chairman's statement

dear stakeholders,

I am pleased to share that after two years of navigating a volatile and challenging environment, IBL has delivered a strong performance for the year and embarked on an exciting chapter in its growth story.

The pandemic has had a profound impact on business since the second half of FY2020, throughout FY2021 and in the first half of the current FY2022, impacting people’s health, and causing economic and social disruptions throughout the world. There have also been significant changes in the way business is conducted.

Closer to home, in Mauritius, businesses were faced with supply chain challenges, inflationary pressures and rising logistics and freight costs, while also dealing with foreign currency shortages, in particular as tourism was halted when borders remained closed until October 2021.

More recently, the war in Ukraine has affected everyone in ways that could not have been anticipated in this century. First, the human tragedy is enormous with a high number of casualties claimed on both sides, and the impact on families resulting from mass migration. The amplifying inflationary effects are being felt on fuel and commodities in all countries across the world. Unfortunately, Mauritius will not be spared, and we expect import and operating costs to put businesses under enormous pressure. We also recognise that not everyone is affected equally, as certain regions and communities are more vulnerable to the overlapping crises of Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and climate shocks.

In spite of the above, I am happy to report that many of our sectors which were severely affected during the pandemic have recovered to pre-pandemic levels or above, which leads me to believe that IBL is well positioned to continue its growth journey in the future. That said, we will continue to closely monitor the shifting sanitary and economic landscape, the evolution of inflation and its ripple effects on interest rates, as well as how the geopolitical situation unfolds.


Group turnover for FY2022 grew to Rs 44.98 billion compared to last year and also exceeded pre-Covid levels by 15%. Group operating profit rose by 5.7 times over the previous year, and profit before tax (PBT) has been multiplied by 7.3, reaching Rs 2.68 billion for the year. Both of these also exceeded pre-pandemic levels despite the fact that some of the businesses that were classified as ‘Highly Impacted’ by the pandemic were still affected during the first half of this year. Overall, our businesses have come out of the pandemic stronger than they were going into it.

Our leadership and management teams have been central to the delivery of these results, which gives me confidence that we have the right talents in place to lead our businesses to sustained growth and stability.

The company's share price has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, with the overall return to shareholders standing at 10.74% for the year.


We continued to strengthen our Mauritian core with investments across sectors in which the group has world- class expertise, and innovating on our product offering locally. To name the more visible examples, we continued to improve and expand the Winners network, our domestic retail business; we opened LUX* Grand Baie for business in a very challenging context, receiving outstanding international acclaim; and we have made significant progress in launching our healthcare offering via our clinics and diagnostic centres in the North and West of the island.

A large part of our growth strategy involves increasing our footprint in East Africa, in pursuit of which we have earmarked a number of industries where we intend to focus. This includes Commercial - encompassing Retail, Wholesale, Healthcare, with Logistics in a supporting role - as well as targeted investments in Energy and Property. It must be noted that we are already present in Africa in a number of segments, namely Agro with indirect stakes in the sugar sector in Kenya and Tanzania, Seafood via our biotechnology business in Ivory Coast, and our global business DTOS, to name a few.

Senior Management spent a major part of the year evaluating key strategic opportunities, which concluded in the acquisition of a significant stake in Naivas after the financial year end in July 2022. Naivas is the largest retail chain in Kenya, with a network of over 80 stores selling food and beverages, and in selected stores, apparel and consumer electronics. This family-founded business has been growing at a double- digit pace and is projected to continue growing even more rapidly in years and decades to come with rising levels of urbanisation and the expansion of the middle class fueling growth in the retail sector. The acquisition itself was achieved through a consortium including two development financial institutions as partners alongside IBL. This consortium acquired a 40% stake in Naivas International, making it the single largest acquisition made in IBL’s history. Other opportunities are also being evaluated in the sectors mentioned above.

In the Renewable Energy segment, we have an objective of supporting various businesses and clusters in their transition towards circularity and energy efficiency. Several projects are being evaluated in niche areas, with a view to participating in an industry that is scaling up and expanding regionally to respond to fast-growing energy demands in Africa. We see the changes in this industry to be irreversible, exacerbated by the increase in commodity prices, which should present significant opportunities in the future.

