Friday, December 14, 2018
Charles Walters

Charles Walters

Assore

BEING the non-related CEO of a family business, especially one headed by the redoubtable Des Sacco, cannot be an easy job – but it’s worth remembering that Walters began his career with Anglo American in 1991, which then had the Oppenheimer family large in its affairs. He is running Assore at a time when the iron ore, chrome and manganese producer is basking in the warmth of high prices, although there are a few clouds on the horizon. One is regulatory uncertainty. Another is the high cost of electricity, which affects all smelter operators. A third is the tendency of South African chrome and manganese ore producers to maximise production as soon as the market picks up, which tends to set a cap on prices. Assore is still investing in its Black Rock manganese and Dwarsrivier chrome mines, but shareholders are eyeing the juicy R5.6bn in cash it was holding on the balance sheet at the end of the financial year, and hoping for a bit more in the way of payouts. Still, Assore hasn’t lasted several decades in a cyclical industry by being reckless – and it knows the markets for its products very, very well. It has warned that despite a buoyant outlook for the global economy, the prospect of additional iron ore supply could put a cap on prices.

LIFE OF CHARLES

He holds degrees in mechanical engineering and commerce and spent four years as MD of Mondi Sales International, based in Dublin, before returning to South Africa to become MD of Bearing Man, part of Invicta Group. He was appointed CEO of Invicta in 2015, but moved to Assore only 18 months later.