Jackson is our top performer, and that just goes to show that the agricultural market is in a good place.

SIMON BROWN: yes. Last question. You are under a possible delisting warning. It is still progressing. Is there a timeline for when this might end?

JAN LAURANCE: I hesitate to tell you the exact date. We’re working pretty hard on it. I wish it would happen sooner rather than later. It took a little longer than we expected. But I think that by the end of the year, it will definitely be put.

SIMON BROWN: Okay, let’s leave it there. Ian Lourens is the CEO of OneLogix. I hope that if you remove the list we can still have a chat because we will get a great insight into the wider supply chain and economy in South Africa because of course OneLogix moves things from A to B and it always tells you what activity is in the economy as a whole.

Ian Lourens, CEO, OneLogix I appreciate the early mornings.

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