A clear human capital roadmap is a key enabler of our strategy. Over the years, IBL has strengthened its culture and successfully attracted and retained the best talent at senior levels. The group is taking its People strategy to the next level with the creation of a Performance Academy aimed at developing leaders for the future.

environment, social and governance (esg)

Good corporate governance is a cornerstone of IBL's long- term success, particularly given our scope of activities and geographic diversification.

During the year, a new Risk Appetite Statement was approved by the Board, aligned with IBL's strategy. It considers the complexity of the group's activities, as well as the varying risk and governance maturity levels of different IBL subsidiaries.

We continue to strive for a diverse and highly skilled composition of the Board to ensure that we fulfil our fiduciary duty towards our stakeholders to the best of our ability. We welcomed two Independent Non-Executive Directors, George Desvaux and William Egbe, who joined the Board on 01 July 2022 and 01 October 2022 respectively. George Desvaux, who took over from Maxime Rey, was previously a Senior Partner at McKinsey and is highly regarded for his strategic and business development acumen, as well as his contributions to several macroeconomic reports and a book entitled ‘Africa’s Business Revolution'. Upon his appointment on 01 January 2023, he will take over the chairmanship of the Corporate Governance Committee and serve as a member of the Strategic Committee. William Egbe has been a Group Director, Sustainability and Strategy at Coca-Cola Eurasia and Africa Group. He brings a wealth of experience in operations, general management, investment analysis and governance built from serving on the boards of several companies and NGOs across Europe and Africa. He remains highly engaged in sustainability and philanthropic initiatives. Upon the recommendation of the Corporate Governance Committee, he will take over from Pierre Guénant as Chairman of IBL's Strategic Committee from 01 January 2023.

The Board is satisfied that the new Directors will bring the new competences and relevant experience that are crucial to the new direction and ambitions of our business.

FY2022 was also a watershed year for the group, during which sustainability took a sharper focus. We adopted a unique in-house methodology that will build on the work done over the past years and take it further. Our goal is not only to limit our impact; instead, we are seeking out opportunities to regenerate the systems in which we operate. Our ESG priorities are being defined at an entity-level, cluster-level, and eventually at a group-level, enabling us to articulate a clear pathway for a sustainable future.

Last but not least, the Fondation Joseph Lagesse is pursuing its CSR efforts, continuing to go beyond ‘cheque-book philanthropy’ to make measurable and long-lasting changes in communities. We are aware that we are at the beginning of a long and complex journey, but IBL is committed to intensifying its efforts towards empowering the most vulnerable communities and providing them with the tools to move towards a more equitable and inclusive future.


Looking ahead, the international environment is still uncertain and volatile. Inflation, tightening monetary policies and associated rising interest rates are likely to worsen over the short term as the war in Ukraine evolves. However, should Mauritius maintain its growth momentum and consumer spending recover, most businesses across IBL are expected to take full advantage of the effects of the reopening of borders and return to profitability.

IBL has ambitious projects in the pipeline and is investing in growth drivers regionally that will not only generate business value, but also drive progress towards more circular and sustainable business models. We have a healthy Mauritian core, and a promising strategy for East Africa. Our portfolio remains well diversified across industries, and our geographic diversification will be enhanced with our increased footprint in a region with attractive growth prospects.


On behalf of my colleagues on the Board, I would like to thank our outgoing Director, Maxime Rey, for his six years of valued service to the group. I convey my sincere appreciation for his dedication and guidance, and wish him the best for the future.

I would also like to acknowledge our great debt of gratitude to Pierre Guénant, who passed away this September, a few days before the end of his service as Director. His integrity and judgement were highly respected, and we have all benefitted greatly from his wide experience, leadership and wise counsel as Chairperson of the Strategic Committee. We feel privileged to have worked alongside him for seven years. He will be greatly missed as a fellow Director and as a valuable friend.

We are confident that the incoming Directors on the Boards of IBL will bring new perspectives to our deliberations, and that the group will benefit greatly from their guidance in the coming years. On behalf of the Board, I welcome them all.

I would also like to thank our group CEO, Arnaud Lagesse, for steering IBL through another challenging year and managing to make it one of the most pivotal chapters in the group's history. To all our shareholders, employees, business partners, customers and other stakeholders, thank you for entrusting us with your continued support.

I would like to end my message by applauding all of IBL's teams, who have proven their resilience and ability to rise above challenges and change requirements. Seeing this, I have every confidence that we have the collective strength to set the course for a more equitable and prosperous future, and together, defend our legacy.