Cape Town - AfriSam chief executive officer Stephan Olivier is stepping down when his contract ends as the company revived talks to merge with Johannesburg-based PPC [JSE:PPC].
"Given the ongoing merger discussions between AfriSam and PPC and with the hope of a successful merger, Dr Olivier, AfriSam’s board of directors and shareholders have, by mutual agreement, resolved not to extend or enter into a new contract with the company," the company announced on Friday.
AfriSam’s chairperson Phuthuma Nhleko thanked Oliver for his many years of dedicated and loyal service to the company.
“Under his leadership as CEO, the company has successfully navigated a number of challenges to remain an operationally well managed business."
Rob Wessels, a long-standing non-executive member of AfriSam’s board of directors, will assume responsibility as acting CEO until the outcome of the merger talks is known.
The company said Wessels' primary task will be to ensure that the AfriSam and PPC merger talks progress swiftly to a desirable conclusion.
"Should the outcome of the merger talks be successful, the parties will jointly embark on a process of securing the appropriate senior management team for the merged entity."
PPC and AfriSam have battled depressed prices in their home market, while PPC is expanding in sub-Saharan Africa with new plants in countries including Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, according to Bloomberg.
It reported that the companies revived talks to merge two years after abandoning an initial attempt designed to pool resources in a market suffering from weak prices and demand.
A successful merger will result in the creation of a South African-owned cement producer well placed to develop as a major African cement producer, Siobhan McCarthy, PPC’s general manager of communication told Bloomberg.
Shares in PPC traded down 0.29% at R6.77 by 13:36 on the JSE, valuing the company at R10.78bn.