SOUTH AFRICA – South African investment company Brait, has revealed its readiness to list South African food maker Premier FMCG on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Peter Hayward-Butt, a partner at Ethos Private Equity, informed Bloomberg that the investment group has completed six to nine months of preparation work ahead of the deal.

The parties are waiting for an opportune time when the stock market conditions will be favourable to allow take off of the initial public offering.

The IPO, according to the reports would be the first on Johannesburg’s bourse since Libstar Holding’s in 2018.

This is due to tough economic conditions experienced across the globe following a period of severe market volatility, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, rising interest rate and roaring inflation.

Due to these factors, The Coca-Cola Company had to postpone plans to list its subsidiary Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in Amsterdam and Johannesburg till next year.

Despite the dim economic outlook, Hayward-Butt is confident there will be “good demand for a company that’s performing well.

“You’ll never time it to perfection, but if market conditions in the next month, two months or six months are there, we can proceed.”

The maker of Blue-Ribbon bread and Snowflake flour is valued at about R9.3 billion, according to Brait’s 2022 annual results.

Premier sales climbed 16% to R14.5 billion in the 12 months through March, while the company expanded with the acquisition of confectionery firm Mister Sweet mid last year from Lodestone Brands.

“We’ve got our hand above the buzzer and we could push at any time we want to and when market conditions are favourable,” Hayward-Butt said.

Ethos became manager of Brait’s portfolio, which also includes gym chain Virgin Active and British clothing retailer New Look, following a 2019 restructuring of the company that counts billionaire Christo Wiese as a main shareholder.

The money Brait raises from selling any portion of its Premier stake will be used to pay back its revolving credit facility, Hayward-Butt said.

With its origins dating back to 1820, Premier is a leading South African fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer offering branded and private label solutions.

It operates through a wide footprint across South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho and Mozambique with a sales office in the UK.

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