Joffe to step down as CEO of Sorbet, Sportsmans Warehouse owner - as group receives takeover bid

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Long4Life CEO Brian Joffe
Long4Life CEO Brian Joffe

Brian Joffe will step down as CEO of the company he founded, Long4Life, which owns the beauty salon chain Sorbet, as well as Sportsmans Warehouse. Joffe will give up the job at the end of February next year, but will assume the chairmanship at that time. A new CEO will be appointed.

The company also announced that it received an "unsolicited" takeover bid. "The board is evaluating this and will update shareholders should there be any further developments," the company said in a statement. Long4Life's share price rocketed almost 16% to 515c on Thursday morning.

One of SA’s most prominent entrepreneurs, Joffe founded the conglomerate Bidvest in 1989. He left that company’s executive and started Long4Life five years ago. The company also has a beverage division, which owns brands like Score energy drinks and Fitch & Leedes soda mixers. 

The pandemic has hit Long4Life hard, with Sorbet unable to trade for months due to Covid-19 restrictions on health salons. Sportsmans Warehouse was also closed for weeks, while its mixer business suffered from repeated alcohol sales bans.

Long4Life’s latest set of results, released on Thursday, showed a strong recovery in the six months to end-August. Revenue increased by 30% to R1.8 billion compared to the same period in 2020, its headline earnings per share rose by 55% - benefiting from a share buy-back programme.

Its sport and recreation division – primarily Sportsmans Warehouse – saw a 2% increase in its revenue compared to the 2019 period. But the group warned by the division is being hit by the "worldwide unprecedented supply chain constraints". Around the world, ports are struggling to cope with a rapid rebound in demand following lockdowns, and struggling with labour shortages as well as a lack of ships and containers. This is causing long delays.

Recently, Long4Life said that it was considering to unbundling Long4Life, to form a new retail group, as it struggled to pump up its share price - which continues to trade below levels seen in 2017.   

READ | Sportsmans Warehouse may be unbundled, Long4Life says

Sales at its personal care and wellness division – mostly Sorbet – was 12% higher than 2019, at R152 million.

Long4Life declared an interim dividend of 10c a share. This is the first payout in three years, as the company focused on share buy-back

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